Call it long-form narrative, call it the “serial format,” as the Berlinale does, or just call it television, it is, as Brooks Barnes reports in the New York Times today in his piece on the “small screen” at Sundance, playing a growing role at film festivals. The Berlinale will be premiering eight series as part of its Berlinale Special program and the European Film Market and Berlinale Co-Production Market will be hosting the Drama Series Days on February 9 and 10. There, six series will be pitched to potential financiers, including the very promising Babylon Berlin whose showrunner is none other than Tom Tykwer. Based on a series of bestselling books by Volker Kutscher, the story follows police commissioner Gereon Rath as he chases criminals through the labyrinth of the German capital in the 1920s.
BERLINALE SPECIAL PREMIERES
Notes in quotes come from the festival.
1992. Italy. Creators: Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo. With Stefano Accorsi, Guido Caprino, Domenico Diele, Miriam Leone, Tea Falco and Alessandro Roja. Broadcaster: Sky Italia. World premiere. A “political thriller set against the backdrop of the ‘Mani Pulite’ corruption investigations, triggering a political, civil and social earthquake in Italy.”
Follow the Money (Bedraget). Denmark. Creators: Jeppe Gjervig Gram and Per Fly. With Thomas Bo Larsen, Natalie Madueño Wolfsberg, Esben Smed, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Thomas Hwan and Line Kruse. Broadcaster: Danish Broadcasting Corp. World premiere. From the creators of Borgen, one of my own recent favorites. “Set in the powerful world of finance.”
Better Call Saul. USA. Creators: Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. With Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Patrick Fabian, Rhea Seehorn, Michael Mando and Michael McKean. Broadcaster: AMC and Netflix. International premiere. The Breaking Bad prequel hardly needs an introduction; at Criticwire, Sam Adams is collecting the first round of reviews.
Blochin (Blochin – The Living and the Dead). Germany. Creator: Matthias Glasner. With Jürgen Vogel, Thomas Heinze, Maja Schöne, Jördis Triebel, Christoph Letkowski, Agnieszka Piwowarska, Jörg Pose, Gisa Flake, Thomas Lawinky, Carol Schuler and Jule Böwe. Broadcaster: ZDF. World premiere. Glasner “puts his title character through a labyrinth of political intrigues and personal secrets.”
Bloodline. USA. Creators: Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler. With Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Sam Shephard, Linda Cardellini, Ben Mendelsohn, Norbert Leo Butz, Jacinda Barrett, Jamie McShane and Enrique Murciano. Broadcaster: Netflix. World premiere. An ” intense drama about a family, against the deceptively idyllic Florida Keys.”
Blå Ögon (Blue Eyes). Sweden. Creators: Henrik Georgsson and Fredrik Edfeldt. With Louise Peterhoff, Sven Nordin, Daniel Larsson, Marie Richardson, Cecilia Frode, Niklas Hjulström, Linus Wahlgren, Kjell Wilhelmsen, David Lindström and Karin Franz Korlöf. Broadcaster: SVT. International premiere.
Deutschland 83. Germany. Creators: Anna Winger am Jörg Winger. With Jonas Nay, Maria Schrader, Ulrich Noethen, Sylvester Groth, Errol T. Harwood, Sonja Gerhardt, Ludwig Trepte, Alexander Beyer, Lisa Tomaschewky, Nikola Kastner and Vladimir Burlakov. Broadcaster: RTL Television. World premiere. A “young and inexperienced East German spy ends up on an explosive mission in West Germany of the early 1980s.”
False Flag. Israel. Creators: Maria Feldman and Amit Cohen. With Ishai Golan, Ania Bukstein, Magi Azarzar, Angel Bonanni, Orna Salinger, Miki Leon and Igal Naor. Broadcaster: Keshet Broadcasting. World premiere. “Five citizens find themselves plunged into a gripping international espionage affair overnight.”
“2015: A Space Discovery” is the title of the focus at this year’s Berlinale Talents, a program of master classes, discussions and workshops. Among the participants in the various programs are Jury president Darren Aronofsky, Bong Joon-Ho, Andreas Dresen, Joanna Hogg, Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Marcel Ophüls, Joshua Oppenheimer, Laura Poitras, Walter Salles, Sebastian Schipper, Wim Wenders and the Yes Men.