The Italian flag will fly high over the Lido this year. Following a strong showing at Cannes, four local titles will screen in competition at the 65th Venice film festival, with the Italian industry out in force with 20 films.
Artistic director Marco Mueller reportedly had to make an official request to bend the rules that limit Italian competition pictures to three. The four films are Pappi Corsicato's Il Seme Della Discordia, a comedy about fertility, Ferzan Ozpetek's Un Giorno Perfetto, an adaptation of Melania Mazzucco's novel, Marco Bechis' Amazon-set Birdwatchers, and Pupi Avati's Il Papa Di Giovanna about a father-daughter relationship.
Notably, there is one fewer US feature in competition than last year, none solely from the UK or Spain, and two animations from Japanese masters Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Oshii. The line-up says much about Mueller's ability to dig deep, particularly in a year when the US writers' strike has limited US offerings. For example, US director Darren Aronofsky will be presenting a 'wet premiere' as he races to get his film The Wrestler from the print lab.
No closing film has yet been announced, but the festival will open with Joel and Ethan Coen's dark spy comedy Burn After Reading, screening out of competition. It is produced by Working Title Films, which also made last year's opener, Atonement.
Burn After Reading reunites Lido regular George Clooney and Tilda Swinton (both in competition at Venice with Michael Clayton last year) and secures enough star power to rev up the Lido event's launch, with Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand all expected to be in town.
The Wrestler (US) Dir: Darren Aronofsky
The Burning Plain (US) Dir: Guillermo Arriaga
Il Papa Di Giovanna (It) Dir: Pupi Avati
Birdwatchers (It) Dir: Marco Bechis
L'Autre (Fr) Dirs: Patrick Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic
The Hurt Locker (US) Dir: Kathryn Bigelow
Il Seme Della Discordia (It) Dir: Pappi Corsicato
Rachel Getting Married (US) Dir: Jonathan Demme
Teza (Ethiopia-Ger-Fr) Dir: Haile Gerima
Paper Soldier (Rus) Dir: Aleksey German Jr
Sut (Turk-Fr-Ger) Dir: Semih Kaplanoglu
Achilles And The Tortoise (Jap) Dir: Takeshi Kitano
Ponyo On The Cliff (Jap) Dir: Hayao Miyazaki
Vegas: Based On A True Story (US) Dir: Amir Naderi
The Sky Crawlers (Jap) Dir: Mamoru Oshii
Un Giorno Perfetto (It) Dir: Ferzan Ozpetek
Jerichow (Ger) Dir: Christian Petzold
Inju, La Bete Dans L'Ombre (Fr) Dir: Barbet Schroeder
Nuit De Chien (Fr-Ger-Port) Dir: Werner Schroeter
Inland (Alg-Fr) Dir: Tariq Teguia
Plastic City (Brazil-Ch-HK-Jap) Dir: Yu Lik-wai
Out Of Competition
Puccini E La Fanciulla (It) Dir: Paolo Benvenuti
Yuppi Du (It) Dir: Adriano Celentano
Burn After Reading (US) (opening film) Dirs: Joel and Ethan Coen
35 Rhums (Fr-Sp) Dir: Claire Denis
Shirin (Iran) Dir: Abbas Kiarostami
Tutto E Musica (1963) (It) Dir: Domenico Modugno
Orfeo 9 (1973) (It) Dir: Tito Schipa Jr
Les Plages d'Agnes (Fr) Dir: Agnes Varda
Vinyan (Fr-UK-Bel) Dir: Fabrice du Welz
Encarnacao Do Demonio (Braz) Dir: Jose Mojica Marins
Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu) (It) Dir: Piero Tellini