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All-star jury lined up for Berlin Film Festival

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All-star jury lined up for Berlin Film Festival
Photo: Warner Bros
17:00 CET+01:00
The Berlin International Film Festival unveiled its first selections on Monday, including a 9/11 drama with Tom Hanks, and announced an all-star jury to help director Mike Leigh pick Berlinale winners.

The 62nd annual event, running February 9 to 19, will include the hotly awaited "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by British director Stephen Daldry ("The Hours").

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.

China's Zhang Yimou ("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.

Filipino art house star Brillante 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 his Berlin competition entry "Captive".

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

"Postcards from the Zoo", billed as an Indonesian-German-Chinese production by a director known simply as “Edwin”, rounds out the preliminary list of contenders for the festival's Golden and Silver Bear top prizes.

British director Mike Leigh will chair the jury, which organisers said Monday would also include Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Franco-British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dutch photographer and film-maker Anton Corbij, French director Francois Ozon, Algerian writer Boualem Sansal and German actress Barbara Sukowa.

Rounding out the list is Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who took home the Golden Bear and swept the acting prizes this year for his wrenching drama "Nader and Simin: A Separation".

In the Berlinale Special sidebar section, British Oscar winner Kevin Macdonald will unveil his hotly anticipated documentary on the life of the late reggae superstar Bob Marley.

"Death Row", a four-part documentary series by German director Werner Herzog ("Cave of Forgotten Dreams"), will also premiere. Bollywood hero Shah Rukh Khan is also expected in town for a screening of the German-Indian co-production "Don - The King is Back".

Canadian surrealist Guy Maddin ("Brand Upon the Brain") will show "Keyhole", which the New York Times has dubbed "a gangster ghost drama" starring Jason Patric and Isabella Rossellini.

Finally, Mexican-born siren Salma Hayek will appear in a Spanish comedy, "La chispa de la vida", or The spark of life.

AFP/jcw

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