Next to Cannes and Venice in the pantheon of great film festivals is Berlin, a huge international affair that boasts more visitors than any fest in the world. It's been running since 1951, making it one of the oldest in the world, too. So it's not surprising that there's plenty of anticipation when the festival organizers announce the lineup, and Monday's revelation of eight of the titles for the 2008 edition -- which launches Feb. 7 -- was met with great delight.

Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood (picture) will play; not a big deal to me, since it opens theatrically in the States on Christmas anyway. What's noteworthy, as Variety points out, is that it's the sixth Daniel Day-Lewis film to play at the fest. Also, Anderson's Magnolia played there in 2000 -- and won the top prize, the Golden Bear.

Call me a nerd, but the film that piques my curiosity is S.O.P.: Standard Operating Procedure, a documentary about Abu Ghraib by Errol Morris -- for my money, the best documentary filmmaker currently working. The Fog of War, Mr. Death, The Thin Blue Line -- all stunning. I hope S.O.P. is as good as we've come to expect from Morris.

Already a hit in its native Brazil, The Elite Squad (Tropa Elite) -- about the war between gangs and police in Rio -- will compete. And there's lots more death on the docket: Lake Tahoe (¿Te acuerdas de Lake Tahoe?), about a teen coping with his father's death, from Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke (Duck Season); Germany's Cherry Blossoms (Hanami), by Dorie Dörrie, about a man with cancer whose wife dies; In Love We Trust(Zuo you), about a mother with cancer (directed by Beijing Bicycle's Wan Xiaoshuai); Gardens of the Night, in which children endure some miserable foster care; and previous lifetime achievement award recipient Andrzej Wajda's Katyn, about the Soviets' massacre of Polish war prisoners in 1940. Cheery!
categories Cinematical