The 71st Venice Film Festival, which opens August 27, unveiled the lineup of this year’s edition in Rome last week.
Festival director Alberto Barbera said many of the films in this year's edition deal with the dark subjects of economic recession, hardship, and war, and that it was difficult to select just 55 films from 1,500 contenders.
The festival will open with the premiere of Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's latest work, the black comedy “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance,” starring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. The closing film on September 6 is Hong Kong director Ann Hui's “The Golden Era”.
It is an edition with a wide range of international offerings, including Abel Ferrara’s biopic on Italian writer and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini, with Willem Dafoe portraying Pasolini.
The main jury panel will be headed by French film composer Alexandre Desplat, and includes British actor Tim Roth, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, Italian actor-director Carlo Verdone, Indian novelist Jhumpa Lahiri, English costume designer Sandy Powell, German director Philip Groning, Austrian director Jessica Hausner and Chinese actress and director Joan Chen.
Three Italian films will be running for the the Golden Lion, the festival's top prize: “Il Giovane Favoloso” by Mario Martone, “Anime Nere” by Francesco Munzi and “Hungry Hearts” by Saverio Costanzo.
Besides the films in competition, many others will be shown, including “The Sound and The Fury” by actor-director James Franco, an adaptation of the novel by American writer William Faulkner, “She's Funny That Way” by Peter Bogdanovich, and “The Humbling” by Barry Levinson.
The Venice Classics series will present a number of restored classic films and industry-related documentaries, such as Marco Spagnoli's homage to Sophia Loren “Women of Myth”, alongside a showing of Ettore Scola's restored 1977 film “Una Giornata Particolare” (A Special Day), starring Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.