BERLIN (Reuters) - Nine films, including one based on the biography of a child soldier during Eritrea’s independence struggle, have been added to the Berlin film festival’s main competition, it announced on Wednesday.
“Heart of Fire,” directed by Italy’s Luigi Falorni, tells the story of Senait Mehari, who says she was abandoned to a guerrilla group at a young age and trained to kill. She has since gone on to forge a career as a singer in Germany.
Also showcasing at the annual event will be “Happy-Go-Lucky” by Oscar-nominated director Mike Leigh, and “Elegy,” a U.S. production based on a Philip Roth novel and starring Penelope Cruz and Dennis Hopper.
French entries “Julia” and “Lady Jane,” Italy’s “Quiet Chaos,” “Restless” (Israel), “Sparrow” (China) and “Kabei” (Japan) complete the latest tranche of competition films to be unveiled.
The nine new entries join eight films previously selected, including an examination of human rights violations at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison from U.S. director Errol Morris.
Organizers said around two-thirds of the final competition lineup has now been confirmed.
The festival will include the directorial debut of U.S. pop star Madonna. Her film “Filth and Wisdom” will be part of the “Panorama” avant garde section of the event, the first of the year’s major European film festivals.
Her attendance on the red carpet has not yet been confirmed. The Berlinale runs from February 7-17.
Writing by Mike Collett-White