The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival kicks off on Thursday with a martial arts epic from Hong Kong. The festival's director says this year's selection pays particularly close attention to women, indigenous peoples and life in Eastern Europe.


The Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale for short) is an operation of superlatives. No other festival in the world receives as many visitors: In 2012, nearly 300,000 tickets were sold, more than 3,800 journalists covered the event and some 16,000 accredited industry specialists were in attendance. This year's festival, taking place Feb. 7 to 17, is screening 404 films, 19 of which are competing for the coveted top prize, the Golden Bear.