America comes to Europe for Berlinale

4 February 2014

American A-list film-makers George Clooney and Wes Anderson bring their European-set premieres to the 64th Berlin Film Festival.

Clooney co-writes and stars alongside Matt Damon and Bill Murray in The Monuments Men, a World War II comedy-drama that follows a disparate group of  Allied soldiers tasked with saving pieces of European art and other culturally important items before their destruction by Hitler.

Berlinale-Logo-2-KAWes Andersen’s dramady The Grand Budapest Hotel is set in the fictitious Mitteleuropean country of  Zubrowka and stars Ralph Fiennes as resourceful hotel concierge who finds himself framed for murder after he is bequeathed a painting.

The film's all-star cast includes F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton and Saoirse Ronan.

Festival audiences also get the first chance to see South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer, starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell in the story of a class revolution aboard a train travelling around the globe and powered by perpetual motion.

The Two Faces of January is the eagerly-awaited directorial debut from Iran's Hossein Amini, based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, it stars Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst as a couple who cultivate Oscar Isaacs' American tour guide in Greece.

Also premiering is the adaptation of the Nick Hornby novel A Long Way Down which follows four suicidal strangers - Martin (Pierce Brosnan), Maureen (Toni Collette), Jess (Imogen Poots) and JJ (Aaron Paul) - who coincidentally meet on the top of a building with the intention of throwing themselves to their deaths.

Calvary CW 2Director John Michael McDonagh follows up the superlative The Guard with Calvary, a dark comedy drama which stars Brendan Gleeson (star of The Guard) as a rural Catholic priest who gets told during confession that he is to be murdered.

In the glossy biopic Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Niney plays the French designer, following him from the beginning of his career in 1958 when he met his lover and business partner, Pierre Berge (Guillaume Gallienne).

Also showing is Richard Linklater’s Sundance hit Boyhood, starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as the parents of a boy (Ellar Coltrane) whose life is traced from the age of six to eighteen by Linlater returning to his subject over the course of 12 years.

Around 400 films are being shown at the Berlinale with tickets available for everyone to cement its reputation as the largest public film festival in the world.

At the heart of the festival is the competition for the Golden Bear with previous winners including A Separation, Elite Squad and Bloody Sunday.