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Steven Berkoff film mid 2000s


 


The list of minor films continues, with only occasional interest, with Berkoff treating the roles as salary earners.  His real work now is solely on stage and in print.


Head in the clouds Head in the clouds

A film by John Duigan, who also wrote the script.  2004.  A love story with the background of the Spanish Civil War then the Second World War.  An international cast with Charlize Theron, Penélope Cruz and Stuart Townsend.  Berkoff plays Charles Bessé, father of Theron´s character.

Steven Berkoff   Steven Berkoff

Berkoff in Head in The Clouds





Steven Berkoff - Brides - title

Brides (Νύφες), a film by Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris, with high profile support from Martin Scorsese as production supervisor.  The script is by Ioanne Karystiani.  2004.  A few hundred mail order brides are on a ship to America in the 1920s.  Berkoff plays the pimp Karaboulat.

Steven Berkoff - Brides

Steven Berkoff - Brides - credit





  Naked in London / Moving Target

Berkoff acts in the independent film Naked in London.  The films is based on John Cheevers The Swimmer.  Mark Tierney directs.  Thanks to Mark R for the information.


Headsman Shadow of the Sword/
The Headsman
(Hunker)

A film by Simon Aeby with script by Susanne Freund.  2005.  A sixteenth century drama, described as the one of the biggest Austrian co-productions ever.  Berkoff plays "inquisitor".  Other actors are John Schrapnel (who appeared, like Berkoff, in Nicholas and Alexander), Julie Cox (like Berkoff in Children of Dune).

Steven Berkoff in Shadow of the Sword




Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas - title

Dievu Miskas (Forest of the Gods) directed by Lithuanian director Algimantas Puipa in 2005.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas - Valentinas Masalskis

The film is based on  the book by Balys Sruoga documenting his time in the Nazi Stutthof Concentration Camp. The film centres round a professor (played by Valentinas Masalskis) imprisoned by both the Nazis and later the Soviet authorities.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

The professor is imprisoned on vague charges along with many others, and is soon helping moving dead bodies.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

The film is meant to convey a concentration camp, but the women still seem to wear makeup and the prisoners have fun building a snowman.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas - Commander Hoppe

Only occasionally is the horror a concentration camp shown with an execution.  Berkoff,  playing Commandant Hoppe, signals for the execution to begin.  Here Berkoff revives his Nazi officer role, but his voice is dubbed in this Lithuanian language film.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

When it seems the camp may be liberated Hoppe tries to show a humane side...

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

... but soon he is ordering the execution of all prisoners.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

Allied planes signal the end of German occupation...

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

... and prisoners are free for a short while.

Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas 

Vladislovas Telksnys, who was actually a prisoner in the camp, says of the film "He made a piece of nonsense. What business of his was it to make this serious and painful episode into a mockery, a piece of absurdity? He knew I was still alive, he could have come to me and talked, I would have told him (Puipa) everything. There was no such thing like... a woman with an umbrella following behind. There were no such things"

and

"But if people ask me, I do tell them. I went through hell. Stutthof was a camp for exterminating people. Those who call it a disciplinary camp or otherwise, they are telling lies. When they took us there, I saw a pile of ashes of people burnt in the crematorium, a pile perhaps bigger than my house. There were three furnaces that would be kept working day and night. A smell of burning flesh permeated everything". (Šarūnas Bulota, 9 May 2013, on 15min.it, click here).


Steven Berkoff - Forest-of the gods-Dievu Miskas

All images from the film.
 



Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman - title

The Flying Scotsman, not the famous train with that name, but on World Champion cyclist Graeme Obree.  A Scottish film, 98 minutes, by television director Douglas Mackinnon made in 2006.  With Jonny Lee Miller as Obree.

Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman - Glasgow

"Graeme Obree was one of the UK’s top cyclists. During an eventful career, he twice broke the prestigious world hour record (1993 and 1994) and became World Champion for the 4Km pursuit in 1993 and 1995. He was also well known for his innovative approach to bike design and aerodynamics. He invented new positions to gain the maximum aerodynamic advantage. His successful cycling career was undertaken against a backdrop of personal turmoil, in which he suffered periods of depression" (from Cycling Uphill website, click here).

Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman

Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman

Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman

Steven Berkoff - The Flying Scotsman

Steven Berkoff plays Ernst Hagermann, head of the World Cycling Federation.  When Obree develops a newly designed racing bike, Hagermann declares it does not conform the regulations, even if this means modifying the regulations.

The film is as slow as Obree is fast, with average acting- though Berkoff is convincing- and a mediocre script.

Mackinnon would direct Berkoff again in the Dr. Who episode Power of Three Cinematography is by Gavin Finney and the editor is Colin Monie.  Graeme Obree is credited as Bikecam Operator.  The film has fifteen producers as well as four FDP Co-producers!

"The Flying Scotsman... is a conventional underdog sports movie that should have been much more gripping. Mr. Miller gives a creditable performance as this clenched, closed-off loner who suffered from bipolar disorder and suicidal tendencies. But partly because the character is so remote, the movie, directed by Douglas Mackinnon from a shallow screenplay by John Brown, Simon Rose and Declan Hughes, is curiously inert. The rote racing sequences fail to work up much sweat or suspense" (Stephen Holden, 4 May 2007, New York Times).

"It's a remarkable story, but this movie version puffs evenly uphill for 90 minutes, grinding its gears. The director, Douglas Mackinnon, seems set on playing it essentially as a feelgood heartwarmer... Obree's dark and despairing moments don't fit very easily into this template and, in Miller's hands, Obree is an opaque and unsympathetic figure, whose emotional peaks and troughs are equally uninteresting" (Peter Bradshaw, 15 Aug 2006, the Guardian).

All images from the DVD of the film.






"charismatic, terrifying performances by Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Steven Berkoff" (Cinando website, 2006, click here)

PU-239  directed by Scott Z. Burns in 2007, his first film.

PU-239

Timofey Berezin, played by Paddy Considine, works in the Nuclear Processing Facility Skotoprigonyevsk 16.  When there is a leak he is radiated with plutonium (PU-239).  He discovers the authorities will not give him compensation, and are trying to blame him for the leak.

PU-239

He has a lethal dose of plutonium, so to provide his wife and child with some security he tries to sell plutonium to Russian gangs.

Paddy Considine in PU-239

One of the gang leaders is Starkov, played by Steven Berkoff shown here playing tennis- the credits include Tennis Instructor Dragos Tache.

Berkoff in PU-239

It does not end well for Berezin

PU-239

The film suffers from having only stereotype characters- the cheap low-level gangsters, the gang bosses, the gangster's moll. The film was previously called The Half Life of Timofey Berezin.

Berkoff PU-239 

All images from the DVD of the film.


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