‘Shepherd,’ ‘German’ Headline Berlin Film Fest

BERLIN (January 8, 2007) — New movies from Robert De Niro and Steven Soderbergh are among the first chosen for competition at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival.

The festival, which runs Feb. 8-18, will feature De Niro’s “The Good Shepherd,” a tale about the earliest days of the CIA and a fictionalized agent, played by Matt Damon. De Niro also directed 1993’s “A Bronx Tale.”

Soderbergh’s “The Good German” stars George Clooney as an American journalist lured into a murder mystery in post-World War II Berlin.

Also selected is Belgian director Sam Gabarski’s “Irina Palm,” in which singer-actress Marianne Faithfull plays a widow who desperately needs money and unwittingly accepts a job in a sex club.

“Goodbye Bafana,” from Danish director Bille August, stars Joseph Fiennes as James Gregory, a white South African prison guard whose life is changed by guarding Nelson Mandela for more than 20 years.

From the host country, Germany, comes Christian Petzold’s “Yella,” while South Korea’s Park Chan-wook brings “I Am a Cyborg but That’s OK” to the festival.

“Many of the productions selected for this year’s competition link modern historical processes to personal, intimate and extremely emotional stories,” festival director Dieter Kosslick said in a statement last week.

Organizers expect to complete the competition lineup for this year’s festival, the 57th, by mid-January.

Last year, the festival’s top Golden Bear award went to Jasmila Zbanic’s “Grbavica,” a film examining how a single mother and her 12-year-old daughter struggle with the aftermath of the Bosnian war.

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