The obsession with fall releases for the awards calendar has seen the festival showcase few high-profile American premieres in recent years, with a focus on fall films that haven't yet seen European releases, premieres from international auteurs and the occasional new discovery (like Golden Bear winner "A Separation" this year), and the first wave of announcements are no exception. The starry headliners look to be Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks, and the Christian Bale-toplining "The Flowers of War" from Chinese director Zhang Yimou, which will both receive their European premieres out of competition at the festival.
In competition, the biggest coup is probably "Captive," the long-awaited latest from controversial and divisive Filipino filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza. The film, which stars Isabelle Huppert, was rumored for inclusion at both Cannes and Venice in 2011, but will gets its world premiere at the Berlinale. That's joined by "Dictato," or "Childish Games," from Spanish director Antonio Chavarrías ("Celia's Lives," "You'll Be Back") and "Postcards From The Zoo," from Indonesian filmmaker Edwin ("The Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly").
But perhaps the biggest news are two documentary world premieres in the Berlinale Special section: the presumably working-titled "Marley Documentary," the long-in-the-works film from Kevin MacDonald ("Touching The Void," "The Last King of Scotland," "Life in A Day"), who took over the project from Jonathan Demme, about reggae legend Bob Marley, and Werner Herzog's "Death Row: A Documentary Series In Four Parts," a continuation of his most recent film "Into The Abyss," which Herzog revealed when he spoke to us last month. It's joined in the section by European premieres of Guy Maddin's "Keyhole," Alex de la Iglesias' "The Last Circus," and Indian action sequel "Don 2: The King Is Dead," starring Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan.
As far as we're concerned, the MacDonald and Herzog films are definitely the big draws here, but there's certainly more than enough here to make anyone considering traveling to the Berlinale worth their trip, and more announcements will follow soon. The 62nd Berlin International Film Festival runs from the 9th-17th of February, 2012. [Deadline]