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BERLIN (Reuters) - Actress Demi Moore leaves big-budget Hollywood behind in family comedy "Happy Tears," in which she plays a woman struggling to provide for her own family while caring for a senile father.
Parker Posey takes on the central role of her naive and spoiled sister, who is reluctant to leave behind her comfortable life in San Francisco to share the burden of coping with the onset of her father's dementia.
The sisters clash as Jayne (Posey) clings to her rose-tinted view of her father while Laura (Moore) drums the truth into her about what Joe was really like as a father and a husband.
Rip Torn is cast as the cantankerous and increasingly erratic father who, though in his 70s, has a much younger lover played by Ellen Barkin.
He is funny, foul-mouthed, incontinent and stubborn, and Torn described how he was directed in the part of Joe:
"Hey buddy, don't you think it's about time you played yourself a little bit?" he told reporters in Berlin after a press screening of the movie.
"And that's what I tried to do, and look where it got me."
Directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein, Happy Tears has its world premiere at the Berlin film festival on Wednesday, where it is in the main competition. The festival ends on Saturday.
Moore, well known for starring roles in high-profile 1990s pictures like "Disclosure," "Indecent Proposal" and "G.I. Jane," said she believed independently produced pictures were no more risky than Hollywood studio fare given the economic climate.
"I think every project that you step into has an element of risk," said the 46-year-old.
"It's much more important the company that you keep and the story that you get to tell. And I think that in today's world, independent really is no riskier than a studio film."
Asked whether her family or career came first, she added:
"I look at it as always family is first, because that's what you have at the end of your life and your work is just what you get to do, which is a real gift."
Lichtenstein, son of famous pop artist Roy who died in 1997, said he wanted to see Moore back on screen in a low-key role.
"I was excited about the idea of her playing a kind of normal person. This was not a high glamour part. I just wanted to see Demi do that again."
In the film, Jayne's husband Jackson is the highly stressed son of a famous artist who tries to manage his father's valuable legacy of works after he dies.
Lichtenstein said there were some parallels between himself and Jackson, in that both felt the burden of having a successful, famous father.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)
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