A new movie from Billy Bob Thornton and a turn as Marie Antoinette by Diane Kruger will rub shoulders with offerings from Asia to Africa at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.
Organizers on Tuesday presented the program for the event, the first of the year’s major European film festivals, which runs Feb. 9-19.
Outside the main competition, highlights include Meryl Streep being honored for her lifetime achievement; Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, the Bosnian war movie "In the Land of Blood and Honey"; and documentaries and discussions on the Arab world in the wake of the past year’s upheaval.
"There are a lot of films in this festival about changes happening in the world," festival director Dieter Kosslick said.
The competition for the festival’s top Golden Bear award opens with French director Benoit Jacquot’s "Farewell My Queen," a drama centering on the drama inside the queen’s palace as the French Revolution broke out, and starring Kruger as Marie Antoinette.
Thornton both directs and stars in "Jayne Mansfield’s Car," a 1960s drama that also features John Hurt, Robert Duvall and Kevin Bacon.
Other entries range from Indonesian director Edwin’s "Postcards From The Zoo," the story of a girl raised by a giraffe keeper, to "Caesar Must Die," from Italian brothers Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, following an effort to stage a Shakespeare play at a Rome prison.
Last year’s Golden Bear went to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s "A Separation," which also swept the festival’s acting awards and has been nominated for an Oscar in the foreign-language category this year.
Farhadi is a member of the eight-member jury that will choose this year’s winners. Led by British director Mike Leigh, it also includes actor Jake Gyllenhaal; photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn; French director François Ozon; and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.
• "Barbara," Christian Petzold, Germany.
• "Bel Ami," Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod and starring Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci. Britain (out of competition)
• "Caesar Must Die" (Cesare deve morire), Paolo and Vittorio Taviani. Italy.
• "Captive," Brillante Mendoza and starring Isabelle Huppert. France/Philippines/Germany/Britain.
• "Childish Games" (Dictado), Antonio Chavarrias. Spain.
• "Coming Home" (A moi seule), Frederic Videau. France.
• "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Stephen Daldry and starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. United States (out of competition)
• "Farewell My Queen" (Les adieux a la Reine), Benoit Jacquot, starring Diane Kruger, France/Spain. (Opening film)
• "The Flowers of War" (Jin ling Shi San Chai), Zhang Yimou and starring Christian Bale, China. (out of competition)
• "Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate," Hark Tsui. Hong Kong/China (out of competition).
• "Home For The Weekend," Hans-Christian Schmid. Germany.
• "Jayne Mansfield’s Car," Billy Bob Thornton and starring Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt and Kevin Bacon. Russia/United States.
• "Just the Wind" (Csak a szel), Bence Fliegauf. Hungary/Germany/France.
• "Mercy" (Gnade), Matthias Glasner. Germany/Norway.
• "Meteora," Spiros Stathoulopoulos. Germany/Greece.
• "Postcards from the Zoo" (Kebun binatang), Edwin. Indonesia/Germany/Hong Kong/China.
• "A Royal Affair" (En Kongelig Affaere), Nikolaj Arcel. Denmark/Czech Republic/Germany/Sweden.
• "Shadow Dancer," James Marsh and starring Clive Owen. Britain/Ireland. (out of competition)
• "Sister" (L’enfant d’en haut), Ursula Meier. Switzerland/France.
• "Tabu," Miguel Gomes. Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France.
• "Tey" (Aujourd’hui), Alain Gomis. France/Senegal.
• "War Witch" (Rebelle), Kim Nguyen. Canada.
• "White Deer Plain" (Bai lu yuan), Wang Quan’an. China.