Berlin fest looks to west

H'w'd fare programmed alongside global auteurs

LONDON — The main competition at the 54th Berlin Film Festival is expected to feature a strong contingent of North American movies, including Norman Jewison’s “The Statement,” Vadim Perelman’s “The House of Sand and Fog,” Richard Linklater’s untitled sequel to “Before Sunrise,” Patty Jenkins’ “Monster” and Hans Petter Moland’s “Beautiful Country.”

Also tipped for selection are John Boorman’s South African-set drama “Country of My Skull” and Ken Loach’s Scottish movie “Ae Fond Kiss.”

The fest, which runs Feb. 5-15, normally welcomes a heavy lineup of Academy Award contenders from Hollywood.

The earlier date of this year’s Oscar ceremony has meant that fewer such pics are available to fest director Dieter Kosslick, but he has managed nonetheless to ensure that the presence of American and other English-language pics will be as strong as ever.

The competition lineup will also include a diverse selection of established auteurs from other corners of the globe, among them Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”), Alain Resnais (“Pas sur ba Bouche”), Emir Kusturica (“Life Is a Miracle”), Theo Angelopoulos (“Trilogy No. 1: The Weeping Meadow”), Kim Ki-duk (“Samaria”) and Cedric Kahn (“Red Lights”).

Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain” has already been confirmed as the fest’s opening movie. Previously reported selections for the competition include Ron Howard’s “The Missing,” Bjorn Runge’s “Daybreak” from Sweden, Vinko Bresan’s “Witnesses” from Croatia, Annette K. Olesen’s “In Your Hands,” Romuald Kamarkar’s “Nightsongs” and Manuel Gutierrez Aragaon’s “Your Next Life.”

The latest Shane Meadows movie “Dead Man’s Shoes” is expected to crop up in the Forum sidebar.

(Derek Elley in London contributed to this report.)

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