The 2007 Berlinale has announced the first six films selected for this year's competition.

They include Christian Petzold's Yella from Germany, marking the director's return to Berlin competition after Ghosts (Gespenster) in 2005. The new film, a world premiere, follows a young woman who tries to escape a bad marriage and her old life in a former East German province.

Other world premieres in competition will be Belgian director Sam Garbarski's second feature Irina Palm, which stars Marianne Faithfull as a desperate widow who starts working in a sex club. The film is a Belgium-German-UK co-production.

Also, Berlin will host the world premiere of Bille August's Goodbye Bafana starring Joseph Fiennes, Dennis Haysbert and Diane Kruger in the story of a white prison guard who befriends Nelson Mandela.

US selections in competition will include Robert De Niro's CIA story The Good Shepherd starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie; as well as Steven Soderbergh's postwar Berlin conspiracy story The Good German starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. Both are international premieres.

Also making its international premiere will be South Korean director Park Chan-wook's I Am A Cyborg But That's Ok starring Korean pop star Rain and Lim Soo-jung. The story follows a young psychiatric patient who thinks she's a cyborg but is able to fall in love.

'We are delighted to be able to present a number of new works by renowned directors and interesting young filmmakers again,' Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick said. 'Many of the productions selected for this year's competition link modern historical processes to personal, intimate and extremely emotional stories.'

Festival organisers said the rest of the competition titles would be announced in mid-January. Kosslick previously told that the rise in competition entries to more than 100 films had put a strain on programmers. The festival runs Feb 8-18.