BERLIN • Genius, a star-studded biopic about fabled editor Max Perkins, who published some of America's most famous writers, is among the five movies in the first slate of contenders announced last Friday for the Berlin International Film Festival next year.
Starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, the film about the editor who launched the careers of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe will have its world premiere at the Berlinale, Europe's first major cinema showcase of the year that runs from Feb 11 to 21.
It is the first film by British director Michael Grandage, who is best known for his theatre work. It stars Firth as Perkins, Law as Wolfe, Kidman as Wolfe's mistress Aline Bernstein, Dominic West as Hemingway and Guy Pearce as Fitzgerald.
Also in competition is Alone In Berlin, the keenly awaited adaptation of the 1947 Hans Fallada novel Every Man Dies Alone, directed by Swiss actor, director and photographer Vincent Perez.
Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson star as a war-time German couple who start a postcard-writing campaign urging people to protest against Hitler, after they lose their only son in the war.
American director Jeff Nichols, who made independent hits such as Mud (2012) and Take Shelter (2011), will present Midnight Special, starring Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst and Adam Driver. The sci-fi thriller tells the story of a man racing to protect his gifted young son from a religious cult leader and government agents.
The French-Canadian film Boris Without Beatrice, directed by Denis Cote, stars James Hyndman and Simone-Elise Girard in a drama about a successful middle-aged man whose wife is bedridden and who is forced to confront the realities of his life after he seeks romance elsewhere.
Zero Day, the lone documentary among the first five competition films, is an examination of online spying. The film's wesbite says the documentary, which has Kick- starter funding, was created by musician and music producer Charles Koppelman, with veteran documentary maker Alex Gibney as "creative producer".
Outside the main competition, the Berlinale Special will feature the European premieres of new documentaries by American firebrand Michael Moore, Where To Invade Next, and his fellow Oscar winner Morgan Neville, The Music Of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma And The Silk Road Ensemble.
American directors Joel and Ethan Coen will open the event on Feb 11 with a screening of Hail, Caesar!, their all-star Hollywood Golden Age comedy.
The film, starring Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton and George Clooney, will screen out of competition.
The top prize will be awarded by a jury led by Meryl Streep on Feb 20. This year's Golden Bear went to Taxi by Iranian dissident director Jafar Panahi.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE