Maurice Jarre homage at Berlin

French film composer celebrated, plus films announced in Generation section.

by Amber Wilkinson

The Homage of the 59th Berlin International Film Festival will be dedicated to Maurice Jarre, the Academy award-winning French film composer.

On the occasion of the Homage, Maurice Jarre will be awarded the Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement on February 12, 2009.

Director of the Berlinale, Dieter Kosslick, said: "Film composers often are in the shadows of great directors and acting stars. It’s different with Maurice Jarre; the music of Doctor Zhivago, like much of his work, is world-famous and remains unforgotten in the history of cinema."

Jarre's international breakthrough came in 1962, with his Oscar-winning score for David Lean's desert epic Lawrence Of Arabia, which will screen on February 12. Jarre's collaborations with Lean on Doctor Zhivago (1965) and A Passage To India (1984) earned him two more Academy Awards. Maurice Jarre also wrote the score for Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean, 1970), which will be shown as part of this year’s Retrospective 70mm – Bigger Than Life.

Born in Lyon, in 1924, Maurice Jarre began his musical career with studies in percussion and conducting at the Conservatoire de Paris. He became the musical director of the Théâtre National Populaire in 1950, and composed the orchestra’s music for more than 70 plays.

In 1952, Jarre made his debut as a film score composer for George Franju`s Hôtel des Invalides. By the mid-sixties, Jarre had written the scores of numerous French films before turning his attention to Hollywood.

Over the course of his career, Jarre worked on more than 150 international film productions, including works for John Frankenheimer, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Luchino Visconti and Peter Weir.

In a separate announcement, the Festival released the titles of 13 films to be screened in the Generation section of the event - aimed at children and young people.

For the first time a documentary will screen in the Kplus section (aimed at the youngest audiences). Mexican film The Inheritors (Los herederos) "observes how hard work defines the lives and existence of children and their families".

Among the films screening in the 14plus segment is Cherrybomb. The feature debut of Glenn Leyburn and Lisa Baros D'Sa (who previously helmed award-winning short The 18th Electricity Plan), it is billed as a gritty thriller about teens in trouble, and stars Rupert Grint, Kimberley Nixon and Robert Sheehan.

Section director Maryanne Redpath, said: "We cannot ignore documentary material that has such an enormous impact on the screen. We are eager to engage in the controversial discussions that this work will provoke across the generations."

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