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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Berlinale 2011 Panorama

  photo still of 'Tropa d'Elite 2' with actor Wagner Moura


Panorama Special and Panorama Dokumente 


The first is Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha's Tropa de Elite 2, which does not just take up his Golden Bear-winning film from 2008 again, but also shifts the perspective. A human rights activist in Brazil is elected district representative, yet he is the antithesis of the militia, police
and, above all, the political system. The second opening film is Lee Tamahori's Belgian production, The Devil's Double. Baghdad in the early 1990s: following his father's example, Saddam Hussein's son Uday (Dominic Cooper) searches for a double to cover up his excessive lifestyle and ends up forcing his school friend Latif into the role (also Dominic Cooper). As usual, Panorama Dokumentewill be showing its premieres in CineStar 7 and Kino International. It will open on February 11 with Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius' Barzakh, a Finnish-Lithuanian co-production by Aki Kaurismäki. Post-war Chechnya: a man has disappeared. The investigators get caught up in a whole host of dreadful secrets and are in danger themselves. Based on one Chechen family, the film depicts the horrors of the war after the withdrawal of the Russians. 

Main Topics 


Intimate Takes 

Not only technical developments (tiny cameras, editing software on laptops) have encouraged filmmakers to take an intimate look at things, but it is also the take of the zeitgeist, which due to never-ending options and exceedingly complex dangers has turned inwards to what is manageable. Though in most cases, behind the micro lurks the macro: there's no escape. A splendid example is Kevin Macdonald's Life In A Day that is made up entirely of intimate snippets, collected around the world. The other films on this topic are:Fjellet, Die Vaterlosen, Über uns das All, Medianeras, Here, OFF BEAT, The Queen Has No Crown 


The fight for a place in the sun: it often involves high hopes, though in succeeding generations these may dissolve into new frustrations. Four examples tell of different stages in this process: Man At Sea, Dernier étage gauche gauche, Amador, Die Jungs vom Bahnhof Zoo 


It's again a central theme in this year's Panorama. State authority versus state authority - a contradiction found in a
number of productions and the constant underlying question is: how do people get their powerful positions? That this can appear to take place in a folksy, democratic manner is illustrated most entertainingly in Italian director Giulio Manfredonia's farce within a farce Qualunquemente (Whatsoeverly): here everything revolves around political behaviour on the provincial stage. Qualunque just must become mayor: Go and get ‘em!Further films on this topic include:The Special opening films mentioned earlier as well as John Michael McDonagh's The Guard, an Irish-British production, with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle; and Bu-dang-geo-rae (The Unjust) by Seung-wan Ryoo from the Republic of Korea.

-BERLINALE PRESS-read more of article here:


Read an interview with actor Rod Carvalho here:


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