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River Phoenix’s last pic joins Berlin lineup

Pix by August, Linklater, Gordon Green added to main section

BERLIN — New works by Bille August, Richard Linklater, David Gordon Green and the last film starring River Phoenix are among the final selections of the Berlin Film Festival’s main Competition lineup.

A total of 24 films will screen in the official program, 19 of which will vie for the Golden and Silver Bears.

Screening out of competition, August’s “Night Train to Lisbon,” a German-Swiss-Portuguese co-production starring Jeremy Irons, Melanie Laurent and Christopher Lee, follows a Swiss professor who abandons his work to embark on a quest to Portugal.

In Green’s “Prince Avalanche,” Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd are two road workers who spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives, while Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” which also unspools out of competition, reunites Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for a third rendezvous — this time in Greece — as the one-time lovers introduced in 1995’s “Before Sunrise.”

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Likewise playing out of competition is George Sluizer’s newly finished “Dark Blood,” starring Phoenix, who died in 1993, Judy Davis and Jonathan Pryce.

“Young talents and established film artists will present films in which reality and fiction are bafflingly similar,” said Berlinale topper Dieter Kosslick. “Worldwide independent cinema is undergoing a resurgence. Fast and turbulent: life is hard and unfair — yet still a lot of fun.”

Additional screeners include Boris Khlebnikov’s Russian drama “A Long and Happy Life,” Kazakhstani helmer Emir Baigazin’s feature debut “Harmony Lessons”; Denis Cote’s Canadian title “Vic+Flo Saw a Bear”; and Malgoska Szumowska’s “In the Name of.”

This year’s fest kicks off on Feb. 7 with Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster,” with the closing awards ceremony taking place Feb. 16

In related news, Canon has become the new principle partner of the Berlin Talent Campus educational program.

The agreement includes planned events with renowned cinematographers, a three-part workshop series entitled “Change Your Lens, Change Your Story” and the Post-Production Studio of the Berlinale Talent Campus.

In addition, Canon will provide the Campus with technical equipment to produce promotional reels, the Campus trailers, and, for the first time, portraits of all Campus participants.

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