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Mueller Sets Solid Slate for 61st Venice International Film Festival

Mueller Sets Solid Slate for 61st Venice International Film Festival

Mueller Sets Solid Slate for 61st Venice International Film Festival

by Brian Brooks

Nicole Kidman in a scene from “Birth,” directed by Jonathan Glazer. The film will screen in competition at the Venice International Film Festival. Copyright 2004 James Bridges/Fine Line Features

Venice International Film Festival organizers, including new fest chief Marco Mueller, announced this year’s line-up Thursday morning in Italy. The 61st Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica, the event’s official name, will take place once again on the Lido, in the famed Adriatic city, from September 1-11 and will feature about 70 films and 19 digital pics, divided into five main sections, curated for the first time by Mueller. Twenty-one films are in competition this year, including five French productions or co-productions, while three come from Japan and the United States each.

“The Way We Laughed” (1998) director Gianni Amelio‘s Italian/French/German production “Le chiavi di casa,” starring Kim Rossi Stuart, Charlotte Rampling and Andrea Rossi, will compete for the Golden Lion prize for best film along with Chilean director Alejandro Amenabar‘s Spanish production, “Mar adentro” (Out to Sea). As reported by Anthony Kaufman in indieWIRE’s weekly world cinema column this, the film, which is having its world premiere at Venice, stirred a bit of a brouhaha when Spanish sales agent Sogepaq organized an invite-only screening for larger specialized companies, excluding smaller (and some not so small) distributors. Fine Line, which has three films in the Venice competition, emerged as the victor in the frenzy.

Fine Line’s other films include Jonathan Glazer‘s “Birth” starring Nicole Kidman, Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche and Danny Huston, which the company produced, as well as Mike Leigh‘s British production, “Vera Drake,” starring Imelda Staunton, Phil Davis and Peter Wight.

Also in competition are “L’intrus” by Claire Denis (“Trouble Every Day,” 2001) along with fellow French directors Arnaud Desplechin‘s “Rois et reine” starring Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Devos and Catherine Deneuve and “Swimming Pool” auteur François Ozon‘s “Cinq fois deux” (5×2). Director Amos Gitai returns to Venice with his Israeli/French production, “Promised Land.” Gitai’s “Alila” screened in competition during the festival last year. Also returning to Venice is Chinese director Hou Hsiao-hsien‘s Japanese production, “Cafe Lumiere.” Hou took the Golden Lion for best film in 1989 for “Beiqing chengshi.” Oscar-winning Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki arrives on the Lido with “Howl’s Moving Castle.” Miyazaki won the Academy Award for best animated feature for his 2001 film, “Spirited Away.”

Venice veteran Mira Nair will once again sail the Lido with her latest, “Vanity Fair,” starring Reese Witherspoon, Eileen Atkins, Bob Hoskins, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, which Focus will release in the U.S. Nair’s past Venice accolades include Golden Osella award (shared with scribe Sooni Taraporevala) for “Mississippi Masala” (1991) and 2001’s “Monsoon Wedding.” Also joining the competition line up is “Storytelling” director Todd Solondz with “Palindromes,” starring Ellen Barkin, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Stephen Adly Guirgis.

Reese Witherspoon in a scene from Mira Nair’s “Vanity Fair,” which will screen in the Venice festival competition. Image copyright Focus Features.

Fourteen films will screen out of competition including Venice-vet Claude Chabrol with “La demoiselle d’ honneur.” Jonathan Demme‘s “The Manchurian Candidate,” opening this weekend in the U.S., will also screen, while “Monster’s Ball” director Marc Forster will screen his feature “Finding Neverland” starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman. Other U.S. features out of competition opening imminently stateside are Spike Lee‘s “She Hate Me,” and Michael Mann‘s “Collateral.” “O Quinto Imperio” by Manoel de Oliveira (“The Uncertainty Principle” 2002) also screens in the section, along with director Michael Radford‘s “The Merchant of Venice” with Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Joseph Fiennes. Also of note, Gregg Araki returns to the scene with his feature, “Mysterious Skin” starring Elisabeth Shue, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zarve Huett. The film screens in the festival’s Venezia Orizzonti section.

Initial industry reactions to Mueller’s first line-up in Venice were positive. [“It seems like] they tried to be pretty democratic,” Paul Federbush, SVP of production and acquisitions at Warner Independent Pictures told indieWIRE Thursday. Continuing, Federbush added that the lineup is, “Full of master filmmakers from Europe, Asian and the U.S. in the competition and out of competition sections, although, in a very classic sense — I notice [however] there are no films from Latin America, [but] it’s great to see that the U.S. is well represented. I don’t know if this year will be as strong as 1999 for American cinema, but it seems to be a good year and I’m excited to see them this fall.”

“Marco Mueller has long proven he’s capable of programming with diversity, and this line-up is no exception,” said Magnolia Pictures acquisition exec Tom Quinn to iW Thursday. “Venice should be pleased with his debut effort.”

The festival lineup, provided by the Venice International Film Festival:

Venezia 61 – In Competition Section

“Le Chiavi di Casa” (Italy/France/Germany), directed by Gianni

“Mar Adentro” (Spain), directed by Alejandro Amenabar

“Lavorare con lentezza” (Italy), directed by Guido Chiesa

“L’intrus” (France), directed by Claire Denis

“Rois et Reine” (France), directed by Arnaud Desplechin

“Promised Land” (Israel/France), directed by Amos Gitai

“Birth” (USA), directed by Jonathan Glazer

“Café Lumière” (Japan), directed by Hou

“Ha-ryu-in-saeng” (Korea), directed by Im Kwon-taek

“Shijie” (China/Japan), directed by Jia Zhangke

“Vera Drake” (UK), directed by Mike Leigh

“Stray Dogs” (Iran), directed by Marziyeh Meshkini

“Howl’s Moving Castle” (Japan), directed by Hayao Miyazaki

“Vanity Fair” (USA), directed by Mira Nair

“5×2” (Cinq fois deux) (France), directed by
François Ozon

“Delivery” (Greece), directed by Nikos Panayotopoulos

“Ovunque Sei” (Italy), directed by Michele Placid

“Udalionnyj Dostup” (Russia), directed by Svetlana

“Palindromes” (USA), directed by Todd Solondz

“Land of Plenty” (Germany), directed by Wim Wenders

“Tout un Hiver Sans Feu” (Switzerland), directed by Greg

Venezia 61 – Out of competition Section

“Eros” (France Hong Kong Italy USA), directed by Michelangelo
, Steven Soderbergh and Wong Kar-Wai

“La Demoiselle d’Honneur” (France), directed by Claude

“Come Inguaiammo il Cinema Italiano” (Italy), directed by Daniele
and Franco Maresco

“The Manchurian Candidate” (USA), directed by Jonathan

“Finding Neverland” (USA), directed by Marc Forster

“She Hate Me” (USA), directed by Spike Lee

“Collateral” (USA), directed by Michael Mann

“L’Amore Ritrovato” (Italy), directed by Carlo Mazzacurati

“Nastrojscik” (Russia), directed by Kira Muratova

“O Quinto Imperio” (Portugal/France), directed by Manoel de

“Steamboy” (Japan), directed by Katsuhiro Otomo

“The Merchant of Venice” (UK/Italy), directed by Michael

“The Terminal” (USA), directed by Steven Spielberg

“Throw Down” (Hong Kong), directed by Johnny To

Venezia 61 Out of Competition – Special events

“Shark Tale” (USA), directed by Victoria Jenson and Bibi

“Il Resto di Niente” (Italy), directed by Antonietta de

Venezia Orizzonti Section

“Un Mundo Menos Peor” (Argentina/Italy), directed by Alejandro

“Mysterious Skin” (USA), directed by Gregg Araki

“Les Revenants” (France), directed by Robin Campillo

“Ambasadori, Cautam Patrie” (Romania), directed by Mircea

“Les Petits Fils” (France), directed by Ilan Duran Cohen

“La Femme de Gilles” (Belgium/France/Luxembourg), directed by
Frederic Fonteyne

“A Love Song for Bobby Long” (USA), directed by Shainee

“Stryker” (Canada), directed by Noam Gonick

“The 3 Rooms of Melancholia” (Finland/Sweden/Denmark), directed by
Pirjo Honkasalo

“Criminal” (USA), directed by Gregory Jacobs

“L’Enfant Endormi” (Morocco/Belgium), directed by Yasmine

“Vento di Terra” (Italy), directed by Vincenzo Marra

“Saimir” (Italy), directed by Francesco Munzi

“Agnes und Seine Brüder” (Germany), directed by Oskar

“Yesterday” (South Africa), directed by Darrell James

“Te lo Leggo Negli Occhi” (Italy), directed by Valia

“Zulu Love Letter” (South Africa/France/Germany), directed by
Ramadam Suleman

“Izo” (Japan), directed by Takashi Miike

“Familia Rodante” (Argentina/Spain), directed by Pablo

“Vital” (Japan), directed by Shinya Tsukamoto

Venezia Orizzonti – Special Events

“Banania ou thiaroye” (Algeria France), directed by Rachid

“Tide Table” (South Africa), directed by William Kentridge

“Musica Cubana” (Germany)

“Heimat 3 – Kronik einer Zeitenwende” (Germany), directed by Edgar

“Come Back Africa” (1959) (USA), directed by Lionel

[ For more information and additional line-ups, please visit: href=”http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/”
target=”outside”>http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/ ]

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