Berlin Adds Competition Titles From Werner Herzog, Bill Cordon, Jafar Panahi

Werner Herzog

Herzog's 'Queen of the Desert,' Panahi's 'Taxi' and Cordon's 'Mr. Holmes' will have their world premieres in Berlin

Germany's biggest film fest has announced a slew of new competition titles for its 65th edition, including Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, Taxi by Iranian director Jafar Panahi (Offside) and Bill Cordon's Mr. Holmes

In Queen of the Desert, the one-time Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson plays Lawrence of Arabia, aka T.E. Lawrence, alongside star Nicole Kidman as explorer, writer, archeologist and British Intelligence officer Gertrude Bell. Queen of the Desert also features Homeland's Damian Lewis as Charles Doughty-Wylie, a married British officer who had an unconsummated affair with Bell, and James Franco as Henry Cadogan

Read more Robert Pattinson on Moving Past 'Twilight' and Downsizing his Life

Condon's Mr. Holmes stars Ian McKellen as a retired Sherlock Holmes still grappling with a final, unsolved case. MIlo Parker and Laura Linney also star

Taxi will be Panahi's third film to run in competition in Berlin. His drama Offside, about Iranian girls dressing as boys to sneak into soccer matches, won Berlin's Silver Bear in 2006. The director, accused by the Iranian regime of "propaganda against the Iranian government," is facing a lengthy jail sentence and has been officially banned by the government from making movies for 20 years.

Other new Berlin competition titles include Benoit Jacquot's Diary of a Chambermaid starring Lea Seydoux, Body from Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska, the Vietnamese drama Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories from director Di Phan Dang and Gone with the Bullets from Chinese director Wen Jiang (Let the Bullets Fly). Berlin has also added a second German-language film to this year's competition with Victoria from Sebastian Schipper (Gigantic) starring Laia Costa and Frederick Lau.

Read more 'Fifty Shades' to Get International Premiere in Berlin 

Among the previously announced Berlin competition titles this year are the world premieres of Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups, 45 Years from British director Andrew Haigh, Peter Greenaway's Eisenstein in Guanajuato and As We Were Dreaming from acclaimed German director Andreas Dresen.

Nobody Wants the Night, an arctic-set drama from Spanish director Isabel Coixet starring Juliette Binoche, Gabriel Byrne and Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) will open the 65th Berlin Film Festival on Feb. 5. The remainder of the Berlin competition lineup will be announced next week. 

Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky will head up the Berlin International Jury this year.

Read more Berlin: German Critics Launch Own Critics' Week Sidebar

High-profile titles screening out of competition in Berlin this year include Kenneth Branagh's live-action Cinderella, featuring Lily James, Stellan Skarsgard and Helena Bonham Carter, and the international premiere of hotly anticipated erotic drama Fifty Shades of Grey, featuring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

The 65th Berlin International Film Festival runs Feb.5-15.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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