Berlin picks Polanski, Scorsese pics Print E-mail
Written by ED MEZA for VARIETY   
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 00:00

Fest unveils first films selected in main section

BERLIN -- The Berlin Film Festival continues to show its support for beleaguered helmer Roman Polanski.

His pic “The Ghost Writer” and Martin Scorsese’s Leonardo DiCaprio starrer “Shutter Island” will be among films premiering in competition, as the 60th edition of the Berlinale unveiled its first titles for the main section on Tuesday.

Polanski is under house arrest in Switzerland and facing possible extradition to the U.S. in connection with his 1978 conviction for having unlawful sex with an underage girl and his subsequent escape to Europe.

The Ghost Writer,” which was shot in Germany and received more than $6 million in local subsidy coin, was widely expected to unspool at the fest.

Pic stars Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall and Olivia Williams. Summit recently picked up North American rights to the film.

The Berlinale has been a steadfast supporter of the fugitive filmmaker. Following his Sept. 26 arrest in Zurich, the fest issued a statement protesting what it called “the arbitrary treatment of one of the world’s most outstanding film directors” and demanded his “immediate release.”

Scorsese was last in Berlin in 2008 when he opened the fest with his Rolling Stones documentary “Shine a Light” — the first time in the event’s history that the main competition section kicked off with a documentary.

Fest, which runs Feb. 11-21, unveiled seven of 26 pics in competition.

A number of international titles, many backed by Teuton coin, made the cut, including Rafi Pitts’ vengeance tale “Shekarchi” (The Hunter), a German-Iranian co-production that was partially financed through the Berlinale World Cinema Fund; Benjamin Heisenberg’s drama “Der Raeuber” (The Robber); “Bal” (Honey), by Semih Kaplanoglu; and “Na putu” (On the Path), by Bosnian helmer Jasmila Zbanic, who won the Golden Bear for “Grbavica” in 2006.

The other selection is Indian helmer Karan Johar’s “My Name Is Khan,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, which unspools out of competition.

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