Berlin Film Festival: ‘Budapest’ Beginnings and Shia LaBeouf’s Scene



Actor Shia LaBeouf raised more than a few eyebrows with his antics at the International Berlin Film Festival on Sunday. He exited a press conference after quoting soccer star Eric Cantona, saying: ”When the seagulls follow the trawler, it’s because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much.”

LaBeouf also appeared on the red carpet for the premiere of Nymphomaniac wearing a paper bag over his head. In addition to cutouts for his eyes, the bag was embellished with the words “I am not famous anymore.” Director Lars von Trier made a sartorial statement as well, showing up in a shirt reading “persona non grata,” a reference to his controversial comments at a 2011 press conference. Melancholia was being screened at the Berlin festival, also called the Berlinale, and von Trier — the movie’s director — said that he “sympathized with Hitler a little bit.”

LaBeouf plays Jerôme in Nymphomaniac. The film has already been released in Europe and was screened at Sundance, but an extended version was shown Sunday in Berlin. It is the first of a two-part installment telling the life story of Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a self-diagnosed  nymphomaniac. Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick called the movie “impressive and radical” when announcing the uncut version was to be shown. Christian Slater and Uma Thurman are in the movie, as well.

The festival opened on Thursday with Wes Anderson’s latest directorial drama, The Grand Budapest Hotel. This is the third time a movie by the director has debuted at Berlin. His first Competition appearance was with The Royal Tenenbaums in 2002, and in 2005, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was presented.

There are 23 films in the Competition program, 20 of which are in the running for the festival’s golden and silver bears, awarded at the Berlinale Palast on Saturday. The Golden Bear is the highest of the festival’s awards, and the festival concludes with a screening of the Golden Bear-winning movie.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the movies eligible for an award. It tells the story of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a concierge at the the hotel between World War I and World War II. In a review of the movie, The Hollywood Reporter dubbed it an “elegant comedy.”

The review characterized Anderson as possessing “an attention to design detail that now has perhaps morphed from a preoccupation into a mania, this is as densely aestheticized an experience as has come from a quasi-mainstream American filmmaker in many a moon.” Veteran actors of Anderson movies, like Owen Wilson, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Adrien Brody, have roles as well.

In addition to Anderson’s film are entries by directors from around the world. Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the U.S. have films being screened in Competition. Other categories include European Film Market, Berlinale Talents, Berlinale Co-Production Market, and Culinary Cinema.

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