Berlinale goes online amid coronavirus threat

Photo: EPA

The 71st Berlin Film Festival opens on Monday in an online version due to the pandemic and featuring movies about the horrors of the Lebanese civil war, a humanoid and a young man's journey of self discovery kicking off the five-day event, dpa reported. The three movies form part of the 15-film race for the Golden Bear - the Berlinale's top prize for best picture, due to be announced by a six-member jury on Friday, along with the festival's other prestigious awards.

A total of 16 countries are represented in the Berlinale's showcase competition, including Iran, Japan, Mexico, Germany, France, Georgia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Qatar and Canada.

Launched in 1951, the Berlinale was forced to abandon its traditional February slot and seek out alternatives due to the threat posed by the coronavirus.

This week's films are being screened in a so-called industry event, which is mainly open only to film industry professionals.

The Berlinale's prizes are to be handed out at an award ceremony at what the festival calls its June summer special, which represents the second stage of this year's festival and is to be open to the wider public.

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