Tykwer film is the opener at Berlin fest

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Tom Tykwer's "The International," an action thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, will open the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 5 in an out-of-competition slot.

It will be Tykwer's second Berlinale opening following "Heaven," which bowed at the 2002 edition.

But unlike "Heaven," which was an art house film along the lines of Tykwer's "Winter Sleepers" (1997) or "The Princess and the Warrior" (2000), "International" marks the German director's jump into the major leagues.

The director of the indie hit "Run Lola Run" proved he could handle a big budget with his previous picture, the opulent "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." But "International" is Tykwer's first film with a U.S. studio. Sony co-produced with Germany's Studio Babelsberg and will release the film in Germany on Feb. 12 and stateside, via Columbia, on Feb. 13.

"International," Tykwer's first all-out actioner, is a conspiracy thriller that follows Owen as an Interpol agent who discovers that the world's largest bank is engaging in money laundering and illegal arms trading. Watts co-stars as a Manhattan assistant DA who joins Owen in his race to bring those responsible to justice.

The 59th Berlinale runs through Feb. 15. (partialdiff)
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