This year's Berlin International Film Festival (Feb 9-20) will pay tribute to actor Robert De Niro with a special screening of The Deer Hunter on Feb 17 and a selection of eleven other films in which he stars including Bloody Mama (1970), Raging Bull (1980) and Ronin (1998).

"We are showing The Deer Hunter as one of the jubilee events since the film plays such an important role in the festival's history," said festival director Moritz de Hadeln.

Controversy marked the participation of The Deer Hunter at the festival in 1979 when the Soviet delegation - with support from other Socialist Block countries and some Third World states - issued a public declaration protesting against the film's screening. The delegation argued that the film contradicted the festival's regulation of "contributing to a better mutual understanding between peoples".

De Niro, who De Hadeln hopes will attend the event, has visited the Berlinale on three occasions in the past: for The Deer Hunter in 1979, for Raging Bull in 1981 and two years ago for Wag The Dog, Great Expectations and Jackie Brown.