According to Variety, the executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out of fear of upsetting Chinese officials. But Emmanuel Benbihy, the film’s Shanghai-based executive producer, says that Ai’s segment did not meet the requirements for inclusion and that the award-winning artist is obsessed with criticizing China. “Berlin, I Love You,” whose short takes feature such stars as Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, was submitted to the Berlin Film Festival but failed to land a slot, even out of competition or in one of the fest’s sidebars. Instead, it began its commercial career with a Feb. 8 theatrical release, handled by Saban Films, in the U.S. To Ai’s surprise, the finished picture left out the segment he shot in 2015, long before contributions from Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger and nine others went before the cameras. Ai directed his piece remotely, issuing instructions by video-call, while under house arrest in China, to Claus Clausen, the Germany-based producer of the film, who co-directed. (Ai later relocated permanently to Berlin.) The segment focuses on a boy, played by Ai’s son, who discovers a new city and uses unreliable technology to keep in touch with his distant father. The complete story can be read over at Variety.
Can you imagine a Helen Mirren film being released and no one – literally no one – notices? Nope, me neither. But this is the case with “Berlin, I Love You”, the latest (and most probably final) installment of the Cities of Love series, following “Paris, je t’aime”, “New York, I Love You” and “Rio, Eu Te Amo”. It was released on February 8 on-demand, without any kind of promotion. Described as a “collective feature-film”, 12 stories are told, directed by 12 different directors – and not one of the stories feels anything like Berlin. One of the first segments, starring Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren, has been directed by Iranian director Massy Tadjedin. Their story features solid performances, but it’s nothing more than a short subject in a 100 minute bore. After “Collateral Beauty” and “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, it seems Knightley and Mirren are not each other’s lucky charm 🙂 You’ll find “Berlin, I Love You” on various on-demand platforms. Screencaptures have been added to the photo gallery.
Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Luke Wilson are learning about love in the trailer for Berlin, I Love You. In PEOPLE exclusive trailer, Knightley portrays Jane, a woman intent on helping a young boy she found in a shelter. Mirren portrays her mother, Margaret, who seems at odds with her daughter’s decision to help the boy played by Liam Gross. “This is Nizar,” Jane says while introducing him to Margaret, who asks, “Is he from the shelter?” Sarcastic, Jane responds, “No, I picked him up from an alleyway.” Directed in segments by 12 directors, the film is the latest installment in the Cities of Love franchise which has spawned the films Paris, Je T’Aime and New York, I Love You. “This is Berlin, a pounding heartbeat grown out of a divided nation,” a voiceover says. “People come to Berlin to dream, to dance and to fall in love.” The film tells the kaleidoscope of stories about love, tolerance and redemption with a total of 20 actors starring in the film including Wilson, Jenna Dewan, Diego Luna, Iwan Rheon, Mickey Rourke and Emily Beecham. Wilson stars as Burke Linz, a man down on his luck who falls in love with the beautiful Katarina, played by Glee‘s Dianna Agron. Berlin, I Love You is in theaters and VOD Feb. 8.
Love is in the air for Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jim Sturgess. The trio have joined the cast of Berlin, I Love You, which marks the latest film in the Cities of Love anthology series launched by Emmanuel Benbihy that already has tackled tales of romance in Paris and New York. Written by Neil La Bute and David Vernon, Berlin, I Love You segments are being directed by Fernando Eimbcke, Dennis Gansel, Massy Tadjedin, Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger, Justin Franklin, Dani Levy and Dianna Agron. Josef Rusnak will helm the transition sequence that ties up all the episodes. Mirren, Keira Knightley and Jim Sturgess join co-stars Diego Luna, Mickey Rourke, Toni Garrn, Sibel Kekilli, Agron and Rafaelle Cohen, who already boarded the project, which is being shopped to international buyers at Toronto by Highland Film Group and Disrupting Influence’s Glenn Kendrick Ackermann and Jason Piette. The Cities of Love series launched in 2006 with Paris Je T’aime, which was followed by New York, I Love You in 2009. Berlin, I Love You will explore coupling in the German capital, where production is set to start by end of September. The complete announcement can be read over at The Hollywood Reporter with many thanks to Claudia for the heads-up.