BERLIN, Jan 10, 2007 (AFP) - A biopic on the rollercoaster life of France's beloved torch singer Edith Piaf will open the 57th Berlin International Film Festival next month, organizers said Wednesday.
French filmmaker Olivier Dahan's "La Vie en Rose" starring Marion Cotillard as the legendary songstress will launch the competition among about 20 pictures for the event's coveted Golden Bear top prize.
French stars Gerard Depardieu, Sylvie Testud and Emmanuelle Seigner, all featured in supporting roles, are also expected for the red-carpet premiere.
Piaf, best known for classics including "Non, je regrette rien" and the film's title song, became a French icon for her soulful voice and turbulent life.
She spent some of her illness-wracked early years in the brothel her mother ran before shooting to international stardom in the 1940s. Her death of cancer in 1963 brought hundreds of thousands of mourners onto the streets of Paris.
The Berlinale has not yet announced its complete line-up but World War II-era dramas are set to figure prominently.
Robert De Niro will bring "The Good Shepherd", the tale of an idealistic Yale graduate recruited by US intelligence in the 1940s. The film marks the actor's second outing as a director and also stars Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie.
And Steven Soderbergh will present "The Good German" in which George Clooney plays a US journalist who becomes embroiled in a murder conspiracy in postwar Berlin. Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire co-star in the black-and-white film.
British singer and actress Marianne Faithfull will appear in the Belgian-German-British competition entry "Irina Palm" as a down-on-her-luck widow forced to take a job in a sex club.
Oscar-winning Danish director Bille August will unveil "Goodbye Bafana", featuring Joseph Fiennes as a South African prison guard whose life is transformed when he meets Nelson Mandela.
This year's first Asian entry is "I'm A Cyborg But That's OK" by South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook about a delusional, love-struck young woman.
The Berlinale, running February 8 to 18, ranks just below Cannes and alongside Venice among Europe's premier film festivals.
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