French revolution film launches 2012 Berlin festival

Thu Feb 9, 2012 1:34pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - "Farewell My Queen", recalling the early days of the French Revolution through the eyes of servants at Versailles, has its world premiere on Thursday at the start of the 2012 Berlin film festival.

The French-language period drama, starring Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette, is one of 18 pictures in the main competition, and hundreds more films will be showcased in cinemas across the city over the next 10 days.

Walks down the red carpet may be brisk if freezing temperatures in Berlin persist, but festival director Dieter Kosslick will be happy as long as the A-listers turn up and the festival generates the right kind of buzz.

Also important will be the health of the film market that has grown up around the festival, attracting movie executives from the world over looking to buy and sell titles.

Critics said the annual movie marathon was looking to add cutting edge to its selection this year by featuring several unproven directors in the main lineup.

It will also seek to build on the success of 2011, when Iranian divorce drama "A Separation" won the Golden Bear for best movie and went on to scoop a Golden Globe and two Oscar nominations.

The jury at this year's festival, led by British director Mike Leigh and including U.S. actor Jake Gyllenhaal, will be looking to discover another hidden gem of world cinema, this time perhaps from Africa.

"Our program is an invitation to discover lesser known regions of the world," Kosslick said, underlining Berlin's reputation for championing films that would otherwise struggle to find an international audience.   Continued...

<p>Director Benoit Jacuot (L-R), cast members Lea Seydoux, Diane Kruger and Virginie Ledoyen pose during a photocall to promote the movie "Farewell my Queen" at the 62nd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>