Willem Dafoe and Hillary Clinton to attend Berlin film festival

Dafoe stars in Abel Ferrara’s Siberia in a competition that beats out Cannes and Venice for female directors, while a documentary about Clinton shows outside the main lineup

Willem Dafoe, Elle Fanning and Hillary Clinton are among the big names heading for the German capital after the Berlin film festival announced its competition lineup.

Dafoe is starring in Siberia, the new film from maverick director Abel Ferrara, inspired by Carl Jung’s The Red Book and described by Ferrara as an exploration of “the language of dreams, myth and the natural world”. Siberia will receive its world premiere at Berlin and compete for the Golden Bear against The Roads Not Taken from British writer-director Sally Potter, which stars Javier Bardem and Fanning as a father and daughter in the grip of chaotic alternative realities.

Other titles in the competition include the world premiere of Days from Taiwanese auteur Tsai Ming-liang, Eliza Hittman’s abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, and a new adaptation of Alfred Döblin’s celebrated novel Berlin Alexanderplatz by German director Burhan Qurbani.

Clinton will feature in a special screening, outside the main competition, of Nanette Burstein’s TV documentary series Hillary, which is due to air on Hulu in March. Other non-competing work includes the new Pixar animation, Onward, which features Tom Holland and Chris Pratt in a tale of two elves who mess up a spell, and The Eddy, the Paris-set Netflix series created by La La Land’s Damien Chazelle. They join the already-announced opening film, My Salinger Year, which stars Margaret Qualley as a poet who lands a job opening JD Salinger’s fan mail

Six of 18 films in competition have a credited female director (including DAU. Natasha, part of the ongoing Dau multiplatform project, which names Jekaterina Oertel as director jointly with Ilya Khrzhanovsky). The total proportion of 33% is less than in 2019 when 41% (seven out of 17) of competition films had female directors – but it still represents a clear lead over comparable European festivals, Cannes and Venice, who in 2019 recorded four out of 21 (19%) and two out of 21 (9%) respectively. Berlin’s artistic director, Carlo Chatrian, said: “Six films … is not 50/50, but it’s a good path to reach 50/50.”

The Berlin film festival starts on 20 February and runs until 1 March.

Contributor

Andrew Pulver

The GuardianTramp

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