Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, Volodymyr Zelensky: a whiff of glamor and politics to open the Berlinale

The Berlinale offers itself this Thursday, February 16, 2023 a cocktail of glamor and politics with the entry on stage of the jury chaired by Kristen Stewart and a romantic comedy with Anne Hathaway, a prelude to an edition marked by the war in Ukraine and repression in Iran.

A committed jury for 19 films in competition

Almost a year after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the presentation on Saturday February 18 by actor and director Sean Penn of his documentary Superpowershot close to Volodymyr Zelensky, will be one of the highlights of the event.

But all eyes will also be on the arrivals of the first stars. And in particular that of the American actress Kristen Stewart, youngest president of the jury of the 73rd Berlin festival, the third in Europe behind Cannes and Venice.

The one who passed from the series Twilight in independent cinema, notably at Olivier Assayas, will give its first press conference during the day, alongside the other members of a mostly female jury.

These jurors, including also the Iranian actress exiled in France Golshifteh Farahani, seen in Hollywood in particular in Patersonor the Spaniard Carla Simon, winner of the 2022 Golden Bear with Our sunswill have to decide between 19 films in competition, before the award ceremony on February 25.

Among these films, manodromewith Jesse Eisenberg (The social network and Adrian Brody (The pianist), a film about a bodybuilder VTC driver and his “repressed desires”or even a biopic on the Austrian poetess Ingeborg Bachmann, played by the Luxembourg actress, Vicky Krieps.

Three French films are in the running: On the Adamant by Nicolas Philibert, documentary filmmakerTo be and to Havewho returned to the world of psychiatry after The least of it, The big cart of Philippe Garrel, with his three children, Louis, Esther and Léna and disco boyby the Italian Giacomo Abbruzzese, on the Foreign Legion, a feature film co-produced mainly by France.

Break the ice

Before the race for the Golden Bear, festival-goers will break the Berlin ice on Thursday evening with a romantic comedy (out of competition) by Rebecca Miller (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Maggie has a plan).

She Came To Mewhich makes the official opening, presents itself as a choral film about love with the American Anne Hathaway, one of the main actresses of Game Of ThronesPeter Dinklage, and Marisa Tomei, seen in particular in several films of the Marvel universe.

This movie is a “magical ode to freedom of expression”, “an irresistible comedy about the conflicts of everyday life in Western society”, according to the directors of the Berlinale Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, before an edition with a probably very dark tone, marked by the war in Ukraine, a year after the Russian invasion, and the repression which continues in Iran.

The cinemas of these two countries will be honored throughout the festival. In addition to Sean Penn’s documentary, many films will deal with the life of Ukrainians in wartime. Iran, where director Jafar Panahi has just been released on bail after seven months in prison, will also have a good place in a Berlinale which aims to be the voice of artists in resistance. Saturday, an exceptional climb of the steps is planned, in solidarity with the Iranians.

“This year, more than ever, being part of the Berlinale means supporting those who struggle to express their ideas, and those who refuse to submit to a conformist version of reality that dictates what can and must be said,” said Carlo Chatrian.

The Berlinale takes place from February 16 to 26, 2023 in Berlin

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