The film by the American actor and director, who is known for his active monitoring and commentary on current political events, will be screened outside the competition program of the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival. However, Superpower, which Penn shot in Kiev, will have its world premiere in Berlin.
Even otherwise, the festival, which will take place from February 16 to 26, will focus on Ukraine (two days before the end of the festival, it will be exactly one year since the Russian attack on Ukraine). Among other things, the official colors of this year’s festival will be blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
The movie Superpower will be broadcast in the Berlinale Special section. One of the directors of the festival Carlo Chatrian said about Penn’s film that it was made under very difficult circumstances. Penn was filming a documentary in Kiev at the end of February last year, when the Russian invasion began. He attended a government press conference there, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posted videos of his meeting with the actor on Instagram. Sixty-two-year-old Penn is with the co-director Aaron Kaufman made a documentary for Vice Studios, in which they describe the conflict between Zelensky and Russian President Putin. The film is described as “a chronicle of a film project forced by circumstances to turn into something less manageable but more important”.
Penn has caused controversy several times in the past by meddling in current topics. With a Mexican-American actress Kate del Castillo he interviewed a Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman – El Chapo, when he was on the run. In 2018, he is said to be shooting an unpublished documentary about the murder of a Saudi journalist in Turkey Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate.
As a sign of solidarity, in addition to the works of Iranian dissident filmmakers, several documentaries and feature films by Ukrainian directors will be screened at the festival. Also, representatives of the Ukrainian film industry will be provided with free exhibition space at the European Film Market.
This year’s film festival – the organizers unveiled the program yesterday – will be opened by a romantic comedy She Came to Me directed Rebecca Millerfeaturing the star of the Game of Thrones series Peter Dinklage and Oscar winners Marisa Tomei and Anne Hathaway.