Germany’s 72nd Berlinale opens with lockdown film

Germany’s 72nd Berlin International Film Festival opens on Thursday at the Berlinale Palast with the world premiere of the lockdown film “Peter von Kant” by French writer and director Francois Ozon.

“For this year’s opening, we were looking for a film that could bring lightness and verve into our somber daily lives,” said artistic director Carlo Chatrian. “Peter von Kant is a theatrical tour de force around the concept of lockdown.”

The opening movie was a free interpretation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” from 1972. The film with Denis Menochet and Isabelle Adjani was also part of the so-called international competition, according to the festival management.

Eighteen films, with 17 being world premiere, would compete for the Golden and Silver Bears, including “Rimini” by Ulrich Seidl, “Robe of Gems” by Natalia Lopez Gallardo and “Return to Dust” by Li Ruijun. Productions from 15 countries are represented.

During the festive opening, the international jury of seven members would be introduced, including screenwriter, director and producer M. Night Shyamalan, Brazilian film director and visual artist Karim Ainouz and Zimbabwean filmmaker and writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the allowed seating capacity in the Berlinale cinemas was reduced to 50 percent. The opening party will also not be held this year, according to the festival management.

Germany Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth is to open the Berlinale. “The most beautiful thing, the most important thing is: The Berlinale is taking place,” Roth said with regard to the festival’s limited program this year due to the pandemic. ■

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