The Berlin Film Festival announced the first five pics that will play in its Competition section on Monday, including Stephen Daldry’s post-9/11 drama “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” and Zhang Yimou’s “The Flowers of War.”
While the main program is called the Competition, the Daldry and Zhang pics will actually unspool out of competition at the Berlinale, which runs Feb. 9-19.
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn, follows a troubled boy as he struggles to accept the death of his father.
Christian Bale stars in “The Flowers of War,” about an opportunistic American in China who tries to save a group of adolescent girl students as well as a number of courtesans from invading Japanese troops during the 1937-38 Nanjing massacre. The pic is China’s submission in the Oscar foreign-language film race.
Screening in competition are Filipino helmer Brillante Mendoza’s terrorist drama “Captive,” starring Isabelle Huppert; Spaniard Antonio Chavarrias’ “Dictado” (Childish Games); and Indonesian helmer Edwin’s “Kebun binatang” (Postcards From the Zoo), all world premieres.
Organizers also announced five films in the Berlinale Special, including the world premiere of “Marley,” the documentary about reggae star Bob Marley by Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”); and “Death Row,” Werner Herzog’s four-part documentary series.
Also showing as part of Berlinale Special are Farhan Akhtar’s Bollywood actioner “Don: The King Is Back,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, which was shot largely in Germany; Guy Maddin’s “Keyhole,” with Jason Patric and Isabella Rossellini; and Salma Hayek starrer “La Chispa de la vida,” by Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia (“The Oxford Murders”).
Meanwhile, the fest has recruited a slew of high-profile personalities for the international jury, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Anton Corbijn (“The American”) and Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, who wrote and directed last year’s Golden Bear winner, “A Separation.”
Also on jury duty will be German thesp Barbara Sukowa (“Vision”), French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia”), Gallic helmer Francois Ozon (“Potiche”) and Algerian writer Boualem Sansal.
As previously announced, British helmer Mike Leigh is jury president.
The international jury will select the winners of the Golden Bear and Silver Bear awards as well as the Alfred Bauer Prize in Competition.