Bound for Berlin; 14+ Films To Track at Europe's Launch Pad

by Anthony Kaufman

The official poster of the 2003 Berlinale

Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival

With Park City now past us, all eyes turn to the Berlin International Film Festival, the next major film showcase on the cinema calendar (neatly sandwiched between Rotterdam and the American Film Market) and duly concluding just before the war in Iraq begins. Opening this Thursday (February 6) with Rob Marshall's "Chicago," the German film bonanza unveils its usual mix of arthouse cinema with Hollywood worship (a high Clooney factor is repped in both "Solaris" and "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" in this year's competition).

The first of the mega-international-film-festival triumvirate (followed by Cannes and Toronto -- or if you prefer Venice), the Berlinale's 53rd edition marks the launching point for a number of high-profile foreign films. Rooting through the hundreds of movies in the festival proper -- and the concurrent European Film Market -- is daunting, but a number of past festival favorites and recognized auteurs should rise above the pack, inciting buzz in critics, buyers, and festival programmers. Here's a preview of the hit list.

1. Patrice Ch