From Tokyo to Texas, Berlin festival films dissect family life

Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:53am EST
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By Stephen Brown

BERLIN (Reuters) - Portrayals of the difficulties of family life in Tokyo around World War Two and in Texas in the 21st century lend a domestic tone to the Berlin Film Festival's competition this year.

The uncut "Nymphomaniac" by Denmark's Lars von Trier and George Clooney's topical "The Monuments Men", about art looted by the Nazis, will probably grab more attention - for different reasons - but both are being screened out of competition.

The line-up for the Golden Bear and other prizes is short on current Hollywood "A-listers" but rich in global variety. The 23 films in competition come from 20 countries, including multiple entries from places as far apart as China and Argentina.

Twenty of those 23 will compete for the "Golden Bear" which will be presented on February 15, while 18 are world premieres.

Alain Resnais, director of classics such as "Hiroshima mon amour" of 1959 and "Last Year at Marienbad" in 1961, will enter the competition with a film version of Alan Ayckbourn's play "Life of Riley" about a man with a terminal illness.

Veteran Japanese director Yoji Yamada, whose career has been just as long and includes his "Samurai" trilogy, is back with "The Little House", which portrays family life in Tokyo before and during the war.

Fast forward six decades to "Slacker" director Richard Linklater's "Boyhood". Set in his native Texas, it was shot over 12 years following a boy played by Ellar Samon and his divorced parents, portrayed by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.


Actors Stellan Skarsgard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, director Lars Von Trier, actors Mia Goth, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf (L-R) pose on the film set of 'Nymphomaniac' at a former primary school in Cologne September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender