The Sundance Film Festival is only just getting underway today, but we're already looking further down the festival calendar. The first SXSW announcements came earlier in the week, and early this morning, the first of the big three European festivals of the year (preceding Cannes and Venice), the Berlin International Film Festival, has been solidifying the line-up for its 63rd edition.
Joining the already extensive line-up are a pair of high-profile Sundance flicks, in the shape of Richard Linklater's "Before Midnight," the third part of the Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy-starring trilogy begun with "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset," and "Prince Avalanche," the hush-hush comedy-drama from director David Gordon Green that toplines Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch. The former screens out of competition, while the latter will actually be in the running for the Golden Bear.
Also notable is "Dark Blood," the infamous long-unfinished film by "The Vanishing" director George Sluizer that proved to be the final screen work of ill-fated star River Phoenix. The actor died of an overdose before filming was completed, and twenty years later, Sluzier has finished the project. The film, which also stars Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis, was first screened at the Netherlands Film Festival back in September, but gets its most high-profile screening to date out of competition in Berlin, before heading to the U.S. for the Miami International Film Festival in March.
Also joining the line-up is Bille August's "Night Train To Lisbon," a philosophical adventure with an international cast including Jeremy Irons, Melanie Laurent, Jack Huston, August Diehl, Christopher Lee and Charlotte Rampling. It's joined by Boris Khlebnikov's "A Long And Happy Life," Emir Baigazin's "Harmony Lessons," Malgoska Szumowska's "In The Name Of…" and Canadian film "Vic & Flo Saw A Bear."
Due to its place in the calendar, just out of sync with the film industry's awards season, Berlin's reputation has slipped of late, but its all-around quality has been higher than some major festivals recently, and it's also been responsible for the debut of gems like "A Separation" and "Tabu" in the last few years. And with a line-up that also includes Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grandmasters," Shane Carruth's "Upstream Color," Jane Campion's "Top Of The Lake," Michael Winterbottom's "The Look Of Love," Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Best Offer," Sam Rockwell-starrer "A Single Shot," Bruno Dumont's "Camille Claudel 1915," Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects, Jafar Panahi's "Closed Curtain," DreamWorks Animation's "The Croods" and many more, it's looking like a banner year for the Berlinale. [Deadline]