Music at the movies for rock-heavy Berlin festival

Sun Feb 3, 2008 7:44am EST
 
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Music comes to the movies at the Berlin Film Festival this year, with the Rolling Stones and Madonna expected on the red carpet and a heavy metal band from Baghdad banging heads on the big screen.

In between songs at the annual 11-day cinematic extravaganza will be more familiar fare of hard-hitting films from the real world, including a documentary about the Abu Ghraib prison abuses in Iraq and a feature on child soldiers in Eritrea.

Organizers will also be hoping for a smattering of Hollywood A-listers, crucial to the success of Europe's first major film festival of the year. Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Penelope Cruz and Daniel Day-Lewis are all due to attend.

Opening the event on Thursday is "Shine a Light," Martin Scorsese's documentary about the band the Rolling Stones, using footage from two concerts in New York in 2006.

Having the likes of Mick Jagger and Scorsese at the glittering first night is a major coup for festival director Dieter Kosslick, who has struggled to secure strong opening films in the past.

"It's not like you can just make a phone call and get the Stones," Kosslick told German television on Friday. "You've got to have some good luck on your side too."

"Shine a Light" is not listed as a competition film, and so will not be contending for prizes at the awards ceremony on February 16 including the coveted Golden Bear for best film.

Madonna's film "Filth and Wisdom" is also out of the main competition, but the queen of pop's directorial debut is bound to hit the headlines and draw comparisons -- flattering or otherwise -- with her director husband Guy Ritchie.

MADONNA ASKS FOR INVITATION   Continued...

 
<p>Madonna arrives to attend a Cinema Society screening of the film "Revolver" in New York December 2, 2007. Music comes to the movies at the Berlin Film Festival this year, with the Rolling Stones and Madonna expected on the red carpet and a heavy metal band from Baghdad banging heads on the big screen. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>