Stephen Frears at Munich
by Bénédicte Prot
30/06/2009 - The 27th Munich Film Festival (June 26-July 4) is in full swing. This is Germany’s second largest festival after the Berlinale, with over 60,000 viewers, over 1,500 professionals and around 600 journalists in attendance every year.
Today, the event welcomes UK director Stephen Frears, the subject of a full retrospective entitled "From a Launderette to Buckingham Palace".
Festival director Andreas Ströhl commented: "Frears is one of Europe’s most interesting and determined directors". The filmmaker behind My Beautiful Laundrette, Prick Up Your Ears, Dangerous Liaisons and The Queen [trailer, film focus] will meet with audiences and the press this afternoon.
This weekend saw the appearance of other illustrious guests from Italy: Paolo Virzì and Marco Pontecorvo came to present their respective films, A Whole Life Ahead [trailer] and PA-RA-DA [trailer], in the international section.
Europe is well represented in the latter section (three quarters of the 60 or so films are European). The line-up includes Cannes titles such as Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces [trailer, film focus]; UK films Fish Tank [trailer, film focus] by Andrea Arnold and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus [trailer] by Terry Gilliam; Romanian omnibus Tales From The Golden Age [trailer]; and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Greek production Dogtooth [trailer, film focus].
The enticing programme also features Goran Markovic’s Serbian film The Tour, Icelandic director Valdís Óskarsdóttir’s Country Wedding [trailer], Kamen Kalev’s Bulgarian film Eastern Plays [trailer, film focus], Hooked [trailer, film focus] by Romania’s Adrian Sitaru and Our Beloved Month of August [trailer] by Portugal’s Miguel Gomes.
This year, the CineMerit Award and section will honour Austrian director Michael Haneke with a selection of films illustrating his ideas about images and violence, including recent Cannes Palme d'Or winner, The White Ribbon [trailer, film focus].
The festival is also hosting a New French Cinema section, a New German Cinema programme, as well as sections devoted to children’s and classic films, and close-ups on cinema from different world regions.
The selected films will vie for the different prizes, worth a total of around €150,000. They include the Arri-Zeiss Award for Best Foreign Film (€50,000); the Bernhard Wicki Prize for a film promoting tolerance; and the CineVision Award, presented to innovative non-German debut and second films.
(Translated from French)