Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing In The Yemen will open the 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival on Thursday, January 5, fest officials announced today. Closing gala presentation January 15 will be Almanya, Welcome to Germany. Salmon Fishing In The Yemen stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas in the unconventional comedy adapted by Simon Beaufoy from Paul Torday’s novel. Salmon Fishing opens March 9 in the US through CBS Fims. The closing movie Almanya, Welcome To Germany is also a comedy, observing multiple generations of a German-Turkish clan. It’s directed by Yasemin Samdereli. Traditionally a foreign-langage film showcase, the festival for 2012 features 187 films from 73 countries, including 60 premieres — 2 world, 22 North American and 36 U.S.
The rest of the lineup from the release:
World premieres include: Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden and Aidan Quinn in If I Were You (Canada/UK) and Michael O’Keefe in A Thousand Cuts (USA).
North American premieres include: Asma’a (Egypt), Baikonur (Kazakhstan/Germany, Russia), Beast (Denmark), By the Fire (Chile/Germany, Spain), Cold Steel (China), Happy New Year, Grandma! (Spain), Hotel Lux (Germany), How Big is Your Love (Algeria/Morocco), Love in the Medina (Morocco), Lovely Man (Indonesia), Off White Lies (Israel), The Perfect Stranger (Spain), Real Truths. The Life of Estela (Argentina); The Rif Lover (Morocco/France, Belgium), Run for Life (Serbia/Japan), Sea Shadow (United Arab Emirates), Three Quarter Moon (Germany), Time to Spare (Netherlands), Transit Cities (Jordan), Women with Cows (Sweden), Wreckers (UK) and Wrinkles (Spain).
U.S. premieres include: Alois Nebel (Czech Republic/Germany), Arranged Happiness (Germany/India), Back to your Arms (Lithuania/Germany, Poland), Blood of My Blood (Portugal), The British Guide to Showing Off (UK), Academy Award winners Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker in Cloudburst (Canada/USA), Come As You Are (Belgium), Die Standing Up (Mexico), Edwin Boyd (Canada), Elena (Russia), Expiration Date (Mexico), Juliette Lewis in Foreverland (Canada), Generation P (Russia/USA), The Girls in the Band (USA), The Graveyard Keeper’s Daughter (Estonia), Guilty (France), Habibi (Palestinian, Territories/USA, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates), Las Acacias (Argentina/Spain), Last Winter (Belgium/France), Lena (Netherlands/Belgium), Let My People Go! (France), Lucky (South Africa/India), Michel Petrucciani (France/Germany, Italy), North Sea Texas (Belgium), Nuit #1 (Canada), Omar Killed Me (Morocco/France), The Orator (New Zealand/Samoa), P-047 (Thailand), Rumble of the Stones (Venezuela), Simon and the Oaks (Sweden/Norway, Denmark, Germany), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (France), Sons of Norway (Norway/France/Denmark/Sweden), Summer Games (Switzerland/Italy), SuperClásico (Denmark), The Tall Man (Australia) and Watch Indian Circus (India).
Haywire (USA) – Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Director: Steven Soderbergh. Cast: Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas.
The Modern Masters section features films from some of the true auteurs of contemporary cinema including Christoffer Boe, Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, Robert Guédiguian, Masato Harada, Chen Kaige, Nanni Moretti, Pawel Pawlikowski, Michael Radford, Lynne Ramsay, and Andrey Zvyaginstev.
Beast (Denmark) – An obsessive, destructive love transforms a caring husband into a bloodthirsty beast in this perversely fascinating psychodrama. Director: Christoffer Boe. Cast: Nicolas Bro, Marijana Jankovic, Nikolaj Lie Kaas.
Chronicle of My Mother (Japan) – Masato’s moving, impeccably acted period drama about the relationship between a self-centered writer and his aging mother draws from an autobiographical novel by Inoue Yasushi. Director: Masato Harada. Cast: Koji Yakushiko, Kirin Kiki, Aoi Miyazaki, Rentaro Mikuni.
Elena (Russia) – An engrossing yarn about a coveted inheritance, cruel class differences and quietly monstrous misdeeds, Elena paints a chilling portrait of Russia’s post-Communist consumer society as culture entirely lacking in morality. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev. Cast: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov, Elena Lyadova, Alexey Rozin.
Habemus Papam (Italy/France) – Habemus papam! is the phrase that announces the election of the new pontiff – but what happens if the chosen man does not want the job? Nanni Moretti imagines with comedy and pathos a crisis in the Vatican when Cardinal Melville refuses to address the Catholic faithful as their new spiritual leader. Director: Nanni Moretti. Cast: Michel Piccoli, Nanni Moretti, Jerzy Stuhr, Renato Scarpa, Franco Graziosi, Margherita Buy, Dario Cantarelli
The Kid with a Bike (Belgium/France, Italy) – Fate drops an angry 11-year-old in the path of a kind-hearted hairdresser. The boy’s intensity drives the Dardennes’ Cannes prize-winning film, but the woman’s tenderness and compassion create rare moments of grace in this heartbreaking tale of abandonment. Directors: Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne. Cast: Cecile de France, Thomas Doret, Jeremie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, Egon di Mateo.
Michel Petrucciani (France/Germany, Italy) – Petrucciani was born with a crippling genetic disorder that prevented him from growing more than three feet tall. Yet he become one the greatest jazz pianists. A wonderful documentary portrait of a larger-than-life personality by director Michael Radford (Il Postino).
Sacrifice (China) – Fifth Generation master Chen is back on top with this sumptuous Yuan Dynasty tale of mistaken identity, court intrigue, murder, and revenge. Baby Zhao is saved by his family doctor and raised by him to exact revenge on the General who murdered the Zhao clan. Director: Chen Kaige. Cast: Ge You, Wang Xueqi, Huang Xiaoming, Fan Bingbing, Hai Qing, Ahang Fengyi.
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (France) – Veteran Robert Guédiguian, Marseilles’s answer to Mike Leigh, delivers a potent, moving slice of life as an aging trade unionist and his wife try to come to terms with a traumatic home invasion – and the knowledge that they know the perpetrator. Director: Robert Guédiguian. Cast: Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gerard Meylan, Gregoire LePrince-Ringuet, Maryline Canto, Anais Demoustier
We Need to Talk About Kevin (UK) – Two years after her teenage son commits a horrific crime, Eva (Tilda Swinton) tries to come to terms with her marriage, career, and parenthood. A grippingly cinematic, searingly honest film from the director of Ratcatcher and Morvern Callar. Director: Lynne Ramsay. Cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Siobhan Fallon, Ursula Parker, Ashley Gerasimovich.
The Woman in the Fifth (UK/France, Poland) – Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas star in this mind-bending psychological thriller about an American writer in Paris trying to reconnect with his daughter, whose grip on reality loosens in part due to the influence of Scott Thomas’s mysterious femme fatale. Director: Pawel Pawlikowski. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas, Samir Guesmi, Joanna Kulig.
Other Festival films with notable talent and directors include: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs (Ireland); Ewan McGregor, Eva Green, Ewen Bremner and Connie Nielsen in Perfect Sense (UK/Germany, Sweden, Denmark); Linda Cardellini, Michael Shannon, John Slattery in Return (USA); Sal (USA) directed by James Franco; and Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Bob Balaban, Lea Thompson in Thin Ice (USA).