It may be awards season in London and Los Angeles with the SAGs and Golden Globes just gone and the Baftas and Oscars still to look forward to, yet whilst the movie industry takes an indulgent look back at 2013’s best offerings, so the 2014 film festival schedule gets underway with the 64th Berlinale, Berlin’s International Film Festival, taking place across the German capital from the 6th to the 16th of February.
The Berlinale programme includes some 400 documentaries, short films and feature-length movies open to the public each year, with nearly 20,000 film professionals, critics and fans– some 300,000 tickets are sold each year – descending on Berlin to be part of one of the most important events in the film industry’s international calendar. In addition to a wealth of German films, the Festival is also renowned for its wide range of international cinematic offerings – some 124 countries are represented – from South America, India, China, Europe and the Middle East sharing the programme with the major Hollywood big hitters all coveting the prize Golden Bear, announced on Saturday, 15th February.
Amongst the shortlisted films up for contention are Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette’s Boyhood, Ralph Fiennes and Adrien Brody in The Grand Budapest Hotel, and George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and Matt Damon in The Monuments Men, which also receives its worldwide premiere at the Berlinale. Also premiering in Berlin is the much-hyped Nymphomanic starring Shia Laboeuf and Charlotte Gainsbourg, with Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe and Jamie Bell also part of the ensemble.
The Festival also features homages and retrospectives to great cinematic classics; this year’s list includes the famous Rebel Without a Cause starring James Dean and the German masterpiece, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, dating back to 1920. This year’s event will also see the British director, Ken Loach, awarded with an Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievements, with a number of his most famous films – Kes, Cathy Come Home, Land and Freedom, My Name is Joe and Ladybird, Ladybird – gracing the bill.
So if you’d like to get amidst the great and the good of the film world on a short break to Berlin (please note, we can’t guarantee a sighting of George Clooney!), there’s no better time to visit Germany’s finest cultural offering.