Berlinale unveils list of films competing for top honours

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Films from China, Europe, Japan and the US have joined the race for the film festival's top awards.

10 January 2008

Berlin (dpa) - Films from China, Europe, Japan and the US have joined the race for the top awards at this year's Berlin Film Festival, Berlinale officials announced Wednesday.

The lineup of films includes Hong Kong-born director Johnny To's "Sparrow" and "Happy Go Lucky" from Britain's Mike Leigh as well as "Caos calmo" (Quiet Chaos) from Italian director Antonello Grimaldi.

Based on a novel by Italian writer Sandro Veronesi, "Caos calmo" tells the story of an Italian executive suffering bereavement.

The list of films competing for the Berlinale's prestigious Golden Bear also includes Florence-born Luigi Falorni's Feuerherz ("Heart of Fire"), which is a joint German-Italian-Austrian production and is based on the best-selling biography by Senait Mehari.

Jerusalem-born Amos Kollek's latest movie "Restless" has also been selected. Kollek's previous films include "Fast Food Fast Women," "Queenie in Love" and "Sue."

The Berlinale officials have also selected two films – "Julia" from Erick Zonca, a thriller about a woman trying to extort money and "Lady Jane" from Marseille-born Robert Guediguian -- to represent France in the film festival's main competition.

Also representing the US at next month's Berlinale is "Elegy" based on Philip Roth's "The Dying Animal" from Barcelona-born Isabel Coixet.

"Elegy" stars Penelope Cruz, Ben Kingsley and Dennis Hopper and is about a cultural critic who finds his life thrown off course by a young woman student.

Japanese director Yoji Yamada's "Kabei" (Kabei - Our Mother), starring Sayuri Yoshinaga, Mitsugoro Bando, Tadanobu Asano is also in the running for a Gold Bear in Berlin.

The list of nine films announced Wednesday for the Berlinale's main competition adds to the eight movies unveiled by the Berlinale last month.

More than 20 movies normally compete for the major prizes at the Berlinale, which is one of the world's top three film festivals. Organizers are expected to announce another batch of films in the coming weeks.

The movies announced last month also included films from Belgium, Germany, Austria, Poland, Israel, Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

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