Theme of captivity dominates Berlin films in 2012

Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:35am EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - Directors from around the world have tried to recreate the drama and trauma of captivity at this year's Berlin film festival, though not all of them found a captive audience.

From kidnapping to political repression, and from a queen trapped in her palace to detainees on death row, how humans behave when their freedom is denied them has dominated the annual cinema showcase so far.

Half of the 18 movies in the festival's competition have screened and reviews so far have been only average overall.

But home entry "Barbara" is the critics' early favorite to win the Golden Bear for best picture at the closing ceremony on Saturday, which would be the first German winner since "Head-On" in 2004.

Film festival juries are notoriously hard to second guess, however, and the 2012 panel led by British director Mike Leigh is unlikely to be any different.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt braved sub-zero temperatures to walk the red carpet at the weekend and add celebrity wattage to the Berlinale, while Oscar hopeful Meryl Streep receives a lifetime achievement award on Valentine's Day.

Billy Bob Thornton directs and stars in "Jayne Mansfield's Car" which premieres late on Monday.

And festival goers, looking for light relief from a generally gritty selection of films, flocked to see sci-fi spoof "Iron Sky," about Nazis who launch a "Meteorblitzkrieg" on Earth from their base on the dark side of the moon.   Continued...