Of the 87 screenings tomorrow on Day One of the festival three feature zombies--"Kill Zombie" from the Netherlands about a city ravaged by a zombie outbreak, "Dead Bite" from Thailand with zombies emerging from the sea and "Detention of the Dead" from the US about high school kids trapped in detention with classmates who have been turned into a horde of zombies. Even though zombies are a prominent subject throughout the festival, I'm hoping to be able to avoid them.
Of the thousand or so films I have scanned so far on the schedule there are as many about zombies as assassins and serial killers and heists and Nazis and suicide and soccer, but not as many as about prostitutes or revenge or prison, always popular subjects. I have two cycling films to look forward to in the days ahead--"One Mile Above" a feature about a Taiwanese who cycles two thousand miles across China to Tibet and a documentary, "Moon Rider" from Denmark about an aspiring racer.
Three movies have been compared to "Clockwork Orange." Last year there was a documentary celebrating its 40th anniversary. Kubrick is further honored this year with a documentary on "The Shining" called "Room 237" trying to explain its many hidden meanings.
There are also a handful of movies on post-9/11 New York and post-earthquake Japan. Another theme is movies featuring hated rivals becoming friends--Israelis and Palestinians, North and South Koreans, Russians and Chinese. The Korean movie is a documentary about the 1991 table tennis championship when the two Koreas combined to try to defeat the Chinese. That is the film I'm most looking forward to seeing tomorrow.
It is one of a host of many documentaries that could be fascinating. There are three on fashion, one about women and their devotion to their shoes called "God Save My Shoes" and "About Faces" about models and their look and a film about a fashion show at Versailles that revolutionized the fashion industry. John Boorman's daughter spent four year's filming her dad for a documentary. There are also documentaries on Tony Curtis, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Ingmar Bergman and a famous Finnish accordionist.
I could base my viewing tomorrow on actors who I like--Paul Dano, Julia Stiles, Michael Rooker, Michael Madsen and Matthew Modine, all anchoring films. "My Angel" from the UK has the honor of being the first film screened at 9:30 a.m. in the 73-seat Palais J screening room. There will be no official ceremony and probably only a handful of the insatiable diehards in attendance for what sounds like a fairly silly film about two sons who try to find an angel's halo to save their mother after she has a serious car accident. I could be out the door for several screenings that start at ten nearby or dash to the Gray Hotel screening rooms for the Japanese film "Lilo's Adventure" by Izuru Kumasak about a young girl who gives up laughing. The director's previous film was the best first feature at Berlin in 2010, giving it some promise. There is another film with the Berlin stamp of approval having played in its Competition this year at noon, "Caesar Must Die" about Italian prisoners who stage the Shakespeare play.
Those are just a handful of my many many options and temptations. Lots and lots to look forward to.