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Berlin unveils first competition films

'There Will Be Blood' joins lineup

“S.O.P. Standard Operating Procedure,” Errol Morris’ examination of human rights violations at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis; and Brazilian box office hit “Tropa Elite” (The Elite Squad), about the brutal war between gangs and police in Rio de Janeiro, will be among the titles contending for the Golden Bear at next year’s Berlin Film Festival, which kicks off Feb. 7.

The lineup was released Monday in Berlin.

“Blood” will be the sixth film starring Day-Lewis to screen in Berlin and the fifth in the main competition section, after “In the Name of the Father” (1994), “The Crucible” (1997), “The Boxer” (1998) and “Gangs of New York” (2003). “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” directed by his wife, Rebecca Miller, screened in Panorama in 2005.

In addition to poignant themes of corruption, military abuse and the lasting effects of human greed, the first eight pics selected for competition also address the human struggle with suffering, disease and death.

Mexican director and former Berlinale Talent Campus participant Fernando Eimbcke tells the story of a teen coping with his father’s sudden death in “Lake Tahoe,” while German helmer Doris Doerrie’s “Cherry Blossoms — Hanami” revolves around a man with cancer who must come to grips with the unexpected death of his wife.

Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai, who won the Silver Bear in 2001 for “Beijing Bicycle,” is back with “Zuo you” (“In Love We Trust”), about a mother who has cancer and resorts to unusual measures to save her firstborn.

In “Gardens of the Night,” Damian Harris follows the fate of two children who are abducted and held captive for nearly 10 years. Pic stars Gillian Jacobs, Evan Ross, Tom Arnold and John Malkovich.

Andrzej Wajda, who received the Golden Bear for lifetime achievement in 2006, will present his latest work, “Katyn,” out of competition. Pic examines the long-taboo subject of the 1940 massacre of thousands of Polish war prisoners by the Soviet secret service.

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