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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 11:03 GMT
Altman premiere cheered in Berlin
Meryl Streep, Robert Altman and Lindsay Lohan
Meryl Streep (l) and Lindsay Lohan (r) star in Altman's (c) film
Veteran director Robert Altman's latest film, A Prairie Home Companion, has been cheered at its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

The musical film is based on a US radio show presented by Garrison Keillor, who co-wrote and stars in it.

Altman said he did not set out to make a political or subversive film.

"We tried in the film to capture the soul of Garrison's humour, his way of communication and the show generally," he said.

A Prairie Home Companion also stars Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and Lindsay Lohan.

Altman said he was looking forward to receiving his lifetime achievement award at the Oscars on 5 March, recognising his entire body of work.

Jasmila Zbanic
Jasmila Zbanic directed Grbavica

"I can't think of a better award - to me it's better for all of my work than for just a couple of things," he said.

Also screening at the Berlin festival at the weekend was Grbavica, which looks at post-war Bosnia and the traumatic aftermath of the mass rapes of women by soldiers.

'Concentration camps'

It centres on one Muslim woman's struggle to keep the secret from her young daughter, who was born as a result of the rape.

"We wanted to give a voice to these people and reflect on something that actually exists in Bosnia," said director Jasmila Zbanic.

"Rape was a war strategy to humiliate these women. They were kept in concentration camps until abortions were no longer possible.

"The official number of women raped is 20,000 but the real number is probably much higher, maybe 50,000."

Grbavica is one of 19 films competing for the Golden Bear award, which will be announced on 18 February.

Also in competition is Michael Winterbottom's Road to Guantanamo and joint British and Canadian production Snow Cake.




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