Berlin film fest picks Hanks, Zhang movies for line-up

19th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

The Berlin film festival unveiled its first selections Monday including a 9/11 drama starring Tom Hanks and new pictures from China's Zhang Yimou and Filipino art house star Brillante Mendoza.

The event, running February 9 to 19, will include the hotly awaited "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by British director Stephen Daldry ("The Hours"), screening out of competition.

The movie is based on the 2005 best-selling novel by Jonathan Safran Foer in which a young boy searches New York City after the September 11, 2001, attacks for the lock matching a key left by his dead father.

It features Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow and will screen out of competition.

Zhang ("Hero") will present "The Flowers of War" with British Oscar winner and Batman star Christian Bale as a opportunistic Westerner caught up in Japan's bloody occupation of Nanking during World War II.

The picture, which has already been nominated for a Golden Globe prize in the United States, will also be shown out of competition in Berlin.

Mendoza, a festival favourite who picked up the best director award in Cannes in 2009 for "Kinatay", recruited French screen icon Isabelle Huppert to play an aid worker kidnapped by Islamist extremist group Abu Sayyaf in "Captive".

The Berlinale, as the event is known, which ranks with Cannes and Venice among the top European film festivals, said Spain's Antonio Chavarrias would premiere his thriller "Childish Games".

And "Postcards from the Zoo", billed as an Indonesian-German-Chinese production by a director identified only as Edwin, rounded out the initial list of films featuring in the event's main showcase.

British director Mike Leigh will chair the jury handing out the festival's Golden and Silver Bear top prizes on February 18.

© 2011 AFP

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