There were angry scenes in Venice over the weekend when it emerged that Italian distributor Filmauro had cancelled three of the five screenings planned for Woody Allen's new feature, Cassandra's Dream, starring Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor.

The reasons for the last-minute cancellations were shrouded in mystery.

Some well-placed sources suggested that Filmauro would have preferred to premiere the film at the Rome Film Fest rather than in Venice. Others speculated that the cancellations were intended to prevent review embargoes being broken. Whatever the reasons for the film being pulled, Filmauro's logo was roundly booed at the one press screening that did take place late on Saturday night.

Allen, a firm supporter of the Venice Festival, revealed at his press conference that he had finished shooting his new film (as yet untitled) in Barcelona five days ago.

He also expressed his enthusiasm for working in London, where he shot Match Point, Scoop and Cassandra's Dream. 'I certainly would love to make another film in London. It is a truly seductive place in which to work,' he said, praising evertything from UK technicians to the British weather.

Cassandra's Dream , which received a mixed reception, is one of Allen's darker films. He was unapologetic about making such a sombre movie.

'I have always felt that life itself is a tremendously tragic event, a real mess. It has comic moments in it,' Allen said. 'There are moments of pleasure and moments that are amusing but basically it is tragic. I have always wanted to be a tragic writer - a writer of tragic material. It just so happened that my most obvious strengths have been comic. I was always one of those comic people who - not that I wanted to play Hamlet - but I always wanted to write tragic things. I am finally getting the chance to do so now that I am getting older.'