Two James Franco pix play in Panorama

BERLIN

The Berlin Film Festival is close to completing its vast lineup, announcing Tuesday that Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” will unspool in its Berlinale Special showcase and two films featuring Berlinale regular James Franco will play in the Panorama sidebar.

Showing recent works by contemporary filmmakers, documentaries and works in diverse formats, Berlinale Special will also show Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Best Offer,” starring Geoffrey Rush and Jim Sturgess; Michael Winterbottom’s “The Look of Love”; and Yoji Yamada’s “Tokyo Family.”

Also unspooling in Berlinale Special will be the Ken Loach documentary “The Spirit of ’45,” about post-war Britain and Raoul Peck’s “Fatal Assistance,” which examines the consequences of charity hype in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Jane Campion’s TV miniseries “Top of the Lake” likewise screens in the section.

Panorama organizers, meanwhile, completed the selection of features in the sidebar’s main program as well as the Panorama Special with 31 films from 23 countries, including a strong showing of U.S. independent cinema.

In helmer Carter’s “Maladies,” which world preems in Berlin, Franco plays a former actor suffering from schizophrenia sharing a home with two other people struggling with mental illness.

Franco also stars in “Interior. Leather Bar.” Inspired by William Friedkin’s 1980 cop drama “Cruising,” it attempts to recreate 40 minutes of lost footage from the controversial Al Pacino film.

“A striking number of productions from the U.S. bring back memories of the early 1980s to the mid-1990s when U.S. independent cinema was a trademark of the Panorama program,” the fest said in statement, adding that the “slump that followed … had been overcome,” but that “a new creative phase … is now taking on form.”

Panorama will open with Georgian Zaza Rusadze’s drama “A Fold in My Blanket,” about the friendship of two men in a culture undergoing change.

Opening the Panorama Special will be Nanouk Leopold’s Dutch-German co-production “It’s All So Quiet,” starring the recently deceased Jeroen Willems in his last role.

Among Panorama’s other U.S. titles are Stacie Passon’s “Concussion” and “Upstream Color,” by Shane Carruth.

Additional pics include Jose Luis Valle Gonzalez’s Mexican-German co-production “Workers”; Bruno Barreto’s Brazilian pic “The Art of Losing”; Asli Ozge’s German production “Lifelong” and from India, Abhishek Kapoor’s “Kai Po Che!”

Likewise unspooling are Lonesome Solo’s Ivorian-French co-production “Burn It Up Djassa”; Stefan Westerwelle and Patrick Schuckmann’s German drama “Lose Your Head”; Jacques Doillon’s Gallic title “Mes seances de lute”; Ugur Yucel’s Turkish work “Cold” and, from Indonesia, “Something in the Way,” by Teddy Soeriaatmadja.

Arvin Chen’s Taiwanese title “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and Tom Shoval’s Israeli-German co-production “Youth” will also screen, as will Heiner Carow’s 1973 East German classic “The Legend of Paul and Paula” as part of a special Panorama presentation.

Further Berlinale Special screeners include German Olympic docs “Gold — You Can Do More Than You Think,” by Michael Hammon, and Niko von Glasow’s “My Way to Olympia”; Christian Rost and Claus Strigel’s “Redemption Impossible” plus the four recent installments in Hans-Georg Ullrich and Detlef Gumm’s longterm doc project “Berlin — Ecke Bundesplatz.”

Berlin runs Feb. 7 to 17.

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