Miramax has withdrawn Stephen Daldry's period drama, The Hours, from the Venice film festival, explaining that the film is unfortunately "not yet ready."
Venice artistic director Moritz De Hadeln said its place in the Venice 59 competition, where it was due to have its world premiere, will now be filled by Todd Haynes' 1950s-set movie Far From Heaven, which had originally been given an out-of-competition slot.
De Hadeln also announced three new additions to the festival's line-up.Nizhalkkuthu (Ombres Obscures) by Indian director Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the story of an executioner who is eaten up by feelings of guilt, which will screen in the Against The Mainstream (Controcorrente) competition. Screening out-of-competition is Ridha Behi's Tunisian picture The Magic Box (La Boite Magique), about a Tunisian film director who recounts his childhood spent on a truck following his uncle's travelling circus.Also gaining an out-of-competition slot on the Lido is local director Aurelio Grimaldi's Rosa Funzeca, which marks his return to the theme of prostitution. Shot in black and white and set in Naples, the film, which the director says is inspired from cult director PierPaolo Pasolini, tells the story of Rosa Funzeca's intense and dramatic love for her son Fernando amid her dreams for the future and desire to forget her past.
Like The Hours, which opens in the US in December, Far From Heaven stars Julianne Moore, who was already scheduled to make an appearance on the Lido. The film represents the second teaming of the Oscar-nominated actress with writer-director Haynes and producer Christine Vachon, following her 1995 breakthrough picture Safe. Set in a suburban American community in the 1950s, Far From Heaven revolves around a privileged family that is turned upside down when both husband and wife are faced with some crucial choices. It is produced by Focus, the new Universal-owned company merging Good Machine International and USA Films, and opens in November in the US.
De Hadeln said that the three additions and the Venice 59 slot for Far From Heaven completed the festival's definitive line-up. De Hadeln appeared little surprised by Miramax's decision to pull out The Hours. During an interview last week, he underlined "the difficulty of having to announce a line-up one month ahead of the festival," and at the time warned that there could be some changes to the line-up.