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Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 10:14 GMT
Bloody Sunday screens in Berlin
Bloody Sunday
The events portrayed remain extremely controversial
Bloody Sunday, the Paul Greengrass film about the shooting of 13 civilians at a Londonderry demonstration in 1972, opens the first full day of the Berlin Film Festival on Thursday.

The film, recently shown on ITV1 in the UK, is one of 23 films in contention for the festival's Golden Bear award.

Bloody Sunday has already won the World Cinema award at the US Sundance Film Festival.

Bloody Sunday's writer and director Paul Greengrass has said he wants audiences to confront what he calls the abuse of power and force on that day.

Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett
Giovanni Ribisi and Cate Blanchett star in Heaven
James Nesbitt, recently seen in Lucky Break and ITV1's Cold Feet, stars in the film alongside Tim Pigott-Smith and Nicholas Farrell.

Another Golden Bear entry from the UK is director Richard Eyre's Iris, starring Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent and Judi Dench.

It tells the story of novelist Iris Murdoch's battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Other films vying for the Golden Bear include three US entries - Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, Marc Forster's Monster's Ball and Lasse Hallstrom's The Shipping News.

German talent

Some 120,000 visitors are expected to descend on the German capital during the festival, seen as one of the top three in Europe - along with Venice and Cannes.

The programme includes 400 feature films from across the world, but this year festival director Dieter Kosslick is keen to promote German film talent to overseas audiences.

The festival's opening movie on Wednesday was Heaven, by German director Tom Tykwer, a thriller and love story starring Cate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi.

Heaven is based on a screenplay by Krzysztof Pieseiwicz and the late Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, best known for his award-winning Three Colors trilogy.

Mr Tykwer, who had a hit with Run Lola Run in 1999, is one of four German directors with films competing for the Golden Bear, the highest number for a quarter-century.

The French film, Intimacy, directed by Patrice Chereau won the top Golden Bear award in 2001.

See also:

22 Nov 01 | Film
Nair to lead Berlin film jury
22 Oct 01 | Film
US attacks 'affect' Berlinale
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Stalingrad meets Hollywood at Berlin
21 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Magnolia triumphs in Berlin
05 May 99 | Entertainment
Berlin loses its cultural cool
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