Berlin Film Festival Reveals Further Competition

Pix include ''71,' 'Life of Riley,' 'Aloft,' 'Beloved Sisters,' 'Stratos'

LONDON — The Berlin Film Festival has revealed further titles for its Competition section, as well as pics in its Berlinale Special lineup.

As well as two previously announced titles, George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men,” which plays out of competition, and the fest opener, Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” the Berlinale has revealed five other Competition section titles.

These are Yann Demange’s “’71” (pictured), Alain Resnais’ “Aimer, boire et chanter” (Life of Riley), Claudia Llosa’s “Aloft,” Dominik Graf’s “Die geliebten Schwestern” (Beloved Sisters) and Yannis Economides’ “Stratos.”

Thriller “’71” stars Jack O’Connell — who impressed many with his perf as a troubled youth in “Starred Up” — as a British soldier stranded in a hostile ‘hood in Belfast in 1971.

It is the feature debut from French-born British director Demange, who previously helmed TV drama “Top Boy,” a miniseries about London youth involved in the drugs biz. “Top Boy” was nommed for a BAFTA, as were two other Demange TV dramas, “Criminal Justice” and “Dead Set.”

Veteran Gallic helmer Resnais’ “Aimer, boire et chanter” is a comedy based on Alan Ayckbourn’s play “Life of Riley.” The story centers on a group of friends who discover that one of them has only a few months left to live.

Resnais, whose credits include “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Last Year at Marienbad,” was previously in competition in Berlin with “No Smoking/Smoking” in 1994 and “On connait la chanson” (Same Old Song) in 1998.

“Aloft,” previously titled “Cry/Fly,” is the English-language debut of Peruvian director Llosa, whose second feature “The Milk of Sorrow” won Berlin’s Golden Bear in 2009, and was nommed for an Oscar.

“Aloft” centers a mother (Jennifer Connelly) and her son (Cillian Murphy), whose lives were marred by an accident that tore them apart. Melanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”) plays a journalist who pulls them together again. “Breaking Bad” exec producer Mark Johnson produces, alongside Jose Maria Morales.

Eighteenth-century-set “Beloved Sisters” is study of love centering on scribe and philosopher Friedrich Schiller, played by Florian Stetter (“Sophie Scholl”). It also stars Hannah Herzsprung (“Four Minutes”) and Henriette Confurius as beautiful, aristocratic sisters.

Graf is one of Germany’s leading helmers, although he has worked mainly in TV. Graf’s work has often played in Berlin, such as competish title “A Map of the Heart” in 2002, and most recently “Lawinen der Erinnerung,” a reflection on the history of German television, which played in Forum last year.

Among Berlinale Special titles, the standout is “A Long Way Down,” the English-language debut from Pascal Chaumeil. The adaptation of Nick Hornby’s darkly comic best-seller stars Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots.

Chaumeil’s romantic comedy “HeartBreaker” was a commercial and critical hit.

Competition
“’71,” Yann Demange, (U.K.). World premiere.
With Jack O’Connell, Sean Harris, Richard Dormer.
Int’l sales: Protagonist Pictures.

“Aimer, boire et chanter” (Life of Riley). Alain Resnais (France). World premiere.
With Sabine Azema, Sandrine Kiberlain, Caroline Silhol, Andre Dussolier, Hippolyte Giradot, Michel Vuillermoz.
Int’l sales: Le Pacte.

“Aloft,” Claudia Llosa (Spain/Canada/France). World premiere.
With Jennifer Connelly, Cillian Murphy, Melanie Laurent.
Int’l sales: Dreamcatchers.

“Die geliebten Schwestern” (Beloved Sisters), Dominik Graf (Germany). World premiere.
With Hannah Herzsprung, Florian Stetter, Henriette Confurius.
Int’l sales: Global Screen.

“Stratos,” Yannis Economides (Greece/Germany/Cyprus). World premiere.
With Vangelis Mourikis, Vicky Papadopoulou, Petros Zervos

“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson (U.K./Germany). World premiere. Opening film.
With Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody.

“The Monuments Men,” George Clooney (Germany/U.S.) International premiere – Out of competition.
With George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett

Berlinale Special
“A Long Way Down,” Pascal Chaumeil (U.K.). World premiere
With Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots.
Int’l sales: HanWay Films.

“Entente Cordiale” (We Come As Friends). Hubert Sauper. (France/Austria). Documentary. European premiere.

“The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden.” Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller (U.S.). Documentary. European premiere.
With the voices of Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger, Thomas Kretschmann, Sebastian Koch, Josh Radnor, Gustaf Skarsgard, Connie Nielsen

“The Turning.” Anthology film. (Australia). International premiere.
Directors: Marieka Walsh, Warwick Thornton, Jub Clerc, Robert Connolly, Anthony Lucas, Rhys Graham, Ashlee Page, Tony Ayres, Claire McCarthy, Stephen Page, Shaun Gladwell, Mia Wasikowska, Simon Stone, David Wenham, Jonathan auf der Heide, Justin Kurzel, Yaron Lifschitz, Ian Meadows
With Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Miranda Otto, Richard Roxburgh, Hugo Weaving

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