UK director Joe Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's award-winning novel Atonement will open the Venice Film Festival's 64th edition.
As Wright's second directorial effort (after Pride & Prejudice) the selection underscores Venice Film Festival director Marco Mueller's focus on risk and innovation for the 64th edition of the Venice Film Festival.
The event will be the last of his four-year mandate, which he has repeatedly promised to be an edition that reveals 'the future of cinema.'
Mueller said the selection marks the first time in the festival's history that an opening film is the work of a young director. Mueller also said Atonement was 'a film the selecting committee has unanimously considered - in terms if emotive and visual power - to be even greater than some of the major films of many confirmed directors.'
The statement also underlined Venice's relevance as a confirmed promotional vehicle for Oscar compaigns: during Mueller's mandate, to date,51 films presented in Venice have received Oscar nominations.
Atonement stars James McAvoy, Kiera Knightley, Romola Garai, Saorise Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave.
Based on the award winning 2001 book of the same name by UK novelist Ian McEwan, Atonement begins in 1935 and tells the story of aspiring writer Briony Tallis who, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably alters the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's (Kiera Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he didn't commit.
The film is produced by co-chairmen of Working Title Films Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Paul Webster. The screenplay is adapted by Christopher Hampton.
The 64th edition of the Venice Film festival runs August 29-September 8th.