Selections for this year's Berlin International Film Festival range from Iran to Argentina and include new movies from U.S. veterans Sidney Lumet and Robert Altman.
This year's Berlinale, the 56th, runs from Feb. 9 to 19. It will offer 29 world premieres. The films are overall "very political, very close to reality ... directed toward people's problems, with less fantasy," festival director Dieter Kosslick said Monday.
Among them is "The Road to Guantanamo" from British director Michael Winterbottom, whose "In This World" won the top Golden Bear award in 2003. The new film tells of British Muslims held at the U.S. detention facility.
The first of the year's major European film festivals, the Berlin event opens with the premiere of Marc Evans' drama "Snow Cake," starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver.
The festival will close with a digitally restored version of Sam Peckinpah's 1973 film, "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid."
Among the movies competing for the Golden Bear is Altman's adaptation of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion," which stars Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and Kevin Kline.
Also making its debut will be Lumet's "Find Me Guilty," a courtroom drama starring Vin Diesel as mobster Giacomo "Fat Jack" DiNorscio, who successfully defended himself in a two-year trial in the mid-1980s.
This year's program includes a strong contingent from host country Germany. Its four entries include Oskar Roehler's "The Elementary Particles," an adaptation of a novel by Michel Houellebecq.
From France comes Claude Chabrol's "L'ivresse du pouvoir" (The Comedy of Power), starring Isabelle Huppert as an uncompromising magistrate who investigates a top executive.