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August 3, 2021

Venice Festival announces lineup

The glittering lineup of this years’ Venice Film Festival was unveiled over the weekend with the US as the most represented nation, boasting six out of 22 in-competition films. US films vying for top honours include Sofia Coppola’s Nowhere, starring Stephen Dorff and Benicio Del Toro, and Julian Schnabel’s Miral, starring Willem Dafoe and Vanessa Redgrave. The festival, which runs from September 1 to 11, will open with another highly anticipated US film, Darren Aronfosky’s Black Swan, which stars Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel. Ten other nations are also represented in the competition, including China with Hark Tsui’s Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame, Germany with Tom Tykwer’s Drei, and Chile with Pablo Larrain’s Post Mortem.

Japanese director Takashi Miike, whose portrayal of violence often stirs controversy, will present his latest effort, 13 Assassins, in Venice too. Host nation Italy is also well represented with four films, including Saverio Costanzo’s La solitudine dei numeri primi, starring Isabella Rossellini. Veteran French actors Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu star in Francois Ozon’s Potiche, one of three films from France in the competition lineup unveiled over the weekend. Organizers said a “surprise” selection would be announced on September 6, bringing the total of films in competition to 23.

Two films that were rumored to screen on the Lido but were not in the announcement were Anton Corbijn’s thriller “The American,” which stars Venice regular George Clooney in the main role, and Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” No explanation was given for the exclusion of Malick’s 1950s-era coming of age story, but there was speculation that the film could still screen as the festival’s traditional “surprise” in-competition film, which is usually unveiled during the festival. The event will conclude with Julie Taymor’s take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” with a surprising cast choice, Helen Mirren (photo) as Prospera instead of Prospero.

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