Swinton an Early Front-runner at Berlin Film Festival

Scotland-based actress, Tilda Swinton, has emerged as an early front-runner for the Best Actress Award when the Berlin Film Festival prizes are announced on Saturday.

Swinton’s performance in ‘Julia’, as an alcoholic kidnapper on the run with a nine year-old boy, attracted a round of critical plaudits, even if the film itself (the first English-language feature by French director, Eric Zonca) received a more muted response.

The actress – who, on Sunday, took the Best Supporting Actress title at the British Academy film awards – was greeted with enthusiastic applause by the international media when she appeared in Berlin to talk about the venture.

As a tee-totaller, she confessed to being “a completely hopeless drunk”. She added: “I cannot drink at all or I fall asleep. So that element of preparation was useless so I could not go there. I did have an apprehension about the drunk scenes which I shared with Eric.

“Yet when we started to do them they were incredibly easy for me because I had been doing it all my life – pretending to be drunk. I had been hanging out with drunks my whole life, but I had been the sober one. So when the police came I was the one who turned the music down and drove everyone home. I have had a lifetime of hanging around alcoholics and that was all the preparation I needed in the end.”

She remains in Berlin for the premiere later this week of a film about her muse, the late Derek Jarman, who directed her in seven films, beginning with Caravaggio, in 1986.

Swinton’s performance as Julia has been hailed for its “bravery in taking on such unsexy behaviour” – in the trade newspaper, The Hollywood Reporter – to “Tilda Swinton’s breathless performance” – in Screen International. One reviewer even commented ungallantly on Swinton’s “imperfect body … with some cellulite and a little potbelly.”

The film is expected to be released in the UK later this year.

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