CATEGORIES Comedy, Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Berlin, Other Festivals, Cinematical Indie, CinematicalThe Berlin International Film Festival (which starts Feb. 7) announced eight of its competition titles a month ago, followed by the revelation that a film directed by Madonna (!) would premiere there out of competition. Now seven more competition titles have been announced, and quite an international affair it is!
GreenCine Daily has a good rundown of the films, but here are the basics: Feuerherz (Heart of Fire), by Luigi Falorni (The Story of the Weeping Camel); Julia, by Erick Zonca (The Dreamlife of Angels), starring Tilda Swinton; Lady Jane, by Robert Guediguian (The Last Mitterand); Elegy, by Isabel Coixet (The Secret Life of Words), starring Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Hopper, based on Philip Roth's The Dying Animal; Caos calmo (Quiet Chaos), by Antonello Grimaldi; Happy-Go-Lucky, by Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy), starring Sally Hawkins; Sparrow, by Johnnie To (Exiled); and Kaabee, by Yoji Yamada (Twilight Samurai).
In addition, Denzel Washington's The Great Debaters, which opened in the U.S. on Christmas, will play at Berlin as a "featured presentation," i.e., not in competition.
Meanwhile, in neighboring country The Netherlands, Variety reports that the Rotterdam International Film Festival (starting Jan. 23) will open with Lamb of God (Agnus Dei), the first fiction feature from Argentinian documentary director Lucia Cedron. The film is about the kidnapping of an elderly man, which forces his daughter to return to Argentina after 22 years in exile overseas.
Finally, visitors to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in sunny California (starting Jan. 24) will find that the kick-off film is Definitely, Maybe (pictured), the new Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy that opens theatrically on Valentine's Day. (What, the Santa Barbara programmers couldn't get Over Her Dead Body?) A significantly less depressing announcement is that the closing film is the U.S. premiere of The Unknown Woman, by Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso, Malena).