'Hesher,' 'Rabbit Hole,' 'Blue Valentine' among screeners

BERLIN — Spencer Susser’s “Hesher,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keanu Reeves starrer “Henry’s Crime” from helmer Malcolm Venville, and William Monahan’s romantic thriller “London Boulevard,” with Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley are among this year’s international titles unspooling at the Munich Film Festival.

Germany’s second biggest film fest, which runs June 24-July 2, presents 237 films from around the globe, most of them having their German premiere at the event.

Among the 16 pics unpooling in the American Independents sidebar are two films starring Michelle Williams, Kelly Reichardt’s oater “Meek’s Cutoff” and Derek Cianfrance’s relationship drama “Blue Valentine.”

Also playing is Liza Johnson’s “Return,” starring Michael Shannon (“Man of Steel”); Kelly Duane and Katie Galloway’s documentary “Better This World,” the story of two young political activists from Texas who were charged with domestic terrorism; and Aaron Katz’s mystery thriller “Cold Weather.”

“This is our best lineup in a long time,” said festival director Andreas Stroehl, who is stepping down after an eight-year stint. “It brings together the highest artistic aspirations with rich cinematic enjoyment.”

The International Program, the fest’s biggest section showcasing more than 70 films, includes John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole,” with Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart; George Hickenlooper’s “Casino Jack,” starring Kevin Spacey; and the Dardenne brothers’ “Le Gamin au velo” (The Kid With a Bike), winner of this year’s Cannes Grand Prix, which kicks off the eight-day fest.

The event also boasts sidebars such as New French Cinema, New German Cinema, Visiones Latinas, Focus Far East and the Kinderfilmfest.

Additional screeners include Pascal Arnold’s French romantic thriller “American Translation”; Jan Zabeil German drama “The River Used to Be a Man,” starring Alexander Fehling; and Julio Hernandez Cordon’s Guatemalan title “Las marimbas del infierno.”

The fest is feting actor John Malkovich and Georgian-born filmmaker Otar Iosseliani with its CineMerit Award as well as American helmer Tom DiCillo (“Delirious”) and Sweden’s Roy Andersson (“A Swedish Love Story”) with retrospectives.

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