THE 2011 VENICE FILM FESTIVAL: THE BEGINNING




FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Projects from several Canadian filmmakers are among the selections for this year’s VENICE FILM FESTIVAL, where Hollywood luminaries GEORGE CLOONEY, MADONNA, AL PACINO and STEVEN SODERBERGH will showcase their latest directorial efforts.

The line up also includes ROMAN POLANSKI’S CARNAGE, an adaptation of the Broadway play GOD OF CARNAGE featuring JODIE FOSTER, KATE WINSLET, CHRISTOPH WALTZ and JOHN C. REILLY.

All 22 movies in competition at the world’s oldest festival are world premieres, organizers said Thursday. One of the 22 titles was kept secret and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We have looked for and strengthened a relationship with American cinema each year,” said festival director MARCO MUELLER. However, he stressed that the guidelines for selecting art were just “to take beautiful movies, movies that would make one think and dream.”

He cited GEORGE CLOONEY’S political drama THE IDES OF MARCH as an example of a “sharp film that takes a look at today with a critical eye.” The film about corruption and idealism in American politics, which stars GEORGE CLOONEY, RYAN GOSLING, PAUL GIAMATTI, PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, MARISA TOMEI and EVAN RACHEL WOOD will open the festival on AUGUST 31.

Other U.S. movies in competition include KILLER JOE, a black comedy by WILLIAM FRIEDKIN with MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY in the title role and the second film by AMI CANAAN MANN (daughter of MICHAEL MANN), TEXAS KILLING FIELDS, a murder drama featuring SAM WORTHINGTON and JESSICA CHASTAIN.

Canadian projects include MARY HARRON’S Canada/Ireland coproduction THE MOTH DIARIES, which will screen out of competition and is based on the cult novel by RACHEL KLEIN. It stars SCOTT SPEEDMAN in a tale about a girl haunted by her father’s suicide who suspects her boarding school roommate may be a vampire.

Films in competition in Venice include a spy movie based on JOHN LE CARRE’S bestseller TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, starring OSCAR winner COLIN FIRTH and GARY OLDMAN and POULETS AUX PRUNES (literally translated as CHICKEN WITH PLUMS), codirected by MARJANE SATRAPI – the author of comic book and OSCAR nominated film PERSEPOLIS – and VINCENT PARONNAUD.

JESSICA CHASTAIN, who had previously starred in THE TREE OF LIFE, also appears in AL PACINO’S WILDE SALOME, an exploration of OSCAR WILDE’S work that combines documentary and film, much like the legendary actor did in his previous film LOOKING FOR RICHARD.

In addition to the five motion pictures competing for the top prize, seven U.S. movies are to be shown in side events. They include AL PACINO’S film and works by JONATHAN DEMME and WHIT STILLMAN.

The line up suggests a star studded red carpet, though MARCO MUELLER would not say which stars will attend the festival.

Among the most highly anticipated events is MADONNA’S second feature film, the U.K. production W.E. The movie intercuts between the romance of a modern woman (ABBIE CORNISH) and the relationship of American socialite WALLIS SIMPSON and Britain’s KING EDWARD VIII, who abdicated the throne for love in the 1930s.

The festival runs through SEPTEMBER 10. The jury awarding THE GOLDEN LION and other official prizes is headed by U.S. director DARREN ARONOFSKY.

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