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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 17:05 GMT
Stalingrad meets Hollywood at Berlin
Jude Law
Jude Law stars in the film, based on a true story
Enemy at the Gates, an epic drama set during the siege of Stalingrad, starring Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

It is the most expensive film ever made in Europe, and is set during the Battle of Stalingrad and is based on the historical street duels between German and Russian snipers.

The production costs are an estimated $85m (57.9m) and it was filmed entirely in Germany, using an enormous cast of extras.

The 12-day festival is in its 51st year and ranks just below Cannes and alongside Venice in prestige on the European film festival circuit.

It attracts stars from both Hollywood and the international independent cinema to the German capital, and begins on 7 February.

Joseph Fiennes
Joseph Fiennes plays an party official
All eyes will be on the winners of the festival's awards in the build-up to the Oscars in March.

Law, who starred in The Talented Mr Ripley, plays Zaitsev, an expert Russian marksman, while Shakespeare in Love lead Fiennes is Danilov, a party official.

Zaitsev is a real-life figure who single-handedly terrorised German soldiers during the battle and the film is based on an account of this story written in 1973 by William Craig.

Jean-Jacques Annaud, who also made The Name of the Rose, The Lover and Seven Years in Tibet, directs.

The Battle of Stalingrad was one of Nazi Germany's biggest failures, losing over 250,000 soldiers in fatalities, with another 100,000 other soldiers captured.

Artistic licence

Though the film is based on fact, there is a degree of artistic licence in the interpretation of those facts.

Rachel Weisz, best known for her role in The Mummy, supplies the love interest in the form of a female sniper, whose historical accuracy has been questioned by Anthony Beevor, the author of the bestselling history Stalingrad.

Mr Beevor told BBC News Online that: "It is fiction based on a grain of truth."

Despite this Mr Beevor said he had high hopes for the film, which also features Bob Hoskins in a cameo role as Russian premier Krushev.

The film will get its UK premiere at the Bradford Film Festival on 1 March and will go on general release later that month.

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