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French Revolution drama to open Berlin film festival

BERLIN (AFP) ― A drama set around the French Revolution starring German-born Hollywood actress Diane Kruger as Marie Antoinette will open next month’s Berlin film festival, organisers said Wednesday.

“Les Adieux a la reine” (Farewell My Queen) by French director Benoit Jacquot will kick off the 62nd edition of the Berlinale, as the event is known, on Feb. 9, the festival said in a statement.

The period drama features Kruger, previously seen in “Inglourious Basterds,” Lea Seydoux, who appeared in last year’s Woody Allen hit “Midnight in Paris,” and Virginie Ledoyen, best known to international audiences for her turn in “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio.
Scene from “Farewell My Queen” (Lumiere)
Scene from “Farewell My Queen” (Lumiere)

“In a screen adaptation of Chantal Thomas’ prize-winning novel of the same name, French director Benoit Jacquot portrays the first days of the French Revolution from the perspective of the servants at Versailles,” the festival said.

“With ironic overtones, a historical drama unfolds that also draws parallels to the present.”

The French-Spanish co-production will appear in competition for the festival’s prestigious Golden Bear top prize, to be awarded Feb. 18 before the event wraps up the following day.

Meanwhile, organizers said Oscar-winning U.S. actress Meryl Streep will be awarded an honorary Golden Bear in recognition of her decades-long career.

“Meryl Streep is a brilliant, versatile performer who moves with ease between dramatic and comedic roles,” the festival’s director Dieter Kosslick said in a written statement.

Streep’s career has included diverse roles in movies such as “Kramer vs. Kramer” in 1979, “Sophie’s Choice” in 1982, “Out of Africa” in 1985 and the 2006 movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”

The award will be presented on Feb. 14 at the screening of “The Iron Lady,” while audiences at the Berlinale, as the festival is known, will also be able to see five of Streep’s other films under its Homage section.

In 2003, Streep, who has appeared in more than 40 movies and has twice won an Oscar, shared the Berlinale’s Silver Bear award for best actresses with Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman for their performances in “The Hours.”

British director Mike Leigh is set to chair the jury, which will also include Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Franco-British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, among others.
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