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February 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The Coen Brothers’ True Grit has touched off the 61st Berlin film festival — The Berlinale — giving the festival at least some opening-day star wattage. The film is screening out of competition, leaving the festival with mostly European and Asian fare that is likely to be viewed more for artistic value than for entertainment appeal. (“Better to have good films from unknowns than mediocre films with stars,” wrote Lars-Olav Beier, the film critic for Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.) While the festival had initially indicated that only the Coens would be appearing at a news conference called in connection with the screening, they brought with them the movie’s stars, Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, and Josh Brolin. Hundreds of mostly European entertainment writers packed the news conference, and their questions were typical of the sort that entertainment writers ask in America. One reporter, apparently unfamiliar with 19th century language usage, remarked that the dialogue in the movie sounded “biblical” to her and asked Bridges to comment on it. Bridges, still looking grizzled as his Rooster Cogburn character, replied that he faced two hurdles: one was talking without any “contractions;” the other was speaking in an authentic Arkansas dialect that could be understood. In some scenes, the Coens decided to go with English-to-English subtitles.