German film eyes the big prize at Berlin festival
By Mike Collett-White
BERLIN (Reuters) - German drama "Barbara" is the critics' favorite to take away the Golden Bear for best picture at this year's Berlin film festival, in what would be the first home win since 2004.
The 10-day cinema showcase, which attracts thousands of journalists, critics and movie industry executives from around the world, ends on Saturday with an awards ceremony.
Hundreds of movies have screened at theatres across the city, while blockbuster titles and shoe-string budget projects have been bought and sold at the film market.
Outside the main competition, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt walked the red carpet for her Bosnian war drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey," while Meryl Streep was honored with a lifetime achievement award on Valentine's Day.
But as the festival, also known as the Berlinale, winds to a close, who is set to win what becomes the main focus.
Victory for Barbara, set in 1980 and dealing with the repressive world of communist East Germany, would clearly resonate at a ceremony held just a stone's throw from where the Berlin Wall once divided the country.
Whether it would then go on to enjoy global recognition, in the same way last year's Iranian winner "A Separation" has, is less certain.
"I personally would be surprised if there is anything like A Separation to come out of the festival so far," said Lee Marshall, film critic for Screen International. Continued...