Belgian co-production L'Empire competes for Golden Bear at Berlinale film festival

L'Empire by French filmmaker Bruno Dumont is on the list of films competing for the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlinale film festival, published on Monday. The film is co-produced by the Belgian company Novak Prod and supported by the Cinema and Audiovisual Centre of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

Two years after competing at Cannes with the movie France, Dumont returns with an eccentric remake of Star Wars, shot in his home region of northern France. The film stars Fabrice Lucchini (Ma Loute) and a cast of sought-after French actresses: Anamaria Vartolomei (L'évènement), Lyna Khoudri and Camille Cottin.

During the 74th edition of the Berlinale, from 15 to 25 February, 20 films will compete to follow up last year's winner, the documentary on psychiatry Sur l'Adamant by French director Nicolas Philibert.

Africa, a continent whose cinematography is developing but still less represented at the major festivals, will also play an important role this year. Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako - whose Timbuktu won the César for Best Director in 2015 - is back with Black Tea, a love story in the African community of Canton between a young Ivorian woman and the owner of a tea export shop.

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Franco-Senegalese Mati Diop - who won the Grand Prix at Cannes 2019 for Atlantique - presents Le Retour, a documentary on the return to Benin of the royal treasures of Abomey, stolen during the country's colonisation. The debut film of director Meryam Joobeur represents Tunisia.

French filmmaker Olivier Assayas, a festival regular, will present Hors du temps, an autobiographical story within a story tracing the confinement of a director and his brother, a music journalist, in the rural house where they grew up. French director Claire Burger, known a decade ago for Party Girl, makes her Berlinale competition debut with Langue étrangère.

A frequent presence at the Berlinale, South Korean director Hong Sang-Soo reunites with Isabelle Huppert for A Traveller's Needs, also in competition.

The Berlinale, is one of the world's most important international film festivals. It is held annually in Berlin and lasts almost two weeks. About 400 films from all over the world are screened at the festival.



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