Berlin rolls out the red carpet for rock royalty

Wed Feb 6, 2008 10:57am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Madonna and the Rolling Stones jostle for attention on the red carpet at this year's Berlin Film Festival, an 11-day, music-heavy movie marathon that kicks off on Thursday.

In between songs will be hard-hitting films from the real world, including a documentary about the Abu Ghraib prison abuses in Iraq and a feature on child soldiers in Eritrea.

Opening the annual event is the world premiere of "Shine a Light," Martin Scorsese's documentary about veteran British band the Rolling Stones based on footage from two concerts in New York in 2006 as well as archive material.

Having Mick Jagger and Scorsese at the glittering first night is a coup for festival director Dieter Kosslick, who has struggled to secure strong opening films in the past.

"Shine a Light" is not in the main festival competition, and so is not eligible for prizes at the awards ceremony on February 16 including the coveted Golden Bear for best film.

Madonna's film "Filth and Wisdom" is also out of the main competition, but the queen of pop's directorial debut is bound to draw comparisons -- flattering or otherwise -- with her director husband Guy Ritchie.

Kosslick said recently that Madonna had written to ask him to include her film in the lineup.

"I don't know Madonna personally, but I've never before received a card from someone who said: 'Dear Dieter, if you like my film, I'd love it to be screened in Berlin, yours, Madonna.' Obviously, that really impressed me."   Continued...

<p>People line up to buy tickets for the upcoming Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 5, 2008. A record 5,000 films were submitted for the 360 slots in this year's 58th Berlinale competition, considered alongside Cannes and Venice to be one of the world's most prestigious festivals running from February 7 to 17 in the German capital. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch</p>