First off is "Jayne Mansfield's Car," Thornton's first narrative feature behind the camera in over a decade (he directed the Willie Nelson doc "The King Of Luck" which premiered at SXSW last year). Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick and Ray Stevenson star in the film that last year, Duvall described thusly: “It’s about a guy in between WWI and WWII who raises a family after his wife left him for an Englishman and moved to England…When the wife dies, she asks to be brought back to Alabama to be buried, and at that point the character hasn’t seen her in 20 or 30 years. The two families — her original family she abandoned and her English family — meet and then things get really interesting.” Indeed.
Also worth keeping an eye on is Christian Petzold's "Barbara." The director has been on a bit of a streak lately, earning strong reviews for "Jerichow" as well as his entry in the "Dreileben" trilogy, and his latest seems fascinating. Here's the official synopsis: East Germany. Barbara has requested a departure permit. It is the summer of 1978. She is a physician and is transferred, for disciplinary reasons, to a small hospital far away from everything in a provincial backwater. Her lover, a foreign trade employee at Mannesmann that she met on a spring night in East Berlin, is working on her escape. She does not care about anything around her: the patients, her colleagues, the neighbours, the summer and the countryside. There is nothing holding her here anymore. Barbara is cold, within herself, withdrawing from everyone and everything around her. Her apartment, her job, her life here - they are all meaningless. That summer, her existence is disturbed. She meets a physician, Andre, who was also transferred for disciplinary reasons. Andre confuses Barbara. Did they put him on to her? Or has he fallen in love with her? Barbara loses control - of herself, of love, of her live.
We're also curious about "Sister" ("L´enfant d´en haut") from director Ursula Meier and starring Gillian Anderson and Lea Seydoux. This too looks like it will be another crackling tale, here's the synopsis: A luxury ski resort in Switzerland. 12-year-old Simon lives in the industrial valley below, with his jobless sister. Every day, he takes the ski-lift to the opulent ski world above, stealing equipment from the rich tourists to resell to the local kids back down. As he partners with a crooked British seasonal worker, Simon loses his boundaries, which affects the relationship with his sister. Confronted with a truth they had both been escaping, Simon seeks refuge up above.
And oh yeah, as for Angelina Jolie's Bosnian war romance "In The Land Of Blood And Honey," it will be receiving a special screening out of competition. Here's the full in competion line-up. The Berlin Film Festival runs from February 9-19.
By Alain Gomis (L´Afrance, Andalucia)
With Saül Williams, Aïssa Maïga, Djolof M'bengue
By Christian Petzold (Yella, Jerichow, Dreileben)
With Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld
Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die)
By Paolo and Vittorio Taviani (Padre padrone, La notte di San Lorenzo, La masseria delle allodole, San Michele aveva un gallo)
With Fabio Cavalli, Salvatore Striano
By Matthias Glasner (The Free Will, Sexy Sadie)
With Jürgen Vogel, Birgit Minichmayr, Henry Stange
Jayne Mansfield’s Car
By Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade, The King of Luck, All the pretty Horses)
With Billy Bob Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon
L´enfant d´en haut (Sister)
By Ursula Meier (Tous à table, Des épaules solides, Home)
With Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, Gillian Anderson, Martin Compston
By Spiros Stathoulopoulos (PVC-1)
With Theo Alexander, Tamila Koulieva
By Miguel Gomes (The Face You Deserve, Our Beloved Month Of August)
With Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Carloto Cotta
Csak a szél (Just The Wind)
By Benedek Fliegauf (Dealer, Rengeteg, Tejút, Womb)
With Lajos Sárkány, Katalin Toldi, Gyöngyi Lendvai, Géza Jungwirth
Was bleibt (Home For The Weekend) Germany
By Hans-Christian Schmid (Storm, Requiem, Distant Lights)
With Lars Eidinger, Corinna Harfouch, Sebastian Zimmler, Ernst Stötzner
In The Land Of Blood And Honey
By Angelina Jolie (directorial debut)
With Zana Marjanović, Goran Kostić, Rade Šrbedžija, Vanesa Glodjo