The Monuments Men
Some of the stars of The Monuments Men 20th Century Fox

In February the film world will gather for the 64<sup>th annual Berlin International Film Festival.

Bigger than ever, this year the line-up features top names from George Clooney to Wes Anderson and includes films as fun as The Monuments Men and as controversial as Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac.

Over ten days the film world will catch a glimpse of best films set for release in the coming weeks. British director Ken Loach will also be presented with a honorary Golden Bear award for his lifetime of celebrated work.

The Monuments Men

The most star-studded film of the festival features its director George Clooney alongside Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett.

The Monuments Men is a World War II heist caper about an Allied platoon of museum directors, curators and art historians going to Nazi Germany to rescue important works of art.

Pitched as a comedy drama the film's trailer draw clear parallels to the Clooney-starring Ocean's Eleven remake, but don't be fooled by how obvious the likeness apparently is, this is its own beast.


A horse of an entirely different colour is Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac. It has been in production for a while now and has been controversial for just as long.

The drama focuses on a woman's sexual journey from young to old, and will in part be told with real sex scenes (with body doubles, not the actors themselves).

It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg, Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgard, Jamie Bell and Christian Slater. LaBeouf sent von Trier a real footage of him having sex with his girlfriend as an audition tape.

Well, it certainly worked.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Opening the festival is Wes Anderson's follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom, starring Ralph Fiennes as a famed hotel concierge in a fictional country called the Republic of Zubrowka.

Of the films on this list The Grand Budapest Hotel is the only in contention for the Golden Bear, the festival's top prize awarded by a select jury which this year includes Christoph Waltz and Greta Gerwig.

Wes Anderson's latest also stars F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law and Edward Norton, as well as Anderson favourites Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson.

Also featured are Harvey Keitel, Saoirse Ronan, Tom Wilkinson and Mathieu Amalric - a pretty strong cast to say the least.

La Belle et La Bête

Better known as Beauty and the Beast this live action re-telling of the fairy tale stars Blue is the Warmest Colour's Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel as the CGI Beast.

The French/German produced film will make its international debut at the festival but isn't up for contention in the Golden Bear prize.

House of Cards Season 2

A strange one this, given that it's not a film.

This Netflix-produced political thriller has Fight Club's David Fincher for an executive producer and Kevin Spacey in the leading role, so it certainly has a filmic quality and its first season was very well received last year.

Season 2 returns to Netflix on 14 February, but first two episodes will air at a special red carpet event in Berlin – the first TV show to receive such treatment.

A Long Way Down

About a Boy, Fever Pitch, High Fidelity – films based on Nick Hornby novels are usually pretty good and A Long Way Down appears to be no exception.

Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul star as four people who individually decide to commit suicide from the same rooftop on the same night. They meet and form a pact to not kill themselves until Valentine's Day and see if life can throw them something good.

Suicide isn't the subject of a lot of comedies, and it's a scenario with potential to devastate audiences come its release here in March, but Pascal Chaumeil's film has found a top drawer cast and judging from the trailer, they appear to play off each other extremely well.