Some of the titans of European film-making are presenting films in competition at the Berlinale this year. The UK's Sally Potter, Stephen Frears and Richard Loncraine, France's Bertrand Tavernier, and from Poland, Andrzej Wajda.

They are joined by the latest title from China's Chen Kaige, as well as films from some of the most exciting new film-making talents working today including Lukas Moodysson, Annette K Olesen, Francois Ozon, Rachid Bouchareb and Hans-Christian Schmid.

Latin America is well represented in the competition by Peruvian director Claudia Llosa and the Uruguay-based Adrian Biniez, while much-anticipated new films from Theo Angelopoulos, Costa-Gavras and Rebecca Miller are screening out of competition.


About Elly (Iran)

Dir: Asghar Farhadi

The story: Several families travel to northern Iran for a holiday.

The cast: Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, who appeared in Ridley Scott's 2008 film Body Of Lies, stars with Farhadi's regular collaborator Taraneh Alidousti.

The buzz: Iranian writer-director Farhadi's fourth feature following Fireworks Wednesday (winner of the Golden Hugo award at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2006), A Beautiful City (best Asian film at the India Film Festival in 2004) and his debut Dancing In The Dust (2003). It is his first time in competition at Berlin.

Int'l sales: Dream Lab Films, (33) 39 38 75 61

All The Others (Ger)

Dir: Maren Ade

The story: A thirtysomething couple on holiday in Sardinia have their relationship put to the test when they meet another couple who seem to be everything they are not.

The cast: Austrian actress Birgit Minichmayr, who can also be seen in Wolfgang Murnberger's The Bone Man (Der Knochenmann) in the Panorama, stars with German stage actor Lars Eidinger.

The buzz: Ade's second feature - and her first to screen at the Berlinale - comes five years after her impressive 2003 debut The Forest For The Trees, which won a special jury award at Sundance in 2005 and several other international prizes.

Int'l sales: Bavaria Film International, (49) 89 64 99 26 86

Forever Enthralled (Ch)

Dir: Chen Kaige

The story: The biography of legendary male Peking Opera singer Mei Lanfang, who was renowned for playing female roles.

The cast: Acclaimed Beijing-born actor Leon Lai (Three) stars with Zhang Ziyi who plays his love interest.

The buzz: Forever Enthralled is the second film from acclaimed director Chen Kaige to be set in the world of Peking Opera, following 1992's Oscar-nominated and Cannes Palme d'Or winner Farewell My Concubine. A collaboration between China's China Film Group, Hong Kong's Emperor Motion Pictures and Taiwan's CMC Entertainment, the film marks the director's first Berlin entry after many years in competition in Cannes.

Int'l sales: CMC Entertainment, (886) 2 2567 0909

Gigante (Ur-Ger-Arg)

Dir: Adrian Biniez

The story: A lonely security guard who works at a supermarket on the outskirts of Montevideo, develops an unhealthy fixation with a woman he sees on one of the cameras.

The cast: The film's two main stars, Horacio Camandule and Leonor Svarcas, appeared in Biniez's 2008 short Total Disponibilidad.

The buzz: Gigante is the first film by the Argentina-born, Uruguay-based Biniez. It is a co-production between Uruguay's Control Z and Argentina's Rizoma Films, the team behind international hits including 25 Watts, Whisky, La Perrera, Acne and El Custodio.

Int'l sales: The Match Factory, (49) 221 539 7090

Happy Tears (US)

Dir: Mitchell Lichtenstein

The story: Family drama about two sisters who return home to tend their ailing father, who they suspect might not be as sick as he first appeared. Tensions flare and old family dynamics rise to the fore.

The cast: Demi Moore and Parker Posey star as the sisters, with Rip Torn as their father and Ellen Barkin as his new girlfriend.

The buzz: Happy Tears is the second film from actor-turned-director Lichtenstein following the critically acclaimed comedy horror Teeth, which screened at Sundance and the Berlin Panorama in 2007.

Int'l sales: Cinetic Media, (1) 212 204 7979

In The Electric Mist (Fr-US)

Dir: Bertrand Tavernier

The story: While tracking a serial killer, a Louisiana detective stumbles on an old case with possible links to the new one. As the trail grows warmer, the murderer sets his sights on the detective's family.

The cast: Tommy Lee Jones stars as the detective alongside John Goodman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ned Beatty and Kelly Macdonald.

The buzz: This is Tavernier's first film in competition at Berlin since 2002's Laissez-Passer. His record at the festival also includes wins for 1999's It All Starts Today and 1995's L'Appat. In The Electric Mist marks Tavernier's first English-language production since 1990's These Foolish Things. Ithaca Pictures, which worked on Jones' Cannes winner The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, is producing with Tavernier's Little Bear.

Int'l sales: TF1 International, (33) 1 41 41 12 34

Katalin Varga (Rom-UK-Hun)

Dir: Peter Strickland

The story: A woman sets out to find her son's real father, travelling through the Carpathian Mountains to re-open a sinister chapter from her past.

The cast: Award-winning Romanian stage actress Hilda Peter makes her film debut.

The buzz: This low-budget title has the verite look of recent Romanian titles The Death Of Mr Lazarescu and 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days which have done well at Cannes but have yet to make their mark at Berlin. Strickland's short film Bubblegum screened in the Panorama back in 1997.

Int'l sales: Memento Films International, (33) 153 349 020

Little Soldier (Den)

Dir: Annette K Olesen

The story: When a woman is employed as a chauffeur in her father's escort business, she befriends a girl from Nigeria and discovers a hidden sordid world of human trafficking.

The cast: Award-winning Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, who also appeared in Olesen's 2004 film In Your Hands, stars with UK TV actress Lorna Brown, who is making her feature debut.

The buzz: Olesen is a Berlin regular and this is her third film to screen in competition following Minor Mishaps in 2002 and In Your Hands in 2004. The Copenhagen-set drama 1:1 was showcased in the Panorama in 2006.

Int'l sales: TrustNordisk, (45) 3686 8788

London River (Alg-Fr-UK)

Dir: Rachid Bouchareb

The story: The film centres on the relationship between a Muslim man and a Christian woman, who are parents of victims of the 2005 London bombings.

The cast: Oscar-winner Brenda Blethyn stars with previous Bouchareb collaborators Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila who shared an ensemble acting Palme d'Or with their Days Of Glory co-stars in 2006.

The buzz: Bouchareb's latest film incorporates some of his Days Of Glory cast members alongside UK actors in his first attempt at blending French and English dialogue. A successful producer (Flanders), Bouchareb has been at Berlin twice before as director, with Little Senegal in 2001 and the 2004 short Le Vilain Petit Poussin.

Int'l sales: Elle Driver, (33) 1 56 43 48 75

Mammoth (Swe-Den)

Dir: Lukas Moodysson

The story: A successful New York couple are thrown into turmoil when the husband decides to change his life while on a business trip in Thailand.

The cast: Gael Garcia Bernal and Michelle Williams star as the husband and wife, together with Sophie Nyweide and Tom McCarthy.

The buzz: Described as a 'young master' by Ingmar Bergman following his debut feature Show Me Love in 1998, Moodysson has emerged as one of the most exciting international film-makers working today. This is his second time in competition at Berlin following Show Me Love. Mammoth is his English-language debut, made for a budget of $12m and produced by Lars Jonsson's Memfis together with the Swedish Film Institute and regional film fund Film i Vast.

Int'l sales: Trustnordisk, (45) 36 86 87 88

The Messenger (US)

Dir: Oren Moverman

The story: Two servicemen bond as they carry out the grim task of informing families when their loved ones have been killed on duty.

The cast: Rising US star Ben Foster (X Men: The Last Stand and Get Over It) appears alongside Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton and Jena Malone.

The buzz: This is the directorial debut of Israel-born Moverman, whose work as a screenwriter includes the 2007 film Married Life and Todd Haynes' Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There. The Messenger had its world premiere at Sundance earlier this month.

Int'l sales: ContentFilm International, (1) 310 576 1059

The Milk Of Sorrow (Sp-Peru)

Dir: Claudia Llosa

The story: Influenced by Peruvian legend, The Milk Of Sorrow is about the impact of a strange illness transmitted to children via milk they are fed by mothers who have been raped or mistreated during their pregnancy or nursing period.

The cast: Magaly Solier, who also took the lead role in Llosa's first film, Madeinusa, stars alongside Spanish actress Susi Sanchez and Efrain Solis.

The buzz: This is the first time at Berlin for the Peru-born, Spain-based Llosa. Madeinusa was the Peruvian submission for the foreign-language Oscar in 2007 and impressed critics on the festival circuit.

Int'l sales: The Match Factory, (49) 221 539 7090


Main programme

A North Chinese Girl (Ch)

Dir: Zou Peng

Int'l sales: L'Est Films Group, (86) 139 111 77983

Blue Beard (Fr)

Dir: Catherine Breillat

Int'l sales: Pyramide International, (33) 1 42960220

Cheri (UK-Ger)

Dir: Stephen Frears

The story: Based on the novel by Colette, Cheri is a drama set in 1920s Paris in which a man retreats into a fantasy world after being forced to end his relationship with an older woman.

The cast: Michelle Pfeiffer stars with UK actor of the moment Rupert Friend. Kathy Bates and Felicity Jones co-star.

The buzz: This is Frears' third Berlin competition film following Mary Reilly in 1996 and The Hi-Lo Country in 1998, for which Frears won best director. Adapted by Christopher Hampton, Cheri is a co-production with Germany's MMC Independent, and is produced by Bill Kenwright, Tracey Seaward and Andras Hamori. Frears' last film, The Queen, grossed $108.9m worldwide.

Int'l sales: Pathe International, (44) 20 7462 4427

Fig Trees (Can)

Dir: John Greyson

Int'l sales: Greyzone, (1) 641 2720386

The Fish Child (Arg-Fr-Sp)

Dir: Lucia Puenzo

The story: Two lovers - Lala, a teenager who lives in an upper-class neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, and Guayi, a 17-year-old maid who works in her house - commit a crime and flee to Paraguay.

The cast: Lala is played by Ines Efron, who was the lead in Puenzo's first film, XXY, and starred in Lucrecia Martel's 2008 film The Headless Woman. Arnaldo Andre, a veteran of popular South American soaps, also stars.

The buzz: Based on her own 20deg4 novel, this is the second film by the director of the 2007 Cannes Critics' Week winner XXY. Co-produced by Puenzo's company Historias Cinematograficas and Spain's Wanda Vision.

Contact: Historias Cinematograficas, (54) 11 4777 7784,

Fucking Different Tel Aviv (Ger-Is)

Dirs: Yair Hochner, Avital Barak, Stephanie Abramovic, Elad Zakai, Eran Koblik Kedar, Ricardo Rojstaczer, Nir Ne'Eman, Hila Ben Baruch, Yossi Brauman, Sivan Levy, Eyal Bromberg, Anat Salomon, Sie Gal, November Wanderin, Yasmin Max

Int'l sales: Kristian Petersen Filmproduktion, (49) 174 6306536

Ghosted (Ger-Tai)

Dir: Monika Treut

Int'l sales: M-Appeal, (49) 30 61507505

High Life (Can)

Dir: Gary Yates

Int'l sales: Shoreline Entertainment, (1) 310 551 2060

Human Zoo (Fr)

Dir: Rie Rasmussen

Int'l sales: Europa Corp, (33) 1 53830303

Light Gradient (Ger)

Dir: Jan Kruger

Int'l sales: Salzgeber & Co Medien, (49) 30 28529090

Raging Sun, Raging Sky (Mex)

Dir: Julian Hernandez

Int'l sales: Imcine, (52) 55 54485339

The Rainbow Troops (Indo)

Dir: Riri Riza

Int'l sales: Miles Films, (62) 21 750 0503

Retribution (Bra)

Dir: Paulo Pons

Int'l sales: Pax Filmes, (55) 21 229 45258

Russia 88 (Rus)

Dir: Pavel Bardin

Int'l sales: Plan 2 Play LLC, (7) 499 147 5939

Sleeping Songs (Ger)

Dir: Andreas Struck

Int'l sales: Arri Media Worldsales, (49) 89 3809 1288

Strella (Gr)

Dir: Panos H Koutras

Int'l sales: Film Distribution, (33) 1 53103399

Skirt Day (Fr-Bel)

Dir: Jean-Paul Lilienfeld

Int'l sales: Rezo Films, (33) 1 42464630

White Lightnin' (UK-US-Cro)

Dir: Dominic Murphy

Int'l sales: The Salt Company, (44) 207 535 6714

Yang Yang (Tai)

Dir: Cheng Yu-chieh

Int'l sales: Khan Entertainment, (886) 2 2366 0202


Absolute Evil (US-Ger)

Dir: Ulli Lommel

Int'l sales: Nicky Lombard Productions, (1) 310 228 0829

All Around Us (Jap)

Dir: Ryosuke Hashiguchi

Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 49708320

Ander (Sp)

Dir: Roberto Caston

Int'l sales: Berdindu, (34) 944239704

The Bone Man (Austria)

Dir: Wolfgang Murnberger

Int'l sales: Atrix Films, (49) 89 64282611

Claustrophobia (HK-Ch)

Dir: Ivy Ho

Int'l sales: Edko Films, (852) 25293898

The Countess (Ger-Fr)

Dir: Julie Delpy

Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 49708320

The Fish Child (Arg-Sp-Fr)

Dir: Lucia Puenzo

Int'l sales: MK2, (33) 1 43413230

End Of Love (HK-Chi)

Dir: Simon Chung

Int'l sales: M-Appeal, (49) 30 61507505

An Englishman In New York (UK-US)

Dir: Richard Laxton

Int'l sales: Leopardrama, (44) 0791 7542263

Just Walking (Sp-Mex)

Dir: Agustin Diaz Yanes

Int'l sales: Filmax International, (34) 93 336 8555

Kill Daddy Good Night (Ger-Austria-Fr)

Dir: Michael Glawogger

Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 497 08320

North (Nor)

Dir: Rune Denstad Langlo

Int'l sales: Memento Films International, (33) 1 53349028

Pedro (US)

Dir: Nick Oceano

Int'l sales: Bumin/Murray Productions, (1) 818 7565103

Short Cut To Hollywood (Ger-Austria-US)

Dir: Marcus Mittermeier, Jan Henrik Stahlberg

Int'l sales: Bavaria Film International, (49) 896499 2686

Welcome (Fr)

Dir: Philippe Lioret

Int'l sales: Film Distribution, (33) 1 53103399

Selected panorama titles

Blue Beard

Dir: Catherine Breillat

The story: A spin on the Blue Beard fairytale seen through the eyes of two young sisters.

The cast: Known for his TV work in France, Dominique Thomas stars as the ogre, while Lola Creton (Les Enfants De Timpelbach) and television actress Daphne Baiwir play the sisters.

The buzz: Breillat competed in Berlin in 2001 with another story of sisters, the provocative, sexually charged A Ma Soeur! In 2007 she earned a Palme d'Or nomination for The Last Mistress.

Int'l sales: Pyramide International, (33) 1 42 96 02 20

Kill Daddy Good Night (Austria-Ger-Fr)

Dir: Michael Glawogger

The story: Based on Josef Haslinger's novel Das Vaterspiel, the fate of three families is inextricably linked with the realisation that the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis can still unexpectedly affect the present.

The cast: Actor-director Helmut Kopping who also appeared in Glawogger's Nacktschnecken, Switzerland-born Sabine Timoteo (The Free Will), Ulrich Tukur (in the upcoming film John Rabe) and Franziska Weisz (Distance).

The buzz: Glawogger moves between documentaries (Workingman's Death, Megacities) and fiction films. His second feature Slumming was in competition in Berlin in 2006.

Int'l sales: Celluloid Dreams, (33) 1 49 70 03 70

My One And Only (US)

Dir: Richard Loncraine

The story: A 1950s-set comedy about a rich widow in search of a new husband to be a father for her two sons.

The cast: Renee Zellweger and Kevin Bacon star with a rich supporting cast which includes Steven Weber and Chris Noth.

The buzz: This late addition to the competition line-up marks Loncraine's second time at Berlin following Richard III in 1995, for which Loncraine picked up the best director prize.

Int'l sales: Essential Entertainment, (1) 310 550 9100

Rage (UK-US)

Dir: Sally Potter

The story: An expose of the inner lives of people working at a New York fashion house over seven days, shot under the guise of a documentary made by a schoolboy.

The cast: The star-studded line-up includes Judi Dench, Jude Law, Dianne Wiest, Steve Buscemi and Simon Abkarian.

The buzz: Potter is an international festival favourite but this is her first time in competition at Berlin. Rage was backed by the UK Film Council's New Cinema Fund and is produced by Christopher Sheppard and Andrew Fierberg.

Sales: Cinetic Media (US), (1) 212 204 7979; 6-Sales (int'l), (34) 917 817 301

Ricky (Fr-It)

Dir: Francois Ozon

The story: An ordinary man and woman create Ricky, an extraordinary baby.

The cast: Sergi Lopez (Pan's Labyrinth, Dirty Pretty Things) and Alexandra Lamy (Brice De Nice) head the cast as Ricky's parents.

The buzz: Ozon has fused a kaleidoscope of genres including social realism, suspense, horror, science fiction and comedy. Ozon's 8 Women (2002) and Angel (2007) both screened in competition at Berlin.

Int'l sales: Le Pacte, (33) 1 44 69 59 55

Storm (Ger-Den-Neth)

Dir: Hans-Christian Schmid

The story: A prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague tries to persuade a Bosnian woman living in Berlin to come to the court to give evidence against a suspected Serbian war criminal

The cast: New Zealand-born Kerry Fox, who was named best actress at Berlin in 2001 for her performance in Intimacy, leads an international cast, including Romanian actress Anamaria Marinca (4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days), UK actor Stephen Dillane (Savage Grace, The Hours), Rolf Lassgard and Alexander Fehling.

The buzz: Schmid's first major international English-language project is his third feature to screen at Berlin following his Fipresci winners Distant Lights in 2003 and Requiem in 2006.

Int'l sales: TrustNordisk, (45) 36 86 8788

Sweet Rush (Pol)

Dir: Andrzej Wajda

The story: An adaptation of a story by Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, who also wrote the novel behind Wajda's Maids Of Wilko, overlaps with the real-life story of actress Krystyna Janda and the death of her husband.

The cast: Janda won the best actress award at Cannes in 1991 for her performance in Interrogation and again at San Sebastian in 1992 for Dismissed From Life. International audiences also know her from Istvan Szabo's Oscar-winning Mephisto.

The buzz: Wajda is a Berlinale regular, with six previous films in competition, most recently Miss Nobody in 1996. Sweet Rush reunites the director with DoP Pawel Edelman and producer Michal Kwiecinski, with whom he worked on the Oscar-nominated Katyn.

Contact: Akson Studio, (48) 228 406 834