Arab Spring, Fukushima star at hard-hitting Berlinale

Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:05pm EST
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By Alice Baghdjian

BERLIN (Reuters) - Social upheaval and political awakening will form the focal themes of the 62nd Berlin film festival, director Dieter Kosslick said, as films depicting the Arab Spring and Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear facility take centre stage.

The festival will screen documentaries and fictional works from Arab film makers which trace the turbulent progress of the 2011 mass uprisings across the Arab region and explore the political and philosophical questions left in the wake of the often bloody demonstrations.

Some of the first films to address the social upheaval caused by the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster last year will also make their international debuts at the festival.

The material complemented the political tradition of the festival, Kosslick said.

" is a natural path for us to take, not just because we are a political festival," he told a small group of foreign reporters.

"We are showing the films in order to create a bigger picture about upheaval and awakening ... it was natural to link these films with our other activities," he said.

The film festival, also called the Berlinale, is well known for engaging in political debate -- last year it became a platform to protest against the arrest of Iranian director Jafar Panahi.

Accused of inciting opposition protests in 2009 and making a film without permission, Panahi was banned from travelling outside Iran and was consequently unable to take up the seat he had been offered on the Berlinale jury.   Continued...

<p>A man walks past posters advertising the upcoming Berlinale international film festival in Berlin, January 23, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>