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The Berlinale's Leading Ladies

Juliette Binoche in her movie "Nobody Wants the Night" ("Nadie quiere la noche"). Source: DPA
Juliette Binoche in her movie "Nobody Wants the Night" ("Nadie quiere la noche").
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • Berlin’s international film festival, the Berlinale, brings numerous political and experiemental movies to viewers from around the world.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • The 65th annual Berlin film festival opens today and will show 441 films, including numerous premieres, over 10 days.
    • In 1958, the Berlinale film festival was given “A” status by the International Federation of Film Producer’s Associations, giving it the same status as Cannes and Venice.
    • The film festival was first held in 1951 and has been celebrated annually since 1978.
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    Audio

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One of the world’s most important film festivals opened Thursday in Berlin.

For the next 10 days, stars will rub shoulders with directors, jury members and journalists, gathering to watch hundreds of provocative new dramas and documentary movies.

The festival opens tonight with Spanish director Isabelle Coixet’s “Nobody wants the Night,” starring Juliette Binoche and set in Greenland.

Set in 1908, Ms. Coixet’s drama follows a young woman, Josephine Peary, who travels to the Arctic to find her husband, a celebrated adventurer. Along the way, she encounters another woman who also loves the same man, and is pregnant by him. The story explores tells of the courage and ambition of men and women in a frozen landscape which divides them and draws them closer together. The film, a Spanish-French-Bulgarian co-production, is based on a true story.

 


Video: Nobody wants the night Trailer.

Ms. Coixet’s film about exploration in a hostile landscape will run against another tale of a strong woman in tough territory by Werner Herzog. His biopic about Gertrude Bell, played by Nicole Kidman, shows her life as an explorer, archaeologist, cartographer and spy who helped to establish the state of Iraq and establish policy in the region, thanks to her extensive knowledge of the area and relations with tribal leaders in the Middle East.

 


Video: Queen of the Desert clip.

Cannes may be Europe’s top film festival but Berlin is attracting a growing level of talent and ever more stars. It is also the world’s largest film festival attended by the public and one of the Berlin Bears, the prizes awarded, is based on audience votes.

Of the 441 films shown in this year’s festival, 115 have been directed by women.

Past opening films have gone on to win numerous prizes, such as “Grand Budapest Hotel” which opened last year’s festival and Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” the year before.

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