Terrence Malick’s mysterious ‘Knight of Cups’ to debut at Berlin Film Festival

The first paparazzi photos from Terrence Malick”s “Knight of Cups” surfaced in October 2012. Featuring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman playing in the ocean, it looked as poetic and narrative-less as anyone could hope from the “Badlands” and “Tree of Life” director. Since the shoot, Malick shot a second film (set around the Austin music scene… we think) and fought a few legal battles over his “Tree of Life” IMAX companion film “Voyage of Time.” So we”ll forgive him that it”s taken this long for “Knight of Cups” to actually make its way on to the theater circuit and towards an actual release date.

Monday morning, the 65th Berlin Film Festival announced the first seven films to be included in its 2015 Competition program. And whaddaya know – “Knight of Cups” is on it! Starring Bale, Portman, and Cate Blanchett, the film is about… well, we”re not sure. When The Hollywood Reporter debuted the first official still from the picture – recreating those less-than-desirable beach shots – they teased described the “tightly guarded plot” as a story about “celebrities and excess.” Isabel Lucas, Teresa Palmer, Joel Kinnamin, Freida Pino, Antonio Banderas, Nick Offerman, Imogen Poots, Thomas Lennon, Wes Bentley, Shea Winham, and Ryan O'Neal all apparently shot a few days on the film, but, in the grand Malickian tradition, whether they”ll make the final cut is unclear.

Other new films in the mix include the latest from  Berlinale Silver Bear winner Andreas Dresen (“Grill Point”) and the latest from Andrew Haigh, director of “Weekend” and executive producer-director of HBO”s “Looking.” Kenneth Branagh”s “Cinderella” is also included in the Competition lineup, though it will play out of competition, just to be extra confusing. 

See the full list of announced films below:

“45 Years”
United Kingdom
By Andrew Haigh (“Weekend”)
With Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
World premiere

“Als wir träumten (As We Were Dreaming)”
Germany / France
By Andreas Dresen (“Grill Point,” “Cloud 9,” “Stopped on Track”)
With Merlin Rose, Julius Nitschkoff, Joel Basman, Marcel Heuperman, Frederic Haselon, Ruby O. Fee
World premiere

By Kenneth Branagh (“Hamlet”)
With Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi und Helena Bonham Carter
International premiere – Out of competition

“Eisenstein in Guanajuato”
The Netherlands / Mexico / Belgium / Finland
By Peter Greenaway (“The Tulse Luper Suitcases”)
With Elmer Bäck, Luis Alberti
World premiere

“Ixcanul (Ixcanul Volcano)”
Guatemala / France
By Jayro Bustamante
With María Mercedes Coroy, María Telón, Manuel Antún, Justo Lorenzo, Marvin Coroy
World premiere – Debut feature

“Knight of Cups”
By Terrence Malick (“The Thin Red Line”)
With Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman
World premiere

“Pod electricheskimi oblakami (Under Electric Clouds)”
Russian Federation / Ukraine / Poland
By Alexey German (“Paper Soldier”)
With Lui Frank, Merab Ninidze, Viktoriya Korotkova, Chulpan Khamatova, Anastasiya Melnikova, Piotr Gasowski
World premiere

The 65th Berlin Film Festival runs Feb. 5-15, 2015.