A DOUBLE OF DIANE: Diane Kruger multitasked Monday at the Berlinale, showing off two new film projects that ranged from the sublime to the sinister. First up was A.J. Edwards’ “The Better Angels,” which dramatizes a short period in the childhood of Abraham Lincoln. More graceful tone poem than biopic, the black and white film looks at the difficult and seminal years when the future president lost his beloved mother (played by Brit Marling) then gains new hope when his stepmother Sarah (played by Kruger) is brought to the modest family home in the woods.
“What touched me was that this could be the story about any young boy who was encouraged by — whether it’s a parent or whether it’s a teacher. And it’s literally possible to change the world no matter where you come from and how little you had,” said Kruger.
“The Better Angels,” which had its premier last month at Sundance, was a pet project of director Terence Malick, who researched and developed the concept, then ultimately passed it along to frequent collaborator Edwards, with Malick taking a producer role. The film also features Jason Clarke as Lincoln’s father, Wes Bentley as an influential teacher, and a group of excellent non-professional child actors, but director Edwards called Kruger’s character “the heart and soul of the picture.”
Kruger first met the international press wearing a short black and white Giambattista Valli dress, but later switched to a Chanel jacket and skirt ensemble spangled with star-shaped sequins on black tulle, paired with a white shirt and string tie for the premiere of “The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden,” directed by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller. Along with Cate Blanchett, Connie Nielsen and Sebastian Koch, Kruger provides voiceovers for the documentary, a retelling of a true-crime murder mystery set on the wild archipelago that includes a Nietszche-quoting German doctor, a fake baroness with multiple live-in lovers, and a host of troubled paradise-seekers. Discussions are reportedly underway to turn the intrigue-packed real-life story into a feature fiction film.