Iranian dissident film, Kidman movie due at Berlin fest

The 65th annual event running February 5 to 15 will feature the first screening of “Taxi” by Panahi

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A new movie by dissident Iranian director Jafar Panahi and a period drama starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Pattinson will premiere at next month’s Berlin film festival, organisers said Wednesday.

The 65th annual event running February 5 to 15 will feature the first screening of “Taxi” by Panahi, who was detained for a documentary he tried to make on the unrest following Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election and officially banned from making more films for 20 years.

The event known as the Berlinale said German veteran Werner Herzog would unveil “Queen of the Desert” featuring Kidman as British adventurer and spy Gertrude Bell and the former “Twilight” heartthrob Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

The keenly awaited picture also stars James Franco and Damian Lewis.

Also featuring in the main showcase will be acclaimed Chinese director Jiang Wen’s latest film, “Gone with the Bullets”, and British production “Mr Holmes” by Bill Condon (“The Fifth Estate”) starring Ian McKellen and Laura Linney.

French filmmaker Benoit Jacquot (“Farewell, My Queen”) will debut “Diary of a Chambermaid” with Lea Seydoux and Vincent Lindon.

And Vietnamese director Phan Dang Di, a European festival favourite, will screen “Big Father, Small Father and Other Stories”.

Panahi won the Berlinale’s Silver Bear award for best screenplay in 2013 for “Closed Curtain”, a film he made in secret, prompting a protest from the Iranian government.

The festival announced last week that Spanish director Isabel Coixet’s “Nobody Wants the Night” starring French actress Juliette Binoche would open the 11-day event.

New movies by Terrence Malick, Kenneth Branagh and Peter Greenaway are also on the programme, as well as a screening of the adaptation of erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

The Berlinale, the first major cinema showcase of the year in Europe, said it would reveal its complete competition lineup next week.

US director and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) will serve as president of the jury handing out the Golden and Silver Bear prizes.