Just four months and one week after being appointed to the job, Venice artistic director Moritz de Hadeln (pictured) has unveiled a glitzy roster of international premieres such as Julie Taymor's biopic Frida which opens the Venice 59 competition, Stephen Daldry's The Hours, Liliana Cavani's Ripley's Game and Steven Soderbergh's (pictured) Full Frontal.
Calling the feat of assembling a festival in so short a time "a miracle," de Hadeln said he hoped to have respected the wishes of everyone, from the desire for "more glamour as well as the discovery of new talent."
As such, 19 first features are set to unspool at the Biennale, while guests expected to attend include Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Catherine Deneuve and Italian diva Sofia Loren, who will be returning to the Lido after a 20-year absence to support her son Edoardo Ponti's debut, Between Strangers.
De Hadeln chose to retain the double competition established last year by his predecessor Alberto Barbera, but underlined his desire to ensure that the differences between both sections are more clearly defined, with Venice 59 dedicated to more "classical" fare while Against The Mainstream (Controcorrente), the competition previously known as Cinema of the Present, offering more cutting-edge pictures.
Titles in Venice 59 include Sergej Bodrov's widely anticipated Bear's Kiss, as well as The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep and Ed Harris, and Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things, with Amelie darling Audrey Tautou, Takeshi Kitano's new directorial effort, Dolls, Sam Mendes's Road To Perdition and Patrice Leconte's L'homme Du Train featuring veteran actor Jean Rochefort and iconic French rocker Johnny Hallyday.
Meanwhile, Against the Mainstream will feature Public Toilet by Fruit Chan, whose Hollywood Hong Kong last year premiered in the "classic" competition, as well as Claire Denis' Vendredi Soir with Vincent Lindon, Lukas Moodysson's Lilja 4-Ever, Arturo Ripstein's La Virgen De La Lujuria, Tian Zhuangzhuang's Springtime In A Small Town and Soderbergh's Full Frontal.
A broad selection of movies will premiere out-of-competition, including Clint Eastwood's Bloodwork, Kathryn Bigelow's K-19, Fine Line's widely-anticipated Ripley's Game, which was filmed on location in Venice and follows Tom Ripley 20 years after the events portrayed in The Talented Mr Ripley ; Todd Haynes's Far From Heaven with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid, and Edoardo Ponti's Between Strangers.
Italian cinema will be well-represented with four films in competition: Michele Placido's Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore will be screened in Venice 59 as will Daniele Vicari's debut, Velocita' Massima and Piergiorgio Gay's La Forza Del Passato, while Sergio Rubini's L'anima Gemella will premiere in Against The Mainstream and Paolo Virzi's My Name is Tanino will screen out-of-competition.
The names of jury members as well as the festival's closing film are expected to be announced next week.
Full line up:
Bear's Kiss by Sergei Bodrov (Germany/France/Spain/Italy/Sweden)
Fuehrer Ex by Winfried Bonengel (Germany)
The Best Of Times (Meili Shiguang) by Tso-Chi Chang (Taiwan)
The Hours by Stephen Daldry (USA)
Un Monde Presque Paisible (On The Brink Of Peace - unofficial English title) by Michel Deville (France)
Naked (Nackt) by Doris Dorrie (Germany)
Dirty Pretty Things by Stephen Frears (Britain)
The Power Of The Past (La Forza Del Passato) by Piergiorgio Gay (Italy)
My Voice (Nha Fala) by Flora Gomes (Portugal/France/Luxembourg)
The Tracker by Rolf de Heer (Australia)
Julie Walking Home by Agnieszka Holland (Germany/Poland/Canada)
Dolls by Takeshi Kitano (Japan)
The Madhouse (Dom Durakov) by Andrei Konchalovsky (Russia/France)
L'Homme Du Train (The Man On The Train - unofficial English title) by Patrice Leconte (France)
Oasis by Chang-Dong Lee (South Korea)
Au Plus Pres Du Paradis (As Close As Possible To Paradise - unofficial English title) by Tonie Marshall (France/Spain/Canada)
Road To Perdition by Sam Mendes (USA)
The Magdalene Sisters by Peter Mullan (Britain)
A Journey Called Love (Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore) by Michele Placido (Italy)
Frida by Julie Taymor (USA)
Top Speed (Velocita Massima) by Daniele Vicari (Italy).
Against The Mainstream (Controcorrente)
Public Toilet (Renmin Gongche), by Fruit Chan; Hong Kong-Korea.
Ken Park, by Larry Clark and Ed Lachman; United States-Holland-France.
Vendredi Soir, by Claire Denis; France.
Un Homme Sans L'occident, by Raymond Depardon; France.
Poniente, by Chus Gutierrez; Spain.
Women's Prison (Zendan-e Zanan), by Manijeh Hekmat; Iran.
Missing Gun (Xun Qiang), by Lu Chuan; China.
Lilly's Story, by Roviros Manthoulis; Greece-France.
Lilja 4-Ever, by Lukas Moodysson; Sweden-Denmark.
La Virgen De La Lujuria, by Arturo Ripstein; Spain-Mexico-Portugal.
L'anima Gemella, by Sergio Rubini; Italy.
Rosa La China, by Valeria Sarmiento; Portugal-Spain-Cuba-France.
Full Frontal, by Steven Soderbergh; United States.
Music For Weddings And Funerals (Musikk For Bryllup Og Begravelse), by Unni
Springtime In A Small Town (Xiaocheng Zhi Chun), by Tian Zhuangzhuang; China-Hong Kong-France.
A Snake Of June (Rokugatsu No Hebi), by Shinya Tsukamoto; Japan.
The Lease (Nuomos Sutartis), by Kristijonas Vildziunas; Lithuania.