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08 Feb 13

Balkan Films Make Good Showing in Berlin

Movies from the Balkans have a significant presence at this year's international fim festival in Berlin, which opens on February 7.

Nemanja Cabric

The festival will open for the 63rd time with the screening of the The Grandmaster', by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai who will also preside the over the jury for the main competition.

The Berlinale will this year feature 404 movies, 19 of which are in competition for the Gold Silver and Bronze Bear awards.

The competition includes new movies from the US such as works by Steven Soderbergh and Gus Van Sant, as well as films from Asian countries such as India and Kazakhstan.

Countries from the Balkan region have a significant place in the festival and movies from almost all of them are featured in some of the programmes in Berlin.

In the competition programme are An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, by Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, and Child's Pose, by Calin Peter Netzer, from Romania.

The film by Oscar-winning director Tanovic, a story about a marginalised family struggling to find money to pay for an abortion, is a Bosnian-French-Slovene co-production.

Netzer's movie, on the other hand, is humorous story about the relationship between a mother and her son.

Only these two films entered the competition programme this year, but more Balkan movies appear in other programmes.

The Forum Programme, which deals with films about social upheaval, times of transition and periods of change, includes Circles, by Serbian director Srdan Golubovic, and A Stranger, by Croatian director Bobo Jelcic.

Circles, a Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, German and French cooproduction, is based on a true story about a Bosnian Serb who saved a Muslim during the 1992-5 war only to be killed later on by his fellow soldiers.

A Stranger (Odbrana i zastita in Croatian) is about the divided city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a "world were paranoia, comedy and drama coexist".

More movies from the region are included in the Forum expanded programme that provides a critical perspective and an expanded sense of cinematography: When I was a Boy, I was a girl (Serbia, 2013); Yugoslavia, how ideology moved our collective body, (Serbia, France, Germany 2013); and Never, (Albania 2012).

When I was a Boy, I was a girl, by Ivana Todorovic from Serbia, is a movie about a transgender person's life story.

Yugoslavia, how ideology moved our collective body, is a  research-based essay film that offers a personal perspective on the history of Socialist Yugoslavia. The movie is directed by Marta Popivoda.

Never, by Armando Lulaj, is a true story set in Communist Albania under the rule of Enver Hoxha.

Rabbitland (Serbia 2012) by Ana Nedeljkovic and Nikola Majdak is included in the Generation 14plus Short Filmprogramme, while Sofia's Last Ambulance, (Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia 2012), directed by Ilian Metev, will be screened as a part of the German Cinema programme.

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