We’re still trying to make our way out of this increasingly tense year, with The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle still blind spots on the horizon and festival hits Her, The Past and Inside Llewyn Davis also left to the frantic last month of the year. With all this hectic end-of-year fracas, it’s a relief to know the clock will soon be reset to zero and we’ll be back into relatively calmer festival waters. Sundance is certainly a refreshing palette cleanser when the Oscar season is at risk of implosion, but an even more peaceful European festival alcove is Berlin Film Festival. With less troublesome media presence than Cannes, Venice, or Toronto, it’s a well-esteemed, but thankfully mellow territory for foreign arthouse fare to drop.
This past year offered graceful bows for Foreign Language Film entries Gloria, Child’s Pose and The Grandmaster. The last of those opened festivities on a high profile note, a trend the 2014 festival is continuing by premiering Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel there. It’s not a total surprise, since its March 7th release put it in close proximity and Anderson tends to launch his films at major European festivals, be it Moonrise Kingdom in Cannes or Fantastic Mr. Fox in London. It’s an undeniably delightful way to kick off a festival whose content often embraces markedly bleaker content and should give the film an extra kick ahead of its release. You can check out the wonderfully Wes trailer here, as we’re likely to have done repeatedly on endless loop by the time the Berlin Film Festival kicks off on February 6, 2014. How we wish we were going.