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First Wave of Berlinale Titles Announced; ‘Flowers of War’ and New Herzog Documentary to Play

Written by on December 19, 2011 

Now that the fall “awards festival” circuit is finally at a close — but with Sundance looming in the distance — it’s easy to forget about BIFF — the Berlin International Film Festival, that is. (See, I even have to give the name.) This might have something to do with their less-than-huge lineup; in terms of films playing in competition, last year’s biggest art house title was The Turin Horse, while the most mainstream was probably Margin Call. Nothing too slim, but not much compared to Cannes, Venice, or TIFF.

The first round of titles to play this coming February (via Twitch) do carry a few major titles, though. Among them are The Flowers of War (which we were quite ecstatic about), Guy Maddin‘s Keyhole, Extremely Loud…, Kevin Macdonald‘s Bob Marley documentary, and an expansion of Werner Herzog‘s Into the Abyss. A few other foreign titles carry potential, too, but that’s an assumption rooted in the talent involved, not what I’ve heard thus far.

Take a look below; the festival will run from February 9th to the 19th:

Captive, France/Philippines/Germany/Great Britain. By Brillante Mendoza (Serbis, Kinatay, Lola.) With Isabelle Huppert, Katherine Mulville, Marc Zanetta. World premiere.

Dictado (Childish Games,) Spain. By Antonio Chavarrías (Susanna, Volverás, Las vidas de Celia) With Juan Diego Botto, Barbara Lennie, Mágica Pérez. World premiere.

Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, USA By Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader) With Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Thomas Horn International premiere / Out of Competition.

Jin líng Shí San Chai (The Flowers Of War,) People’s Republic of China. By Zhang Yimou (The Red Lantern, Hero, A Woman, A Gun And A Noodle Shop) With Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Atsuro Watabe International premiere / Out of Competition.

Kebun binatang (Postcards From The Zoo,) Indonesia/Germany/Hongkong, China. By Edwin (Kara, Anak Sebatang Pohon, The Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly) With Ladya Cheryl, Nicholas Saputra. World premiere.

Berlinale Special:

Death Row: Documentary Series in Four Parts, USA. By Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams) World premiere.

Don: The King Is Back, India/Germany. By Farhan Akhtar (Dil Chahta Hai, Lakshya, Don) With Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Om Puri, Florian Lukas. German premiere.

Keyhole, Canada. By Guy Maddin (My Winnipeg, The Saddest Music In The World, Brand Upon The Brain) With Jason Patric, Isabella Rossellini, Udo Kier, Brooke Palsson. International premiere.

La chispa de la vida, Spain. By Álex de la Iglesia (El día de la bestia, Perdita Durango, The Last Circus) With Salma Hayek, José Mota, Fernando Tejero, Blanca Portillo, Juan Luis Galiardo, International premiere.

Marley Documentary, Great Britain/USA. By Kevin Macdonald (The Last King Of Scotland, Life In A Day, Touching The Void,) World premiere.

What do you think of this list? Is Berlinale on your radar?

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