Martin Scorsese has pulled his much-awaited Italian cinema documentary out of this year's Venice film festival, saying that the four-hour film, entitled Il Mio Viaggio In Italia is not yet ready to be screened.
"Due to the nature of working with old films and elements that are sometimes forty and fifty years old, the process has been very different than that of making a new release," Scorsese said from Rome, where he is about to start filming Gangs Of New York with Leonardo di Caprio and Cameron Diaz.
"There are many more steps involved in creating a print, and it takes much more time due to the care and delicacy with which we have to handle the elements. I wish there was some way we could speed this process along, but there just isn't. We've done everything possible and cannot have a print ready for you," the US director explained. A brief preview of the documentary, which is a tribute to Scorsese's cinematic influences and was due to be screened out of competition, was shown at last year's festival.
Festival director Alberto Barbera announced that two new titles will be added to the line-up and screened out of competition: UK director David Mamet's State And Main with Alec Baldwin, produced by FilmTown Entertainment and sold internationally by UGC International, and Hal Hartley's short film Kimono, which will be screened as part of the Filmmakers of Today sidebar.
Meanwhile, Hugh Grant and Johnny Depp both announced that they will not attend the festival. Depp stars in Sally Potter's competition title The Man Who Cried, and Grant is a cast member of Woody Allen's out-of-competition film Small Time Crooks.
The 57th edition of the Venice film festival opened on August 30 with Clint Eastwood's Space Cowboys, and will close on September 9 with Tony Gatlif's Vengo. The festival is paying a special tribute to Eastwood, with a retrospective of 13 of his films, including episodes of 1960s TV series Rawhide, and a freshly restored version of Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Eastwood also received a Golden Lion career award from Sharon Stone during the opening ceremony, which was presided by Italian actress Chiara Caselli and attended by a line-up of stars including Space Cowboys co-stars James Gardner, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones.