Venice has unveiled its competition line-up for the festival's 60th edition (Aug 27-Sep 6), including widely anticipated films from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Michael Winterbottom, Takeshi Kitano, Christopher Hampton and Bruno Dumont - although most of the hotly awaited US titles will screen out of competition

"It was a particularly difficult year," said de Hadeln, "because we had to view around 1,600 titles and 400 films. Some of the most important titles were sent to us after July 15. Many titles we had hoped for are there, but they arrived at the last minute."

Among these are Joel and Ethan Coen's Intolerable Cruelty, which will screen out-of-competition as a work-in-progress, and a two hour screening of Peter Greenaway's The Tulse Luper Suitcases. Episode 3: Antwerp, showing as a special event in the Upstream section.

While the festival's line-up is Euro friendly - and contains six Italian films - Asian titles are fewer than in previous years, de Hadeln noted, because of the effects of the SARS outbreak earlier this year. Failing to materialise in time because of the killer bug was Wong Kar-Wai's much awaited 2046.

Disappointingly for de Hadeln, most US producers chose to screen their films out of competition. "Americans, who often screen their films in Venice as a world premiere, are scared to go into competition as they don't know how the film will be received. And some are worried that [screening in competition] could diminish their chances at the Oscars," he said.

Among the pictures screening out of competition are Woody Allen's Anything Else, Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men, Jim Jarmush's Coffee And Cigarettes and Robert Benton's The Human Stain, as well as Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers.

Titles that did make the dive for a competition slot, however, include Imagining Argentina from Christopher Hampton, the Oscar-winning screenwriter whose directing credits include Carrington starring Emma Thompson and The Secret Agent.

Also featured in the traditional Venice 60 competition is Bruno Dumont (Humanite)'s drama 29 Palms, which centres on a young pair of photographers who are scouting for locations in the Joshua Tree National Park when their lives are changed forever by a shocking confrontation in the desert; 21 Grams, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's second feature after the critical and commercial hit Amores Perros; Michael Winterbottom's sci-fi picture Code 46 and Zatoichi, Takeshi Kitano's new film which sees him in the title role of a blind masseur and master swordsman.

In the meantime, De Hadeln has tried to steer press and industry away from the view that Upstream is a competition for emerging auteurs, by integrating both veterans and newcomers into both competition line-ups.

"The Upstream section is characterised by radical research, intact dreams and perhaps locations that are rarely seen on screen," he said.

Films in the Upstream section include Turkish-Cypriot director Dervis Zaim's Camur (Fango), Sofia Coppola's Lost In Translation and Silence Between Two Thoughts by Iranian director Babak Payami, who won Venice's Best Director prize in 2001.

Venice International Film Festival 2003 line-up

In Competition

Buongiorno, Notte dir Marco Bellocchio,
Segreti Di Stato, dir Paolo Benvenuti,
Le Cerf-Volant, dir Randa Chahal Sabbag,
Raja, dir Jacques Doillon,
29 Palms, dir Bruno Dumont,
Alila, dir Amos Gitai,
21 Grams, dir Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu,
Imagining Argentina, dir Christopher Hampton,
A Good Lawyer's Wife (Baram-Nan Gajok), dir Im Sangsoo,
Loving Glances (Sjaj U Ocima), dir Srdjan Karanovic,
Zatoichi, dir Takeshi Kitano
Pornography, dir Jan Jakob Kolski
Floating Landscape, dir Carol Lai Miu Suet,
Les Sentiments, dir Noemie Lvovsky,
A Talking Picture (Un Filme Falado), dir Manoel De Oliveira,
Rosenstrasse, dir Margarethe Von Trotta,
Goodbye Dragon Inn ( Ru San), dir Tsai Ming-Liang,
Il Miracolo, dir Edoardo Winspeare,
Code 46, dir Michael Winterbottom,
Vosvra Cenie (The Return), dir Andrey Zvyagintsev,

Controcorrente (Upstream) Competition

Le Soleil Assassine, dir Abdelkrim Bahloul,
Il Ritorno Di Cagliostro, dir Daniele Cipri, Franco Maresco,
Lost In Translation, dir Sofia Coppola,
In The Forest...Again (Abar Arannye), dir Goutam Ghose,
Abjad (The First Letter), dir Abolfazl Jalili,
Antenna, dir Kumakiri Kazuyoshi,
The Five Obstructions (De Fem Benspænd), dir Jorgen Leth, Lars Von Trier ,
Travellers And Magicians, dir Khyentse Norbu,
The Python (Pitons), dir Laila Pakalnia,
Silence Between Two Thoughts, dir Babak Payami,
Last Life In The Universe, dir Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
La Quimera De Los Heroes, dir Daniel Rosenfeld,
Une Place Parmi Les Vivants, dir Raoul Ruiz,
Vodka Lemon, dir Hiner Saleem,
Casa De Los Babys, dir John Sayles,
Schultze Gets The Blues, dir Michael Schorr,
Liberi , dir Gianluca Maria Tavarelli,
Camur (Fango), dir Dervis Zaim,

Upstream Special Event
The Tulse Luper Suitcases. Episode 3: Antwerp, dir Peter Greenaway,

Out Of Competition

Anything Else, dir Woody Allen,
The Human Stain, dir Robert Benton,
The Dreamers, dir Bernardo Bertolucci,
Intolerable Cruelty, dir Joel And Ethan Coen,
Monsieur Ibrahim Et Les Fleurs Du Coran, dir François Dupeyron,
Le Divorce, James Ivory,
Coffee And Cigarettes, Jim Jarmush,
The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Stephen Norrington,
Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Robert Rodriguez,
Matchstick Men, Ridley Scott.