One of the best things about A-list festivals is that you get red carpet ogling inbetween all the big ticket movies. Oh sure, you get that at medium sized festivals too but the celebrities and movies are more regional and less Klieg lit. So who was at Berlinale? Hailee Steinfeld was despite also showing up at US events and London events in the same week (I didn't include her in the lineup because she's been featured so much lately). That girl has probably logged more air miles in the past month than you have all year!
Here's a small sampling of stars.
From left to right: Dominic Cooper had a new film at the festival called The Devil's Double (more on that in a bit). He must weigh 120 lbs. He is always wearing the slimmest most form fitting suits that money can buy and constant cardio workouts can provide; Diane Kruger, still enjoying that post-Basterds boost, was there to push Unknown (#1 at the US box office this weekend); Gabourey Sidibe, who everyone griped would be hard to cast after Precious is doing pretty well for herself, don't you think? In addition to Showtime's The Big C she is in Yelling to the Sky (Zöe Kravitz has the lead role) which premiered in Berlin ; Diane Lane and Josh Brolin were there for the True Grit premiere (Bridges and Steinfeld also attended) looking more doubly attractive than ever, yes?
The other extra special thing about international red carpets is that the European stars get way more attention than they do at US events. And some of them are more than deserving of flashbulbs.
From left to right: Ludivine Sagnier and Sibel Kekilli, two TFE favorites from France and Germany respectively, were at the fest. Ludivine co-stars with Dominic Cooper in The Devil's Double. Sibel attended the True Grit premiere but she didn't have a film of her own to push this time. However -- GEEKY FREAKOUT ALERT -- I didn't know this but she's playing "Shae", Tyrion's beloved prostitute in HBO's Game of Thrones. Yes; Diane Kruger gets featured twice because everyone knows she's a clotheshorse; German star August Diehl, who shares Inglourious Basterd's best chapter (the one in the cellar) with Kruger and Michael Fassbender, headlines the German film Wer Wenn Nicht Wir (If Not Us, Who) which won the Alfred Bauer, a prize that rewards innovation in films; And finally Spain's Carmen Maura, who we've loved since the late 80s on account of all of those delicious Pedro Almodóvar movies (she's still the reigning champ of his filmography, having starred in 8 to Penélope Cruz's 4.) is part of the star ensemble in Les femmes du 6ème étage.
A Few Movies To Be on the Lookout For
That film of Maura's translates to Women on the 6th Floor but according to Obsessed With Film, who call it "shamelessly enjoyable", it's being called Service Entrance for English markets. It's about a rich Frenchman who becomes obsessed with Spanish maids living above him in the servants quarters. Maura's delightful Volver daughter Lola Dueñas is also in the cast.
The Cooper/Savignier movie mentioned earlier called The Devil's Double is about a man forced into being the body double for one of Saddam Hussein's sons. Cooper plays both roles, body double and the son of Hussein and he's reportedly great in it though the reviews of the film are not as kind, likening it to Scarface for its Big lurid violent sensationalism. But Ludivine & Dominic? I'm in.
Once I started investigating what played beyond the prize winners, there were too many movies thatsounded interesting, particularly the Bollywood drama about a black widow 7 Khoon Maaf starring Priyanka Chopra as a black widow and Naseerudin Shah (we love him) as the eldest of several of her usually doomed husbands. It turns out, it's playing in NYC right now. There's also a French animated film from the director of Kirikou and the Sorceress (2005) called Les Contes de la Nuit and a new Chen Kaige movie Sacrifice that Variety thinks is a return to form of sorts. So let's just end with an all star Shakespeare that we know you'll eventually have a chance to see.
Ralph Fiennes modern dress Shakespearean adaptation Coriolanus, didn't win any prizes but reviews were interesting with Vanessa Redgrave being held up for significant praise. That's no surprise in terms of reviews. Can this film eventually wow Oscar voters? They tend to prefer their Shakespeare in period traditional form but Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave hasn't been in the mix since (gulp) 1992, so it would sure be nice to see her on the red carpet again if the performance is as wonderful as we hope.
My sadness about this movie pre-viewing is that Linus Roache does not appear. When Fiennes was doing this on stage a decade ago, Linus Roache (Priest, Wings of the Dove, Batman Begins, etcetera) was his much raved about co-star. I had just moved to New York when they were doing it at BAM and I was so poor I didn't even consider going. Sadness.
Roache belongs to that unfortunate club of Wonderful Actors Who Never Get High Profile Work (at least not since the 90s) and he's been replaced in the film version by Gerard Butler. First he has to settle for Law & Order and now he's dumped for Butler, King of Bad Movies? What a world. What a world.