Stephen Frears’ romantic drama “Cheri,” Constantin Costa-Gavras’ immigrant drama “Eden Is West” and “Notorious,” George Tillman Jr.’s biopic of the late rap star Notorious B.I.G., have joined the Berlin Film Festival’s main competition lineup.
They are among the 14 titles organizers announced on Thursday, joining the 11 previously released selections. This means the fest has confirmed 25 of the 26 pics that will unspool in competition.
Politically charged issues and romance are vibrant themes in this year’s competition lineup.
An adaptation of the 1920s novel by French author Colette, “Cheri” stars Michelle Pfeiffer and Rupert Friend in a story about a romance between a middle-aged woman and a wealthy young man.
Other pics with a U.S. contribution include Bertrand Tavernier’s French-U.S. co-production “In the Electric Mist,” starring Tommy Lee Jones, John Goodman and Peter Sarsgaard; and Mitchell Lichtenstein’s “Happy Tears,” a family drama starring Demi Moore and Parker Posey.
Examining one of Europe’s most sensitive issues, “Eden Is West,” which screens out of competition, tells the story of illegal immigrants living in the European Union. Pic stars Riccardo Scamarcio (“My Brother Is an Only Child”), Juliane Koehler (“Effi Briest”) and Ulrich Tukur (“John Rabe”). Costa-Gavras has described the film as a modern “Odyssey with Ulysses.”
Hans-Christian Schmid’s political thriller “Storm” and “Deutschland 09,” an omnibus film by some of Germany’s top filmmakers, were also among the titles unveiled.
“Storm,” about the trial of an alleged Serbian war criminal in the Hague and a Bosnian witness, stars Kerry Fox (“Intimacy”) and Anamaria Marinca (“4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days”).
The politically themed “Deutchland 09,” produced by Dirk Wilutzky and Verena Rahmig, was inspired by the 1978 compilation work “Deutschland im Herbst,” which explored the social and political upheaval of the late 1970s. The new pic collects 13 shorts directed by Fatih Akin, Tom Tykwer, Wolfgang Becker, Dominik Graf, Romuald Karmakar, Nicolette Krebitz, Dani Levy and others.
Also selected for the fest’s main section is “Tatarak” (Sweet Rush) from Polish helmer Andrzej Wajda, and Francois Ozon’s love story “Ricky.”
“With their very distinctive artistic styles, the films of the 2009 Competition provide evidence of living conditions in our globalized world,” noted Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick.
Meanwhile, as part of this year’s 70mm Retrospective, the fest will present a new print of Hermann Leitner and Rudolf Nussgruber’s 1962 documentary “Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weissen Segeln,” the first German wide-gauge production.
The Retrospective will also present a discussion with Tykwer, a wide-gauge enthusiast who shot “The International” on 65mm, cinematographer Frank Griebe, and Josef Reidinger, ARRI’s head of Lab & Postproduction at the Deutsche Kinemathek on Feb. 7. The trio will explore the course of wide-gauge film from the past to its use in present-day productions.
Guests of the other panel discussions include Schawn Belston, who has been in charge of restoring many 70mm titles at 20th Century Fox, Superpanorama MCS 70 expert Gerhard Fromm, British film historian Kevin Brownlow and author Gert Koshofer.
BERLINALE COMPETITION SCREENERS (LATEST ADDITIONS)
“Cheri,” Stephen Frears, U.K. (world premiere)
“Darbareye Elly” (About Elly), Asghar Farhadi, Iran (world premiere)
“Deutschland 09,” Fatih Akin, Tom Tykwer, Wolfgang Becker, et al., Germany (world premiere, out of competition)
“Eden Is West,” Constantin Costa-Gavras, France/Greece/Italy (out of competition)
“Gigante,” Adrian Biniez, Uruguay/Germany/Argentina (world premiere)
“Happy Tears,” Mitchell Lichtenstein, U.S. (world premiere)
“In the Electric Mist,” Bertrand Tavernier, France/U.S. (world premiere)
“Katalin Varga,” Peter Strickland, Romania/U.K./Hungary (world premiere)
“La Teta Asustada” (The Milk of Sorrow), Claudia Llosa, Spain/Peru (world premiere)
“Lille Soldat” (Little Soldier), Annette K. Olesen, Denmark
“Notorious,” George Tillman Jr., U.S. (out of competition)
“Ricky,” Francois Ozon, France/Italy (world premiere)
“Storm,” Hans-Christian Schmid, Germany/Denmark (world premiere)
“Tatarak” (Sweet Rush), Andrzej Wajda, Poland (world premiere)