Just yesterday, Empire posted a photo of Tom Tykwer and Lana and Andy Wachowski surrounded by novelist David Mitchell and producers Uwe Schott, Philip Lee, Stefan Arndt and Grant Hill. The occasion? They'd just wrapped shooting at Studio Babelsberg on the most expensive German film since the days of Ufa, Cloud Atlas. Babelsberg, practically on life support after the fall of the Berlin wall, is thriving once again. And in February, the legendary studio celebrates its 100th anniversary.
To celebrate, the Berlin International Film Festival, running February 9 through 19, will be awarding the studio a Berlinale Camera and presenting a special series, "Happy Birthday, Studio Babelsberg." The lineup:
- FW Murnau's The Last Laugh (1924)
- Josef von Sternberg's The Blue Angel (1929/30)
- Josef von Báky's The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen (1943)
- Wolfgang Staudte's The Murderers Are Among Us (1946)
- Kurt Maetzig's The Rabbit Is Me (1965)
- Konrad Wolf's Goya (1971)
- Roland Gräf's The House on the River (1985)
- Leander Haußmann's Sonnenallee (1999)
- Roman Polanski's The Pianist (2002)
- Stephen Daldry's The Reader (2009)
The Berlinale's also unveiled the first five films lined up for the 2012 Perspektive Deutsches Kino program, which will open with Katarina Peters's documentary Man for a Day. The Berlinale: "A number of open-minded women attend a workshop given by performance artist and drag king activist Diane Torr. They work on transforming themselves into the man of their choice for a day." Also:
- Joachim Schoenfeld's debut feature, Gegen Morgen (Before Tomorrow).
- Tim Staffe's directorial debut, Westerland, an adaptation of his book, Jesús und Muhammed: "[T]wo young men fall in love with each other and then hole themselves up on an island. At moments, it’s paradise; at others, hell."
- "Two medium-long works from the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne show that the direct path — via a film school and directing courses — can also produce films that are aesthetically outstanding. In Sterben nicht vorgesehen, director Matthias Stoll uses documentary pictures from the past and present, to put together a loving portrait of his dead father…. Tage in der Stadt (Out off), on the other hand, is not about a parting but a new start. How do you start over when you've been behind bars for 13 years, and life is totally unstructured when you get out? Nina (Pascale Schiller) drifts through town as if she is in no way part of it. Something is visibly missing."