The Berlin Film Festival has rounded out the panel of judges who will hand out Golden and Silver Bears next month. Wong Kar Wai is jury president this year and his The Grandmaster officially opens the festival out of competition on February 7. Joining him on the jury are actor/director Tim Robbins whose Dead Man Walking was a Berlin contender in 1996; Danish director Susanne Bier; German director Andreas Dresen, a Silver Bear winner for Grill Point in 2002; American director and cinematographer Ellen Kuras; Iranian-born director and artist Shirin Neshat and Greek director and producer Athina Rachel Tsangari. Among the titles vying for prizes in Berlin are Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects, David Gordon Green’s Prince Avalanche and Bruno Dumont’s Camille Claudel 1915. Coincidentally, Dumont also had a film in the running in Cannes in 2006 when Wong was jury president there, and that picture, Flandres, won the Grand Prize that year. The Berlin fest runs from February 7-17.
The Grandmaster is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930’s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai), mentor to Bruce LEE. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony LEUNG Chiu Wai (Days of Being Wild – Berlinale Forum 1991, Chungking Express, Happy Together, In The Mood for Love, 2046, all directed by WONG Kar Wai), also includes Ziyi ZHANG (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, D: Ang Lee), who was a guest at the 2009 Berlinale Competition with Forever Enthralled (D: CHEN Kaige), CHANG Chen (Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon; Eros, D: WONG Kar Wai), ZHAO Benshan (Happy Times, D: ZHANG Yimou), XIAO Shengyang (A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, D: ZHANG Yimou – Berlinale Competition 2010) and SONG Hye Kyo (A Reason to Live, D: LEE Jeong-hyang), as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists.