Screen writers profile the world premieres in Berlinale 2012 competition, including Christian Petzold’s Barbara [pictured].

In Competition

A Royal Affair (Den-Czech Rep-Ger-Swe)
Zentropa’s epic historical drama is based on the true story of Johann Struensee, a German adviser to the schizophrenic King Kristian VII, who had an affair with the queen, fathering her child and becoming the de facto ruler of the kingdom. Directed by Danish film-maker Nikolaj Arcel, who wrote the script for Niels Arden Oplev’s film of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and won the prestigious Nordic Council Film Award in 2011, the two leads are played by Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander. TrustNordisk secured a slew of pre sales in Cannes last year, including to Magnolia in the US.
Contact TrustNordisk

Barbara (Ger)
Set in East Germany in 1978, Barbara tells the story of a doctor who is transferred to a small hospital in a provincial backwater for disciplinary reasons after she applies for an exit visa. Her state of limbo is interrupted when she meets another young doctor — but has he fallen in love with her or has he been put on to her by the Stasi? Starring Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld and Rainer Bock, Barbara is the latest film from acclaimed film-maker Christian Petzold, whose credits include Yella and Jerichow.
Contact The Match Factory

Caesar Must Die (Cesare Deve Morire) (It)
The new film from veterans Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Caesar Must Die is set in Rome’s Rebibbia prison and follows a production of Julius Caesar. The film was produced by Kaos Cinematografica, Stemal Entertainment, La Talee, La Ribalta and Rai Cinema, and will be released by Sacher Distribuzione in Italy in March.
Contact Rai Trade

Captive (Fr-Ger-Switz-Phil)
Filipino director Brillante Mendoza was in Berlin’s Forum in 2008 with Slingshot and he moves into competition this year with Captive, starring Isabelle Huppert, Katherine Mulville and Marc Zanetta. Produced by Swift Productions, the film tells the story of NGO volunteers in the Philippines who are kidnapped by an extremist Islamic group.
Contact Films Distribution

Childish Games (Dictado) (Sp)
This thriller from Spain’s Antonio Chavarrias is about a man who agrees to take in the daughter of a childhood friend who has just committed suicide. But the girl begins to bring back haunting memories the man thought he had buried. Starring Juan Diego Botto, Barbara Lennie and newcomer Magica Perez, the film is produced by Oberon Cinematografica, which produced the 2009 Golden Bear winner The Milk Of Sorrow. Filmax is selling and will release in Spain on March 9.
Contact Filmax International

Coming Home (A Moi Seule) (Fr)
From French writer-director Frédéric Videau, Coming Home tells the story of a woman released by a kidnapper after eight years in captivity. Just as she had to earn her freedom from her captor, she has to do so again, facing her parents and a world she is only just discovering. With a cast including Agathe Bonitzer and Reda Kateb, Coming Home was produced by Les Films Hatari with Studio Orlando.
Contact Pyramide International

Farewell My Queen (Les Adieux A La Reine) (Fr-Sp) [opening film]
Starring Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette alongside Léa Seydoux and Virginie Ledoyen, Farewell My Queen is a drama portraying the first days of the French Revolution from the perspective of servants at Versailles. Based on Chantal Thomas’ prize-winning novel of the same name and produced by GMT Productions with Spanish co-producer Morena Films, the film is directed by Benoit Jacquot (Tosca, Villa Amalia, Deep In The Woods).
Contact Elle Driver

Home For The Weekend (Was Bleibt) (Ger)
German director Hans-Christian Schmid’s latest film is a family drama scripted by Bernd Lange and features a star German cast that includes Lars Eidinger, Corinna Harfouch and Ernst Stötzner. Schmid has appeared three times in Berlin with Distant Lights, Requiem and Storm. This family drama is about a mother’s decision to stop taking her medication for a long-term mental illness.
Contact Match Factory

Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Russ-US)
Billy Bob Thornton directs and stars in this drama about two families clashing in Alabama in 1969. The cast also includes Robert Duvall, John Hurt and Kevin Bacon. The film is produced by Alexander Rodnyansky and Geyer Kosinski (see interview, p14).
Contact Hyde Park International

Just The Wind (Csak A Szel) (Hung-Ger-Fr)
The latest from Hungarian director Bence Fliegauf (whose credits include Womb and Dealer, which won the audience award in the Berlinale Forum in 2004), Just The Wind is a drama inspired by real events that revolves around a gypsy family in Hungary who are targeted by racists. Andras Muhi and Monika Mecs produced for Inforg-M&M Film alongside co-producers The Post Republic Halle and Paprika Films. The film stars Lajos Sarkany, Katalin Toldi, Gyongyi Lendvai and Gyorgy Toldi.
Contact The Match Factory

Mercy (Gnade) (Ger-Nor)
Matthias Glasner, whose The Free Will screened in Berlin in 2006, returns to the festival with Mercy, a film exploring the role guilt plays in happiness. Starring Birgit Minichmayr and Jürgen Vogel, the film follows a German family who want to make a new start in one of the northernmost cities in the world, Hammerfest in Norway. But a terrible accident calls everything into question. Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson, the film is a Germany-Norway co-production between Schwarzweiss Filmproduktion, Knudsen & Streuber Medienmanufaktur, Ophir Film and Neofilm.
Contact Beta Cinema

Meteora (Ger-Gr)
Greek-Colombian director Spiros Stathoulopoulos’ second feature is set in the 12th century monasteries of Meteora in Greece, and stars Theo Alexander (True Blood) as a young Greek Orthodox monk who has an illicit relationship with a visiting Russian Orthodox nun (Tamila Koulieva). Stathoulopoulos made a name for himself with his cult debut feature PVC-1, about a woman who is turned into a human time-bomb in a bizarre act of terrorism, which screened in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2007 and won several awards at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival.
Contact The Coproduction Office

Postcards From The Zoo (Kebun Binatang) (Indo-Ger-HK-Chi)
From Indonesian director Edwin (whose debut Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly premiered at Busan in 2008), Postcards From The Zoo tells the story of Lana, a girl who grows up at a zoo in Jakarta, and falls in love with a magician. Starring Ladya Cheryl and Nicholas Saputra, the film is produced by Babibutafilm and co-produced by Lorna Tee and Pallas Film.
Contact The Match Factory

Sister (L’Enfant D’En Haut) (Switz-Fr)
Ursula Meier’s follow up to her acclaimed 2008 debut feature Home is the story of a 12-year-old boy (Kacey Mottet Klein) who lives with his jobless sister (Léa Seydoux) near a luxury ski resort, stealing equipment from tourists to resell to local kids. Gillian Anderson and Martin Compston also star.
Contact Memento Films International

Tabu (Port-Ger-Bra-Fr)
Portuguese director Miguel Gomes’ feature centres around a temperamental old woman, her maid and a neighbour devoted to social causes who live in a Lisbon apartment building. Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira and Carloto Cotta star. Tabu is Gomes’ first feature to screen in Berlin. His last film, Our Beloved Month Of August, screened in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes in 2008.
Contact The Match Factory

Tey (Aujourd’Hui) (Fr-Sen)
Shot in Senegal, Tey follows the last day in the life of a man who knows he is going to die. Starring Saul
Williams alongside Aissa Maiga and Djolof Mbengue, Tey is the third
feature from French-Senegalese director Alain Gomis after 2001 debut L’Afrance — which won a Silver Leopard at Locarno in 2001 — and 2008’s Andalucia. The film was produced by Maia Cinema, Granit Films, Agora Films and Cinekap in Senegal.
Contact Wide Management

War Witch (Rebelle) (Can)
Congolese actress Rachel Mwanza stars alongside Alain Bastien and Serge Kanyinda in this drama about a 14-year-old girl forced to become
a child soldier in sub-Saharan Africa. The writer/director is Quebec film-maker Kim Nguyen, who is the first Canadian director to have a film in competition at Berlin since Léa Pool with Set Me Free in 1999. Nguyen’s Truffe won the Fresh Generation prize at Karlovy Vary in 2008, while his last feature was La Cite, starring Jean Marc Barr as a doctor returning from war in Africa.
Contact Films Distribution

White Deer Plain (Bai Lu Yuan) (Chi)
Wang Quan’an returns to the Berlinale competition with an epic set towards the end of imperial China in which a young woman is caught up in a fierce struggle for land ownership between two rival families. Red Cliff actor Zhang Fengyi stars alongside Zhang Yuqi and Wu Gang. The drama is an adaptation of the historical novel of the same name by Chen Zhongshi. Director Wang won the Golden Bear in 2007 for Tuya’s Marriage and a Silver Bear in 2010 for Apart Together.
Contact Peter Donner

Out of competition

Bel Ami (UK)
With a cast including Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci, Bel Ami is the erotically charged story of Georges Duroy, who uses his powers of seduction to rise from poverty in 1890s Paris. Based on Guy de Maupassant’s novel of the same name, the film is directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. Uberto Pasolini (The Full Monty) produced, with Simon Fuller as executive producer. StudioCanal releases in the UK in March.
Contact Protagonist Pictures