|Film buffs line up in front of a ticket counter of the International Film Festival Berlin, Berlinale, at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Germany, Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)|
BERLIN (AFP) ― Steven Soderbergh’s “last” movie, a battle of French screen icons and daring looks at homosexuality in the Catholic Church will vie for gold at the Berlin film festival starting Thursday.
The 63rd Berlinale will open with martial arts epic “The Grandmaster” by Chinese arthouse favourite Wong Kar Wai (“In the Mood for Love”), who will also lead the jury handing out the Golden Bear top prize on Feb. 16.
Nineteen productions including big-budget Hollywood movies, new work by European veterans and a clutch of debut features will compete for the top awards, among a total of more than 400 films at the 11-day event.
Star gazers can expect Matt Damon, Jude Law, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Geoffrey Rush, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert and Jeremy Irons on Berlin’s snow-dusted red carpet.
Damon teams up with U.S. director Gus Van Sant for the first time since their 1997 Oscar winner “Good Will Hunting” in “Promised Land,” about families pressured to sell their property to fracking companies.
Soderbergh, who has said he is heading into semi-retirement, reunites with Law from “Contagion” and Catherine Zeta-Jones from “Traffic” to present “Side Effects” about pharmaceuticals firms preying on stressed-out Americans.
And France’s top divas will go head-to-head in three Golden Bear contenders.
Deneuve stars in the French road movie “On My Way” about a down-on-her-luck restaurant owner looking for a fresh start. The film is by Emmanuelle Bercot, one of three female directors in competition.
Binoche leads the cast of “Camille Claudel 1915,” about an artist forced into an asylum by her family.