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Strong Women Hold Sway at Berlinale

It is only the second time in Berlinale’s history that the opening night slot has been given to a female director.

February 02nd, 2015
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Isabel Coixet is only the second woman in Berlinale’s history to hold the coveted opening-night slot. Berlinale will open on February 5th, 2015 with the film Nobody Wants the Night. The film stars Oscar-winner Juliette Binoche as Josephine Peary, a wife who accompanied her explorer husband Robert on treacherous arctic expeditions.

The 11-day festival starting on Thursday is the first major cinema showcase in Europe each year. This year, the 65th Berlinale, features many films focused on “strong women in extreme situations,” said festival director Dieter Kosslick. New movies starring Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Helen Mirren and Lea Seydoux will put more women in the spotlight than ever before.

Nicole Kidman stars opposite “Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson in Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert”. She plays British adventurer and spy Gertrude Bell and Pattinson plays Lawrence of Arabia.

“Knight of Cups”, a film by US director Terrence Malick, brings together Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. David Kosslick, festival director, said he hoped Malick would attend the red-carpet premiere. Malick, a well-known recluse, won Berlin’s prestigious Golden Bear top prize in 1999 for “Thin Red Line”. He also won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2011 for “The Tree of Life”.

Lea Seydoux will be the next Bond girl in the British spy franchise. She is returning to Berlinale this year with French director Benoit Jacquot in “Diary of a Chambermaid”. The film is based on a novel already adapted by cinema greats Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel.

Helen Mirren stars in “Woman in Gold”, the true story of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann who fought the Austrian government for nearly a decade for restitution of valuable Klimt paintings that the Nazis stole from her family.

Darren Aronofsky is serving as president of the jury judging the 19 main contenders this year. Aronofsky is a US director and screenwriter, most famous for directing Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”. The Golden and Silver Bear prizes will be awarded on February 14th. Last year, Chinese director Diao Yinan’s cop thriller “Black Coal, Thin Ice” took home the top prize.

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