The Coen brothers delivered the perfect opening film for the 66th Berlinale festival. The red carpet was teeming with celebrities from the satire "Hail, Caesar!" as Berlin hosted Hollywood's A-list.
Meryl Streep steals the limelight
Meryl Streep was the star of the evening, causing controversy with her statement "we're all Africans" when challenged on the lack of diversity in the Berlinale jury. The 66-year-old actress is heading this year's jury at Germany's biggest film festival.
Coen brothers launch the festivities
Ethan and Joel Coen presented their satire movie "Hail, Caesar!" for the opening night of the Berlinale 2016. The film kicked off celebrations on a light and entertaining note while poking fun at Hollywood's Golden Age.
Tilda Swinton flirts with the press
British actress Tilda Swinton also attended the premiere of "Hail, Caesar!" in which she plays the double role of twin sisters working for the tabloid press. On the red carpet, Swinton turned all her attention to her fans.
George and Amal Clooney work the red carpet
George Clooney and his wife Amal attended the opening film, "Hail, Caesar!" in which Clooney plays a narcissistic and oblivious movie star in the 1950s who is abducted by Communist activists.
Ai Weiwei snaps another selfie
It doesn't matter if he's getting arrested in China or walking the red carpet in Berlin: The Chinese artist is always ready to post an update of his activities on Instagram. The political activist will be the president of the jury for the charity event Cinema for Peace this year.
German stars mix with Hollywood A-list
The opening night was also attended by German movie royalty. Veteran actress Senta Berger and her husband, director Michael Verhoeven, came to the 66th annual Berlinale together.
Daniel Brühl rocks the red carpet
Internationally acclaimed German actor Daniel Brühl attended the opening night with his girlfriend Felicitas Rombold. The two almost managed to outshine the Clooneys as the soiree's power couple. Almost.
Author: Sertan Sanderson
When it comes to comedy, there are hardly any other names out there that can guarantee both incessant laugher and great dialogue in film like Joel and Ethan Coen can. The Berlinale 2016 could not have picked a better movie for its opening night than the Coen brothers' "Hail, Caesar!" It balances predictable expectations of high-brow aesthetics against knee-slapping comedy entertainment.
"Hail, Caesar!" looks back at the dusk of the golden age of the silver screen. The Coen brothers transport audiences to the 1950s while featuring current-day big names like George Clooney, Josh Brolin and Scarlett Johansson. There could not be a more enjoyable way to open the festival.
The Coen brothers' reckoning with Hollywood
In his role as up-and-coming executive Eddie Mannix, Brolin goes around town fixing every last gaffe and blunder in Hollywood, while George Clooney plays movie star Baird Whitlock, whose sudden disappearance causes havoc on the film set of swords-and-sandals epic "Hail, Caesar!"
Mannix jumps into action like a pro when news emerge that a US-based Communist movement is behind Whitlock's abduction; a clever wink on part of the Coen brothers at McCarthyism and its effects on the film industry.
This could be the greatest challenge in Mannix' career to date, but as luck would have it he happens to receive a lucrative new job offer about the same time, which he has to mull over while addressing one showbiz crisis after the next.
Mannix appears to be in a dozen places at the same time while trying to keep his cool despite being hounded by a twin-duo of tabloid journalists wherever he goes (played by Tilda Swinton in an ingenious double role). His tireless exercise in damage control is brought to the fore once more when unmarried starlet DeeAnna Moran (played by Scarlett Johansson) falls pregnant out of wedlock, a potential threat to her public image.
An homage hidden in satire
The brilliance of "Hail, Caesar!" lies in its obvious lack of subtleties, with every single role deliberately cast to go against the public image of the Hollywood heavyweights featured in the film.
With Clooney playing the narcissist, Johansson portraying a diva, and Swinton epitomizing the sensationalist press, the Coen brothers managed to create a masterpiece of comedy, employing humor to look beneath the polished veneer of Hollywood. Entire stretches of narrative take place on film sets, referencing everything from film noir to musical theater in minute detail while intimating that behind all the glitz and glamour of showbiz there lurks a more sinister realm characterized by greed, narcissism and hypocrisy.
Some of the scenes in the movie could even go down in film history for the sheer pleasure found in such a celebration of hilarity.
"Hail, Caesar!" is certainly not intended to provide an in-depth expose about the dark side of the movie business. Instead, it allows itself to take artistic license and look at Hollywood in a silly way, which, in and of itself, is an unprecedented accomplishment.
Regardless of the generous application of hyperbole throughout the film, the Coen brothers have succeeded in creating an amazing homage to the kind of craftsmanship that was found across the film industry of the 1950s while also striking comedic gold.
Author Jochen Kürten / sshttp://dw.com/p/1Hu8R