'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' to Open Palm Springs International Film Festival

Laurie Sparham

The fest, running Jan. 5-15, will close with the German comedy "Almanya, Welcome to Germany."

Lasse Halstrom’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, starring Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas, will open the 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, which runs from Jan. 5-15.

The festival, which will screen 187 films from 73 countries, will close with Yasemin Samdereli’s Almanya, Welcome to Germany.

“It’s a wide ranging line-up of highly accomplished and often provocative new films, coupled with an expanded archival section,” festival director Darryl Macdonald said. “I’m particularly delighted to be opening the festival with the U.S. debut of Lasse Hallstrom’s hugely engaging crowd-pleaser, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - the work of a master filmmaker, an Oscar-winning screenwriter and a celebrated cast. For the first time ever we are closing with a German comedy – and it is pitch perfect."

PHOTOS: 2011 Palm Springs International Film Festival

World premieres at the festival include If I Were You, starring Marcia Gay Harden and Aidan Quinn, and A Thousand Cuts, starring Michael O’Keefe.

Steven Soderbergh’s spy thriller Haywire, starring Gina Carano, will be offered as a special presentation.

The Modern Masters sidebar will include films from Christoffer Boe, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, Robert Guédiguian, Masato Harada, Chen Kaige, Nanni Moretti, Pawel Pawlikowski, Michael Radford, Lynne Ramsay and Andrey Zvyaginstev.

Other festival films with notable talent and directors include: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs; McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner and Connie Nielsen in Perfect Sense; Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, John Slattery in Return; Sal, directed by James Franco; and Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Bob Balaban and Lea Thompson in Thin Ice.

A complete line-up can be found at www.psfilmfest.org.