Joel and Ethan Coen ride to Germany's top fest

Forget the Duke — it’ll be the Dude raising the curtain at next year’s Berlinale.

The Coen brothers’ “True Grit” will open the 61st Berlin Film Festival on Feb. 10. Pic is screening out of competition as an international premiere.

“Joel and Ethan Coen stand for first-rate American independent cinema,” said Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick. “With their penchant for irony and off-the-wall characters and stories they have repeatedly captivated audiences. ‘True Grit’ is a wonderful way to kick off the Berlinale 2011.”

“True Grit,” which opens Dec. 22 in the U.S., stars Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld. The Western tale, based on the novel by Charles Portis, tells the story of 14-year-old Mattie (Steinfeld), who, with the help of fearless, one-eyed U.S. marshal Rooster Cogburn (Bridges), sets out to find the man who murdered her father.

The role of the tough lawman was made famous by John Wayne, who won his only Oscar for Henry Hathaway’s 1969 version of “True Grit.”

The Coen brothers presented their hit comedy “The Big Lebowski” at the Berlinale in 1998.

Paramount will release “True Grit” in Germany on Feb. 24, four days after the fest ends.

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