European film’s creme de la creme

2009's film slate looks strong

Heavyweight helmers and high-profile thesps pepper the European cinema slate in 2009. A strong lineup of local pics looks likely to do well in the box office battle — once again following a stellar 2008 — against the annual Hollywood onslaught of blockbusters. The Euro pics on tap for 2009 are as diverse as the countries that constitute the continent. Dany Boon makes a return to screens in two films this year, following his blockbuster “Welcome to the Sticks,” while Jean-Pierre Jeunet opens screen doors with a comedy (that happens to star Boon). Scandinavian auteurs Lars von Trier and Lucas Moodysson are back with English-language films and international casts. Russia is finding its big-budget footing with the $40 million “Inhabited Island,” while Spain’s Alejandro Amenabar’s tackling both a big budget and ancient Egypt, and Pedro Almodovar returns to the plexes with Penelope Cruz. Giuseppe Tornatore, Dario Argento, Richard Curtis, Andrea Arnold and the venerable Andrzej Wajda might also cross borders. In this feature, Variety runs down some of the key Euro properties for 2009.

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