Munich festival gets under way with packed schedule

Photo: Zimbio via Getty Images Pictured: Diana Iljine, Ed Herzog, Martin Moszkowicz, Rita Falk, Lisa-Maria Potthoff, Judith Gerlach, Simon Schwarz attend the premiere of "Kaiserschmarrndrama" during the 38th Munich Film Festival on July 01, 2021 in Munich, Germany.

Filmgoers in Munich were heading for the first full day of films at the 38th Munich Film Festival on Friday, with the day's highlight to be the Cinemerit Award to US actor Robin Wright. The 38th edition of the popular summertime film festival, which fell victim last year to the coronavirus pandemic, opened with the premiere screening of a Bavarian cop comedy, Kaiserschmarrndrama, at six locations on Thursday evening.

Friday's full slate of over a dozen films presents cinema audiences with the first look at several international productions, many making their European and world premieres.

Under the motto "Citywide Live," the filmfest is a scaled-down programme taking place at eight outdoor locations and seven indoor cinemas. Through 10 July, film enthusiasts will have a choice of among 70 films, including 33 world premieres, from 29 countries, numbers that are far below the pre-corona slate of 180 films two years ago.

This year's smaller size reflects the planning uncertainties that the filmfest organizers faced given the pandemic and whether the festival could be held at all, and under what conditions. With the steady drop in infections in Munich in recent months, officials gave the green light to a scaled-down festival.

Wright is to be feted via satellite linkup Friday evening in receiving the Cinemerit award paying tribute to outstanding film personalities.

Later during the fest, Munich-based grande dame of film Senta Berger will likewise be honoured, as will US "Run Lola Run" actor Franka Potente. Finally, a special tribute will honour multiple award-winning Polish director Malgorzata Szumowska.

The final ceremonies wrapping up the festival are set for July 10, with the awarding of the top honours, including the 50,000-euro ARRI/OSRAM CineMasters prize for best international film and the 15,000-euro CineVision prize for the best up-and-coming international director.

Among the 13 entries in the Cinemasters competition are Summer of 85 (France) by Francois Ozon, Wife of a Spy (Japan) by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Sun Children (Iran) by Majid Majidi, El Perro que no Calla (Argentina) by Anna Katz, Riders of Justice (Denmark) by Anders Thomas Jensen, Tove (Finland/Sweden) by Zaida Bergroth, and Sainte-Narcisse (Canada) by Bruce LaBruce.

In an innovation, on the final night six films will be screened at the various locations as opposed to the usual practice of a single film shown at the awards ceremonies.

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