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48th Berlin International Film Festival
Berlinale 98

lettrineERLIN, 6 February 1998 - The 48th Berlin International Film Festival will take place from 11 February to 22 February 1998. British actor Ben Kingsley will preside over the 11-member international jury which will award Golden and Silver Bears to the best of the competition. From the more than 1500 films entered, the final selection includes forty feature films, eleven documentaries and twenty-five short films. The Festival opens with The Boxer by Irish director Jim Sheridan who was awarded the "Golden Bear" at the Berlinale in 1994 for In the Name of the Father

Founded in 1951, the Berlinale has emerged as one of the world's leading film festivals, along with Cannes and Venice, although some observers feel that the German festival fails to offer a global view of new work, in particular by Africans who are often ignored by the mainstream film industry and distribution networks. Indeed, this year's absence of African film in the official Berlinale selection has not gone unnoticed. In an effort to provide a more balanced view of international film creativity and achievement, notably in Africa, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin and The Frankfurt Film Museum will host Cinema from the Black Continent where film buffs can become better acquainted with work by important African directors such as Djibril Diop Mambéti and Idrissa Ouedraogo among others. Both events will run parallel to the Berlin Festival.

Berlinale Retrospective honors Robert and Curt Siodmak

This year's Berlinale Retrospective focuses on the work of the director Robert Siodmak and the scriptwriter Curt Siodmak. The two brothers' careers began in Berlin with the film Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) in 1929. They made films together and individually. In exile, their ways parted: while Robert Siodmak began his second career in France and worked with actors such as Louis Jovet and Erich von Stroheim, Curt Siodmak was successful in Britain as a writer of science-fiction films. Curt Siodmak emigrated to the United States in 1937, Robert Siodmak in 1939.

In Hollywood, Robert Siodmak's thrillers included The Spiral Staircase (1945), The Killers (1946) and Criss Cross (1948) among others and he filmed stars such as Charles Laughton, Gregory Peck, George Sanders, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Dorothy McGuire, Yvonne de Carlo, Barbara Stanwyck and Ella Raines.

Scriptwriter Curt Siodmak distinguished himself in America with horror and science-fictions films such as The Invisible Man Returns (1939), George Waggner's film The Wolf Man with Lon Chaney (1941), Donovan's Brain" (1942), I Walked With a Zombie (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), which his brother Robert directed, and Robert Florey's The Beast With Five Fingers (1946). The Retrospective, organized by the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek and conceived by Wolfgang Jacobsen, will screen the complete works of Robert Siodmak, as well as a representative selection of films by Curt Siodmak, who will be present as an honorary Festival guest. The first German-language monograph on Robert and Curt Siodmak has been published by Argon Verlag in conjunction with the Festival.

Homage to Deneuve

French actress Catherine Deneuve will be awarded the Golden Bear for her lifetime achievement in film and thirteen films covering most periods of her work will be screened during the two-week festival.

Cinema from the Black Continent: Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Tel: (49) 30 397 870

Information and Tickets

Tel: (49) 30 25 48 90

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