Tykwer's 'International' to open Berlinale

Sony-backed thriller stars Clive Owen and Naomi Watts

COLOGNE, Germany -- Tom Tykwer's "The International," an action thriller starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, will open the 59th Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 5, 2009, screening Out of Competition.

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

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

The director of indie hit "Run, Lola, Run" (1998) proved he could handle a big budget with his last picture, the opulent olfactory epic "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" (2006). But "The International" is Tywker's first film with a U.S. studio. Sony co-produced with Germany's Studio Babelsberg and will release the film in German Feb. 12 and stateside, via Columbia Pictures, Feb. 13.

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

The film was shot largely in Berlin and Studio Babelsberg with location work in New York, Istanbul and Milan.

The 59th Berlinale runs Feb. 5-15, 2009.
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