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Wes Anderson opens the Berlinale in shock #MeToo

Ⓒ AFP – John MACDOUGALL – | American director Wes Anderson signs autographs after a press conference for his new feature film, “The Isle of Dogs”, which opens the Berlinale on February 15, 2018

Wes Anderson and his new feature film “The Isle of Dogs” open the Berlinale on Thursday, with several protests against sexual abuse of women in the middle of the #MeToo shock wave already on the sidelines.

The Berlinale is the first major film festival in Europe since the charges of sexual abuse against Harvey Weinstein and revelations about the treatment of women in the 7th art that followed.

The German director Tom Tykwer, chairman of the jury who will choose the next Golden Bear, asked that the discussion “not be stifled by anyone”. But at the same time “it is important that the debate is not fueled artificially,” he added in reference to the risk of media sensationalism.

The organizers of the Berlinale promised to promote diversity in all its forms, although only four of the films in competition were made by women. They said they dismissed several filmmakers accused of sexual abuse.

– #Poupéofpeople –

A South Korean actress, however, criticized the festival for inviting director Kim Ki-Duk and his film “Human, Space, Time and Human”, presented Saturday. She accused him of slapping her and forced to shoot improvised sex scenes while working on one of her films.

“The Berlinale condemns and obviously opposes any form of violence and inappropriate sexual behavior,” his director, Dieter Kosslick, told AFP before the start of the film marathon.

On Thursday, a group of 100 civil rights organizations in South Korea increased pressure by criticizing the festival’s “unfair” decision to invite “the perpetrator of a physical assault” while “the victim who expressed is marginalized “.

The #MeToo wave is clearly felt in Berlin: an online petition calling for a “black carpet” instead of the traditional “red carpet” at the Berlinale, as a sign of support for victims of sexual abuse, attracted some 21,000 signatures.

Ⓒ AFP – John MACDOUGALL – | British actress Tilda Swinton in Berlin at a press conference on Wes Anderson’s feature film “The Isle of Dogs” which opens the Berlinale on February 15, 2018

And a German actress, Anna Brüggemann, has launched a call on Twitter called #poupéedepersonne to invite female stars to give up the short skirts and usual sexy outfits, in favor of “more comfortable clothes”.

For 11 days, some 400 films will be broadcast as part of the first major film festival of the year in Europe, before Cannes and Venice, and the only one to be open to the public.

The first event is the presentation of the last Wes Anderson, the filmmaker of “Grand Budapest Hotel”.

For his second foray into animation after “Fantastic Mr Fox” in 2009, the American director has assembled a crowd of celebrities: Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson who make the voice of the dogs at the honor in the film.

– Japan fantasized –

“The Isle of Dogs” follows the adventures of 12-year-old Atari, looking for his trusty companion Spots, quarantined on an island because of a canine flu epidemic.

The film takes place in “a fantasy version of Japan” and is a tribute to two masters of Japanese cinema, Hayao Miyazaki and Akira Kurosawa, Wes Anderson told the press. We find childhood, family and the search for origins, themes dear to the American filmmaker.

This is the fourth time the director is in the running for the Golden Bear, which will be presented on February 24 to one of the 19 films in competition.

Ⓒ AFP – Vincent LEFAI – | Cinema Festivals

In the jury, Tom Tykwer (“Cours, Lola, cours”, “The perfume”) will be supported by the Belgian actress Cécile de France, the American producer of “Moonlight” Adele Romanski, the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto or the Spanish film historian Chema Prado.

True to its tradition, the Berlinale plans to host auteur films and larger productions.

Isabelle Huppert will play a femme fatale in “Eva”, a psychological thriller by Benoît Jacquot, adapted from a noir novel by James Hadley Chase. France will be represented a second time with Cédric Kahn’s “The Prayer”, on former drug addicts who are trying to get away with it in a radical way.

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