From the work of previous Golden Lion winners to the pick of this year’s debut film-makers, Screen profiles the hot films playing in and out of competition.

In Competition

At Any Price (US)

Dir Ramin Bahrani

Bahrani’s third feature to screen in Venice after Goodbye Solo and Man Push Cart sees him return to the Lido with a family drama set in the competitive world of modern agriculture. Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron headline the story about a reluctant scion of a farming empire who goes against his father’s wishes when he pursues his dream of becoming a racing driver. An investigation into the family business shakes up everything. Sony Pictures Classics is distributor in North America and Eastern Europe, excluding CIS and Russia.

Contact Exclusive Media -

Betrayal (Rus)

Dir Kirill Serebrennikov

Since moving into film, acclaimed Russian theatre director Serebrennikov has earned international festival success with Playing The Victim (2006) and Yuri’s Day (2008). His drama Betrayal (Izmena) is about two people who meet by chance and learn their partners are lovers. Sabina Eremeeva (Brotherhood Of Men, Truce) produces. Franziska Petri and Dejan Lilic star.

Contact Elle Driver -

Dormant Beauty (It-Fr)

Dir Marco Bellocchio

Italian stalwart Bellocchio - who received Venice’s Golden Lion for lifetime achievement last year - recruited a cast including Toni Servillo, Isabelle Huppert and Alba Rohrwacher for Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata), a multi-stranded drama exploring the morality of euthanasia. The film looks at a number of disparate people affected in different ways by the famous case of Eluana Englaro, whose father lobbied for her feeding tube to be removed after 17 years in a vegetative state. The film heads to Toronto after Venice. 01 Distribution handles the local release.

Contact Celluloid Dreams -

The Fifth Season (Bel-Neth-Fr)

Dirs Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth

The third instalment in Brosens’ and Woodworth’s enigmatic trilogy about the relationship between man and nature, The Fifth Season (La Cinquieme Saison) charts the devastating results of a never-ending winter in a small Belgian village. Faced with the prospect of famine, the villagers look for someone to blame. Khadak, the first in the pair’s trilogy, won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at Venice in 2006.

Contact Films Boutique -

Fill The Void (Isr)

Dir Rama Burshtein

First-time feature director Burshtein, one of four female directors in Competition, has dedicated herself to teaching and promoting film as a means of self-expression within the orthodox Jewish community. Fill The Void (Lemale Et Ha’Chalal) tells the story of an 18-year-old girl in an orthodox Hasidic family who is torn between following her heart and family duty. Lucky Red has Italian rights.

Contact The Match Factory -

Un Giorno Speciale (It)

Dir Francesca Comencini

Comencini’s The White Space screened in Venice in 2009 and picked up four awards. The Italian director returns to the Lido with this day-in-a-life story of a man and a woman from Rome’s suburbs whose shared car journey from the city’s outskirts to the centre serves as an opportunity to compare their life experiences. Newcomers Filippo Scicchitano and Giulia Valentini star. Lucky Red has Italian rights.

Contact Palomar -

It Was The Son (It-Fr)

Dir Daniele Cipri

Toni Servillo stars as the head of a dysfunctional Neapolitan family that receives a compensation pay-out after their daughter is caught in a shootout between gangsters. Acclaimed Italian cinematographer Cipri, who shot Marco Bellocchio’s Competition entry Dormant Beauty, co-scripted the drama with Massimo Gaudioso, regular writing partner of Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone.

Contact Rai Trade -

Lines Of Wellington (Port-Fr)

Dir Valeria Sarmiento

Originally set to be directed by the late Raul Ruiz, the director’s widow Sarmiento took over directing duties for the historical epic after his death. Lines Of Wellington (Linhas De Wellington) features an all-star cast including John Malkovich, Marisa Paredes, Melvil Poupaud and Mathieu Amalric and takes place in 1810 during the French invasion of Portugal and the Battle of Bussaco between French forces and the Anglo-Portuguese army. The film is set to be expanded into a television mini-series after its theatrical release.

Contact Alfama Films -

The Master (US)

Dir Paul Thomas Anderson

Screening in 70mm in Venice, Anderson’s much-anticipated The Master tells the story of a man who creates a new religion in the US in the 1950s. Expected to be a big awards-season contender, the film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. Anderson is one of 12 directors in Venice screening in Competition for the first time. The Master will also screen at Toronto.

Contact The Weinstein Company -

Outrage Beyond (Jap)

Dir Takeshi Kitano

Kitano’s first sequel, Outrage Beyond is a follow-up to his 2010 Cannes Competition entry Outrage and sees the director - as Beat Takeshi - reprise his role as crime boss Otomo, recently released from prison to become involved in a yakuza feud and police crackdown. Warner Bros will release the film in Japan in October on more than 200 screens. Kitano won the Golden Lion in 1997 for Hana-Bi and picked up the best director Silver Lion for Zatoichi in 2003.

Contact Celluloid Dreams -

Paradise: Faith (Aust-Fr-Ger)

Dir Ulrich Seidl

The second part of Austrian provocateur Seidl’s Paradise trilogy (after Cannes competitor Paradise: Love) Paradise: Faith (Paradies: Glaube) is about the religious Anna Maria. The sister of the first film’s protagonist, Teresa, Anna Maria carries a statue of the Virgin Mary around Vienna - but her life with Jesus is disrupted when her estranged husband returns home. Seidl won Venice’s grand jury prize in 2001 with Dog Days (Hundstage).

Contact Coproduction Office -

Passion (Fr-Ger)

Dir Brian De Palma

A woman plots murderous revenge after her boss and mentor steals her idea in De Palma’s remake of 2010 French production Love Crime. Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace star in the director’s first film since controversial Iraq war drama Redacted, which also premiered at Venice. Said Ben Said produces with German partners Integral Film.

Contact SBS Films -; Wild Bunch -

Pieta (S Kor)

Dir Kim Ki-duk

The 18th feature from the prolific Korean auteur, Pieta tells the story of a merciless loan shark who meets a woman claiming to be his mother. The film, starring Choi Min-soo and Lee Jeong-jin, will be released in South Korea by Next Entertainment World. Kim’s romantic drama 3-Iron picked up four prizes in Venice in 2004, including a special director award.

Contact Finecut -

Something In The Air (Fr)

Dir Olivier Assayas

Assayas makes his Venice bow with Something In The Air (Apres Mai), a drama about a Parisian student with an artistic bent who is caught up in the political scene of the early 1970s. Clément Métayer makes his feature debut in the lead role, alongside Goodbye First Love actress Lola Créton. IFC distributes in the US.

Contact MK2 -

Spring Breakers (US)

Dir Harmony Korine

James Franco joins young stars Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens in a more accessible work from Trash Humpers and Gummo auteur Korine. Franco, sporting gold teeth and cornrow-braided hair, plays a rapper who meets four college girls on spring break in Florida. Clips were shown in Cannes to a strong response from buyers, with deals including Mars for France, Wild Bunch for Germany, Icon for Australia and Svensk for Scandinavia.

Contact Kinology -

Superstar (Fr- Bel)

Dir Xavier Giannoli

Giannoli’s Venice debut is a comedy about a nobody who becomes a celebrity - without knowing why. French comic actor Kad Merad plays the average Joe, with Cécile De France co-starring. The director’s two previous efforts, In The Beginning and Quand J’Etais Chanteur, played in Competition at Cannes. Edouard Weil produces for Rectangle Productions.

Contact Wild Bunch -

Thy Womb (Phil)

Dir Brillante Mendoza

Mendoza screened Lola in Competition on the Lido in 2009 and returns to Venice with the true story of a midwife struggling with her own infertility. Thy Womb (Sinapupunan) marks the return to the screen of Filipina actress, singer and producer Nora Auno. Mendoza’s films including Kinatay and Serbis played in Cannes; Captive played in Berlin competition earlier this year.


To The Wonder (US)

Dir Terrence Malick

The master returns with the first of a handful of new works in the pipeline. Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams lead a hot cast that includes Javier Bardem and Olga Kurylenko in the tale about a couple who arrive in Oklahoma and form life-changing relationships.

Contact US: CAA -; Int’l: FilmNation -

Out of competition

Bad 25 (US)

Dir Spike Lee

Lee shot music videos for Michael Jackson and collaborated here with Sony Music and the Jackson estate to document how his friend followed up the bestseller Thriller. The film traces the recording of Bad and the subsequent world tour and promises fresh footage of the performer in action, alongside interviews with music business luminaries. The Venice premiere marks the 25th anniversary re-issue of the album. There are no plans to open Bad 25 in theatres but at time of writing a US broadcast deal was close to being announced.

Contact Optimum Productions c/o Ziffren Brittenham LLP -

Bait 3D (Aus-Sing)

Dir Kimble Rendall

Bait 3D is set in a sleepy town where shoppers and a robber are trapped in an underground supermarket after a tsunami - at the mercy of a school of ravenous sharks. Xavier Samuel, Sharni Vinson, Julian McMahon and Adrian Pang star. Anchor Bay Films has picked up North American rights to the film, which was produced by Gary Hamilton, Todd Fellman and Peter Barber.

Contact Arclight Films -

Cherchez Hortense (Fr)

Dir Pascal Bonitzer

Jean-Pierre Bacri, Isabelle Carré and Kristin Scott Thomas star in this comedy from the director of Small Cuts. The film tells the story of a professor who has a complex relationship with his civil servant father, from whom he must ask for help getting residency papers for his wife’s friend. Said Ben Said of SBS Productions produces, while Le Pacte will release in France.

Contact SBS Productions -

The Company You Keep (US)

Dir Robert Redford

Redford has always had a penchant for telling stories about the dark side of politics and he is back with a new thriller. He plays a former Weather Underground activist wanted for murder who goes on the run when an ambitious reporter - played by Shia LaBeouf - exposes him. What ensues is a cross-country manhunt as the older man fights to clear his name. Julie Christie and Nick Nolte flesh out the supporting cast.

Contact US: CAA -; Int’l: Voltage Pictures -

Disconnect (US)

Dir Henry-Alex Rubin

After his Oscar-nominated documentary about wheelchair rugby, Murderball, and award-winning commercials, Rubin makes his narrative feature directing debut with this story of contemporary people “searching for human connection in today’s wired world”. Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Hilton and William Horberg produce, while Marc Forster and Brad Simpson are exec producers. The hot cast includes Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Nyqvist, Jason Bateman, Hope Davis and Andrea Riseborough.

Contact US: CAA -; Int’l: Exclusive Media -

Enzo Avitabile Music Life (It-US)

Dir Jonathan Demme

Oscar-winner Demme, famed for his films about Talking Heads and Neil Young among others, sets his sights on the Italian jazz fusion artist Enzo Avitabile. The documentary is a portrait of the singer-songwriter and saxophonist as well as his home of Naples. Demme brought his acclaimed Rachel Getting Married to Venice in 2008 and this documentary serves as the second film on opening night.

Contact Rai Trade -

Forgotten (Ger)

Dir Alex Schmidt

Screening as a midnight showing in Venice, Forgotten (Du Hast Es Versprochen) is the feature debut by acclaimed shorts director Schmidt. The film, a mystery thriller about two friends from childhood who are haunted by ghosts during an island vacation, stars Mina Tander and Laura de Boer.

Sales Beta Cinema -

Gebo And The Shadow (Port-Fr)

Dir Manoel De Oliveira

The latest film from the 104-year-old Portuguese auteur, this French-language period drama is based on a play by Raul Brandao and tells the story of a loving father putting himself at risk to protect his runaway son. Gebo And The Shadow (Gebo Et L’Ombre) is produced by MACT Productions and O Som E A Furia, and stars Michael Lonsdale, Claudia Cardinale, Jeanne Moreau, Leonor Silveira, Ricardo Trepa and Luis Miguel Cintra. Epicentre Films will release in France.

Contact Pyramide International -

The Iceman (US)

Dir Ariel Vromen

Michael Shannon plays true-life contract killer Richard Kuklinski, who is reputed to have killed more than 250 people between 1949-86. Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta and James Franco also star. The film was produced by veteran sales agent Ehud Bleiberg who spent more than four years trying to bring it to the big screen. (Bleiberg is not selling the rights to this film).

Contact US: Avi Lerner, Mark Gill -; Int’l: Nu Image -;

Love Is All You Need (Den-Swe)

Dir Susanne Bier

Love Is All You Need (Den Skaldede Frisor), Bier’s follow-up to her Oscar-winning In A Better World, is a romantic comedy set in Italy. Trine Dyrholm stars as a woman recovering from cancer and a divorce who develops a close bond with the father of her daughter’s fiancé, played by Pierce Brosnan. TrustNordisk sold out on the film at Cannes this year with deals struck with the likes of the UK (Arrow Films), India (Picture Works) and Mexico (Cine Video). Sony Pictures Classics has North America, while Nordisk will release in Scandinavia later this year.

Contact TrustNordisk -

Lullaby To My Father (Isr-Fr-Switz)

Dir Amos Gitai

Israeli auteur Gitai first came to Venice in 1989 with the award-winning Berlin-Jerusalem, returning with films such as Disengagement, Promised Land and Eden. This film is the highly personal story of Gitai’s father, Munio Weinraub, a Bauhaus architecture and design student accused of treason in Hitler’s Germany. The cast features Jeanne Moreau, Hanna Schygulla and Yael Abecassis. Venice will also present 2009’s Carmel, about Gitai’s mother.

Contact Agav Films -

The Man Who Laughs (Fr-Czech) (closing film)

Dir Jean-Pierre Améris

A new adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1869 novel, romantic drama The Man Who Laughs (L’Homme Qui Rit) centres around Marc-André Grondin’s Gwynplaine, a man who is facially disfigured. He is taken in by travelling showman Ursus (Gérard Depardieu) and falls in love with blind woman Déa (Christa Theret). Director Améris’ credits include the drama Lightweight, which screened in Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2004.

Contact EuropaCorp -

Penance (Jap)

Dir Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Japanese director Kurosawa (The Cure, Tokyo Sonata) previously screened at Venice in an out-of-competition midnight slot with Sakebi in 2006 and he returns to the Lido to screen this five-part TV drama. Starring Kyoko Koizumi, Yu Aoi, Eiko Koike, Sakura Ando and Chizuru Ikewaki, Penance (Shokuzai) tells the story of a group of students who witness the murder of a young girl and later deal with the vengeful mother.

Contact Free Stone Productions -

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Ind-Pak-US) (opening film)

Dir Mira Nair

Based on Mohsin Hamid’s bestseller, this tells the story of a Pakistani man on the verge of making it big on Wall Street who becomes conflicted with the American dream after 9/11. The cast includes Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan and Om Puri. The film also plays in Toronto. Nair won the Golden Lion in 2001 for Monsoon Wedding.

Contact US: Bart Walker, Cinetic/Hal Sadoff; Int’l: K5 International -

Tai Chi 0 (Ch)

Dir Stephen Fung

The first part in a trilogy, this martial-arts tale is about a man’s long journey to find his Tai Chi mentor and the army of invaders he must fight to protect a village. The film stars Yuan Xiaochao, Angelababy, Eddie Peng, Tony Leung Ka-fai, William Feng and Shu Qi and will be released in 2D and 3D versions in China on September 27. Tai Chi 0 also plays at Toronto, while Well Go USA Entertainment and Variance Films will release in North America in October. Actor-director Fung also directed 2005’s House Of Fury and 2009’s Jump.

Contact Huayi Brothers Media Corp -

The Tightrope (Fr-It)

Dir Simon Brook

A documentary shot with five hidden cameras, The Tightrope marks the first time in 40 years legendary theatre director Peter Brook has agreed to raise the curtain on his methods. It follows Brook, actors and musicians during the course of a workshop conceived around an exercise called the tightrope. The Brook Productions film was co-produced by CinemaUndici and Arte France.

Contact Films Distribution -

Selected out of competition special screenings


Dir Lyubov Arkus

Contact CTB Film Company -


Dirs Daniele Incalcaterra, Fausta Quattrini

Contact Doc & Film Int’l -


Dir Hinde Boujemaa



Dir Carlo Mazzacurati

Contact Argonauti -

the human cargo (It-Alb)

Dir Daniele Vicari

Contact Rai Trade -



Dir Tobias Lindholm

Sales TrustNordisk -


Dir Yesim Ustaoglu

Contact The Match Factory -


Dir Salvatore Mereu



Dir Bernard Rose 

Contact Andrew Orr, Independent -


Dir Idan Hubel

Contact Urban Distribution International -


Dir Ruijun Li 

Contact PAD International -


Dir Ivano De Matteo

Contact Rodeo Drive -


Dir Leonardo Di Costanzo

Contact Rai Trade -

LEONES (Arg-Fr-Neth)

Dir Jazmin Lopez

Contact Premium Films -


Dir Roberto Minervini

Contact Doc & Film International -

me too (Rus)

Dir Alexey Balabanov

Contact Intercinema Agency -


Dir Koji Wakamatsu

Contact Celluloid Dreams -


Dir Frédéric Fonteyne

Contact Films Distribution -


Dir Kianoosh Ayyari



Dir Wang Bing

Contact Album Productions -

WADJDA (S Arabia-Ger)

Dir Haifaa Al Mansour

Contact The Match Factory -


Dir Ibrahim El Batout

Contact Daniel Ziskind -

YEMA (Alg-Fr)

Dir Djamila Sahraoui

Contact Les Films de l’Olivier -

Film profiles by Leon Forde, Jeremy Kay, Wendy Mitchell, Ian Sandwell and Andreas Wiseman