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Women headline Berlin film fest's breakout hits

Published on Feb 11, 2013 6:09 AM
Chilean actress Paulina Garcia poses during a photocall for the film Gloria presented in the Berlinale Competition of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival in Berlin on Feb 10, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Fierce performances by lead actresses lit up the screens Sunday at the 63rd Berlinale which, after Cannes shunned female filmmakers in its competition last year, also has three women directors in the race.

In the first real favourite to emerge at the 11-day festival, the bittersweet Chilean film Gloria drew loud cheers at its world premiere, followed by an enthusiastic reception for France's The Nun starring Isabelle Huppert and Belgian breakout star Pauline Etienne.

Paulina Garcia turns in what critics called a luminous performance in Gloria, which tells the story of a divorcee pushing 60 who is determined to seek happiness despite the knocks life has in store for her.

"Gloria is like Rocky: she takes a hit, picks herself up and gets back out there," said director Sebastian Lelio, 38, who said he took inspiration from his mother's friends. "Hitting your 60s doesn't mean the same thing as it used to mean in the old days. No, a new chapter of your life can begin.

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