BERLIN — Movies by Iranian and Peruvian directors will compete for the Berlin film festival's top prize this year alongside new offerings starring Renee Zellweger, Tommy Lee Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench and others.
The Berlin event, the first of the year's major European film festivals, runs Thursday to Feb. 15. Eighteen films will compete for the main Golden Bear prize, while eight more will show out of competition, including the Oscar-nominated Holocaust-themed drama "The Reader," starring Kate Winslet.
Festival director Dieter Kosslick said that the global economic crisis has given new relevance to films such as Tom Tykwer's "The International," starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, which opens the festival and traces financial transactions that fuel war and terrorism. "Many films suddenly reflect reality better than anything else," Kosslick said. "Reality has caught up with fiction this year."
The latest movie by Stephen Frears, the British director of "The Queen," is set to make its debut. "Cheri," a romantic drama set in 1920s France, stars Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates. France's Bertrand Tavernier is bringing a U.S.-set drama, "In the Electric Mist," starring Jones.
Dench stars alongside Jude Law and Steve Buscemi in Sally Potter's "Rage." Zellweger plays a 1950s divorcee in Richard Loncraine's "My One and Only."