Film world has capitalism and crisis in its sights

Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:54am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Communism and terrorism have long vied for the title of cinema's favorite bad guy.

Now, it seems, capitalism looks set to challenge them, with globalization as its evil sidekick.

At least 11 dramas and documentaries at this year's Berlin film festival cast a mostly critical eye on the world of banking, big business, the sometimes shocking gap between rich and poor and the harsh reality of economic migration.

By questioning the West's long-held belief that free markets are the way forward and globalization is a force for good, the films resonated with increasingly skeptical audiences aware of the gathering economic storm in the real world.

The Berlin festival, an annual showcase of hundreds of new films, opened in 2009 with "The International," a thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.

By casting a nefarious bank manipulating debt markets as the villain, it set the tone for the event.

For director Tom Tykwer, the prescient picture turned out to be an unhappy coincidence.

"The fact that the bubble has burst the moment the movie is coming out I don't find enjoyable but ... dismal," he said.   Continued...

<p>German Director Tom Tykwer (R) and, British actor Clive Owen pose during a photocall to promote the movie 'The International' of the 59th Berlinale film festival in Berlin February 5, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele</p>