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Berlin fest slate expands

BERLIN – The remaining films for the 47th annual Berlin Intl. Film Festival were announced this week, with a long list of European films competing for the Golden and Silver Bear awards in the event that runs Feb. 13-24.

As previously reported, the festival opens with Danish director Bille August’s “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” (Daily Variety, Dec. 23, 1997), a production of Bernd Eichinger’s Munich-based Constantin Film. Danish helmer Soeren Kragh-Jacobsen’s “The Island on Bird Street” (Oen i fuglegaden), about a young boy’s escape from the Warsaw Ghetto, will also be featured in this year’s competition.

Three films by English directors can be seen in Berlin, including Anthony Minghella’s “The English Patient,” with Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas; Kevin Allen’s “Twin Town,” which preemed at Sundance; and Richard Attenborough’s “In Love and War,” starring Sandra Bullock and Chris O’Donnell.

“Lucie Aubrac,” from French helmer Claude Berri, recounts the true story of a woman who fought in the Resistance during World War II. The civil war in Eritrea is the subject of first-time French director Eric Heuman’s “Port Djema.” Rounding out the Gallic contingent is Raoul Ruiz’s “Genealogies d’un crime” with Catherine Deneuve, who will be attending this year’s Berlinale.

“Life Is a Construction Site” (Das Leben ist eine Baustelle), Wolfgang Becker’s tragicomic tale of a Berliner’s search for identity, is the first German entry to the competition announced so far.

Two Eastern European films will also be vying for awards at the Berlinale: Andrzej Wajda’s “Miss Nobody,” set in post-communist Poland, and festival favorite Kira Muratova’s feminist thriller “Three Stories” (Tri Istorija).

Spanish helmer Gerardo Herrero weighs in at this year’s competition with “Territorio Comanche,” the story of journalists covering the war in Sarajevo.

Among the non-competition European films at the Berlin Festival are German director Helma Sanders-Brahms’ “My Heart Belongs to No One” (Mein Herz – niemandem!) and “The Actor” (Le comedien) from French director Christian de Chalonge. Alain Delon, Arielle Dombasle and Lauren Bacall will be on hand for the screening of Bernard-Henri Levy’s “Le jour et la nuit.”

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