Coen brothers' Western to kick off Berlin film fest

A remake of the classic Western "True Grit" by the Oscar-winning Coen brothers will open the 61st Berlin film festival in February, organisers said Wednesday.

US film-making siblings Joel and Ethan Coen are expected in the German capital to premiere the new picture, which will screen out of competition.

"Joel and Ethan Coen stand for first-rate American independent cinema," festival director Dieter Kosslick said in a statement.

"With their penchant for irony and off-the-wall characters and stories, they have repeatedly captivated audiences. 'True Grit' is a wonderful way to kick off the Berlinale 2011," as the festival is known.

"True Grit", a John Wayne picture from 1969, tells the story of a 14-year-old girl who sets out to find the man who murdered her father.

The new picture stars Coen favourite Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin as the killer.

The Coen brothers won an Academy Award for best original screenplay for their 1996 crime story "Fargo", which also scored a best actress gong for Joel's wife, Frances McDormand.

Their dark 2007 drama "No Country for Old Men" won three Oscars including best picture.

The Berlin film festival, Europe's first major international cinema showcase of the year, runs February 10 to 20.

Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini will chair the jury which selects the winners of the Golden and Silver Bear top prizes.

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