|With the Berlinale just one week away my inbox is overflowing with news from global sales agents about films being screened at the European Film Market (EFM), which I'll be attending as head of Benten Films. |
There are around 700 titles being shown at the EFM, and sales companies are doing all they can to entice perspective buyers to see their films, which include offers of booze, food, parties, etc. Many of the films shown are, well, crap, and it takes a heck of a long time to comb through the guide to find the titles worth seeking out.
Each year there are a handful of private screenings of works-in-progress, some of which I actually get invited to. Last year, I couldn't talk my way into the Morgan Spurlock Osama Bin Laden film (I now consider myself lucky), but I did have a chance to see what was then called Untitled Jean-Claude Van Damme Project. Not realizing it would be the wonderful JCVD, I foolishly declined.
This year there are two works-in-progress that I've been invited to see that I'm very excited about. One is Tarik Saleh's Metropia, a Swedish-produced CGI/live-action hybrid set in a dystopian Europe that has run out of oil, while at the same time "a net of undergrounds has been connected, creating a gigantic web underneath Europe. Roger, from a suburb of Stockholm, tries to stay away from the underground. He thinks it’s unpleasant and sometimes he hears a strange voice in his head." Kafka meets Kusterica? Who knows. The news that matters most is that Vincent Gallo and Juliette Lewis are the voices of the lead characters -- two actors I've long prayed would work together. (Crazy, meet crazier.) Also along for the ride are Stellan Skarsgard (and his son Alexander) and everybody's favorite giant baby, Udo Kier. How can this not be phenomenal?
The other big news (not 100% confirmed, unfortunately) is that Lars Von Trier will be coming to the EFM with, and I quote, "about a third" of his upcoming horror film Antichrist, a glimpse into the dark world of Lars' imagination and the nature of his fears, starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg. From the Zentropa website:
"He and she lose their little son and she subsequently suffers from terrible anxiety attacks. Her husband is a therapist, and in spite of warnings not to treat people with whom you have close relations, they begin to tackle her fears together, and in the place where her anxiety is strongest: Eden, a deserted cabin in the woods. The tough therapeutic struggle develops into a battle of the sexes. Her fears inhabit them both and even he is not exempt from experiencing the merciless evil of nature. Natural brutality takes over and his cool reason is rendered futile. The evil in her runs wild."
I could be wrong, but I forsee a bidding war over this one. Von Trier is good at horror, and I don't imagine he'll take take a Brechtian approach on this one. I sincerely hope he shows. I'm dying to ask him if there's still a chance that he'll make Washington, the final chapter in his USA trilogy.