Coppola, Reichardt, Schnabel and Ozon Lead Venice’s Competition Lineup

Coppola, Reichardt, Schnabel and Ozon Lead Venice's Competition Lineup
Coppola, Reichardt, Schnabel and Ozon Lead Venice's Competition Lineup

The Venice Film Festival has announced the full program for its 67th edition, which will run September 1-11, 2010. Twenty-two films have been set to compete for the coveted Golden Lion, which in the recent past has been awarded to Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon,” Darren Aronofsky’s “The Wrestler” and Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution.” The list offers much of what was generally expected for the fest, with a few notable omissions.

American productions were very well represented, with new works from Sofia Coppola (“Somewhere”), Kelly Reichardt (“Meek’s Cutoff”), Vincent Gallo (“Promises Written in Water”), Darren Aronofsky (previously announced fest opener “Black Swan”) and cult figure Monte Hellman (“Road To Nowhere”) all heading to the Lido. Other highlights included new works from Julian Schnabel, Francois Ozon, Saverio Costanzo, Abdellatif Kechiche, Takashi Miike, Tom Tykwer and Álex de la Iglesia. Not present, however, was Terrence Malick’s anticipated “The Tree of Life.” There was considerable speculation as to whether the film would make it into the lineup, and now some folks are suggesting it may end up screening in Toronto only. That said, Venice has said one more title will be added to the competition mid-way through the fest.

Comparing the list to indieWIRE‘s wishlist, other notable films not on the list include David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” and the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit” (though neither were seen as sure bets going into the announcement).

The festival also announced numerous films screening out of competition. Included were Ben Affleck’s Boston-set crime drama “The Town,” his brother Casey Affleck’s documentary “I’m Still Here: the Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix,” Anurag Kashyap’s “That Girl in Yellow Boots,” and Robert Rodriquez’s “Machete,” which will screen at Midnight on opening night.

The complete list of announced titles is listed below. Check out Anne Thompson’s take on the lineup here.

The Competition

Attenberg” (Greece)
Director: Athina Rachel Tsangari; Cast: Giorgios Lanthimos, Vangelis Mourikis, Evangelia Randou
This hard-to-describe picture from an associate producer of “Dogtooth” has something to do with “a pair of girls, two scooters, a father, a Volvo, one foosball table, Sir David Attenborough, Alan Vega and the Suicide, and then a man in black who comes to town,” according to Ioncinema.com.

Barney’s Version” (Canada/Italy) [Film Page]
Director: Richard J. Lewis; Cast: Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, Dustin Hoffman, Will Patton
Giamatti plays Barney Panofsky, a blunt, irascible miscontent, in this film based on the fictional memoir/murder mystery by Canadian author Mordecai Richler.

Black Swan” (USA) [Film Page]
Director: Darren Aronofsky; Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbera Hershey
Aronofsky’s eagerly awaited follow-up to “The Wrestler” features Portman as a dancer in a New York City ballet company thrust into the starring role of “Swan Lake” after the prima ballerina (Winona Ryder) is replaced. But Portman’s character has a challenger of her own, a newcomer played by Kunis. The lead in “Swan Lake” requires a dancer who can play both the innocent “White Swan” and the dark “Black Swan”; Portman is perfect for the former, but Kunis is perfect for the latter.

Black Venus” (France)
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche; Cast: Alix Benezech, Mirabelle Kirkland, Olivier Gourmet, Vanessa Le Gallo
After winning a special jury prize for “The Secret of the Grain” in 2007, Kechiche returns to Venice with this “Elephant Man”-esque tale of a South African woman whose oversized features made her a popular circus freak in 19th century Europe.

Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame” (China) [Film Page]
Director: Tsui Hark, China; Cast: Andy Lau, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Bingbing Li, Carina Lau, Jean-Michel Casanova
Hong Kong action veterans Tsui and Andy Lau team up for this martial arts epic about a seventh century detective (Lau) who returns from exile to solve a series of mysterious deaths in the run-up to Empress Wu Zetian’s (Carina Lau) inauguration.

Happy Few” (France)
Director: Anthony Cordier; Cast: Marina Fois, Elodie Bouchez, Roschdy Zem, Nicolas Duvauchelle
French director Cordier’s (“Cold Showers”) portrait of two couples grapples with the difficulty of sustaining love (and lust) in long-term relationships.

Meek’s Cutoff” (USA)
Director: Kelly Reichardt; Cast: Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Will Patton
Reichart and her “Wendy & Lucy” star Williams reunite for this Western set on the Oregon trail in 1845. A strong, eclectic cast headlines this tale of three families migrating West over the Cascade Mountains.

Miral” (USA/France/Italy/Israel) [Film Page]
Director: Julian Schnabel; Cast: Freida Pinto, Alexander Siddig, Willem Defoe, Hiam Abbass
Schnabel’s follow-up to the acclaimed “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” covers the breadth of the fraught history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through two stories: one chronicles Hind Husseini’s (Abbas) real-life quest to build an orphanage for Palestinian children in the wake of the establishment of Israel in 1948. The other follows Miral (Pinto), a young Palestinian woman who grew up in the orphanage, who is torn between violent and non-violent responses to the Occupation.

Noi Credevamo” (Italy)
Director: Mario Martone; Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio, Valerio Binasco, Francesca Inaudi, Guido Caprino
Nominated for the Golden Lion in 1997 for “The Vesuvians,” Martone returns to Cannes with this film about political violence during the struggle for Italian unification in the mid-1800s. Comparisons to Luchino Visconti’s similarly themed masterpiece “The Leopard” are inevitable.

Norwegian Wood” (Japan) [Film Page]
Director: Anh Hung Tran; Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, Ken’ichi Matsuyama, Tetsuji Tamayama, Kiko Mizuhara, Kengo Kara
Based on a novel by Haruki Murakami, “Norwegian Wood” features Kikuchi and Matsuyama as a couple haunted by the suicide of their best friend in the 1960s. Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran previously won the Golden Lion in 1995 for “Xich Lo.”

La Passione” (Italy)
Director: Carlo Mazzacurati; Cast: Silvio Orlando, Giuseppe Battiston, Kasia Smutniak, Cristiana Capotondi
Mazzacurati’s (“Il Toro”) latest is a comedy about a journeyman director (Orlando) who finally gets his big break.

La Pecora Nera” (Italy)
Director: Ascanio Celestini; Cast: Maya Sansa, Giorgio Tirabassi, Luisa De Santis, Ascanio Celestini
Italian writer and theater star Celestini adapts his book of the same name, about inmates in a mental hospital.

Post Mortem” (Chile)
Director: Pablo Larrain; Cast: Alfredo Castro
Larrain and his “Tony Manero” star Castro reteam in this historical drama about a man who works in a morgue typing autopsy reports during the chaos of the 1973 military coup in Chile. Obsessed with his neighbor, a cabaret dancer who disappeared during the chaos, Mario (Castro) wanders the streets in search of his beloved.

Potiche,” (France) [Film Page]
Director: Francois Ozon; Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Catherine Deneuve, Judith Godreche, Jeremie Renier
Veteran French director Ozon brings together the two greatest living acting legends of French cinema, Depardieu and Deneuve, for this adaptation of the eponymous play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy. Deneuve plays the wife of a rich industrialist who is forced to take over her husband’s factory after strikers hold him captive. Depardieu plays her former lover, a Communist deputy.

Promises Written in Water” (USA)
Director: Vincent Gallo; Cast: Delfine Barfot, Sage Stallone, Lisa Love, Hope Tomaselli
Gallo’s first film since the infamous “Brown Bunny” (2003) is typically bizarre. Self-financed and in black-and-white, the film tells the story of a terminally ill young girl who decides to end her own life. Gallo’s film deliberately overturns the conventions of classical Hollywood filmmaking, with erratic editing, inconsistent costuming and “bad” acting.

Road to Nowhere” (USA) [Film Page]
Director: Monte Hellman; Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, Dominique Swain, Cliff de Young, John Diehl, Waylon Payne
Former Roger Corman collaborator Hellman’s (“Tow-Lane Blacktop,” “Ride in the Whirlwind”) twisty, convention-busting new film is about a young filmmaker who gets involved with a crime while making a movie. “Road to Nowhere” was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II, a camera primarily used for still photography.

A Sad Trumpet Ballad” (Spain) [Film Page]
Director: Alex de la Iglesia; Cast: Santiago Segura, Fernando Guillen Cuervo, Antonio de la Torre, Fran Perea
De la Iglesia’s (“El Crimen Perfecto”) has been likened to Guillermo del Toro’s and Peter Jackson’s, and his latest is similarly bizarre and visually arresting. De la Iglesia’s follow-up to the Goya-award-winning “Oxford Murders” (currently on VOD) follows two scarred clowns who compete for the love of a trapezist in Franco-era Spain.

Silent Souls” (Russia) [Film Page]
Director: Aleksei Fedorchenko; Cast: Igor Sergeyev, Yuriy Tsurilo, Yuliya Aug, Victor Sukhorukov
Based on a short story by Denis Osokin, Fedorchenko’s melancholy drama relates the journey of a man and his companion, who travel to a river with the remains of his companion’s late wife. Fedorchenko won the Venice Horizons Documentary Award for “Pervye na Lune” in 2005.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers” (Italy) [Film Page]
Director: Saverio Costanzo; Cast: Isabella Rossellini, Alba Rohrwacher, Filippo Timi, Luca Marinelli, Maurizio Donadoni
Costanzo’s adaptation of the international bestseller of the same name traces 24 years in the lives of a pair of upper middle-class Italian schoolmates who bond over similarly troubled childhoods. Timi, last seen in the States as Benito Mussolini in Marco Bellocchio’s “Vincere,” co-stars with Rossellini.

Somewhere” (USA) [Film Page]
Director: Sofia Coppola; Cast: Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Benecio Del Toro, Michelle Monaghan
Coppola’s first film since the critically divisive “Marie Antoinette” features Dorff as an actor who re-examines his life after his 11-year-old daughter (Fanning) comes to visit him. The film is said to be partially inspired by Coppola’s childhood experiences with her legendary dad, Francis Ford Coppola.

13 Assassins” (Japan) [Film Page]
Director: Takashi Miike; Cast: Koji Yakusho, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Yusuke Iseya, Takayuki Yamada
Miike, the aesthetically schizophrenic director of “Ichi the Killer,” “Audition” and “Visitor Q,” takes a stab at the samurai genre with his latest effort about a group of assassins on a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Three” (Germany)
Director: Tom Tykwer; Cast: Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper, Devid Striesow
After “The International” and “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” Twyker returns to making German-language features with this comic drama about two partners in a couple who separately fall for the same man.

Out of Competition

The Return of Chen Zhen,” Andrew Lau, China, Hong Kong (Opening Night Tribute to Bruce Lee)
Machete,” Robert Rodriguez, USA (Opening Night Midnight Movie)
The Tempest,” Julie Taymor, USA (Closing Night Film
Vittorio racconta — Una vita da Mattatore,” Giancarlo Scarchilli, Italy (Homage to Vittorio Gassman)
The Town,” Ben Affleck (U.S.)
I’m Still Here: the Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix,” Casey Affleck (U.S.)
Sorelle Mai,” Marco Bellocchio (Italy)
Niente Paura — Come siamo come eravamo e le canzoni di Luciano Ligabue,” Piergiorgio Gay (Italy)
Dante Ferretti — Production Designer,” Gianfranco Giagni (Italy)
Notizie degli Scavi,” Emidio Greco (Italy)
The Last Movie” (1971), Dennis Hopper
Gorbaciof,” Stefano Incerti (Italy)
That Girl in Yellow Boots,” Anurag Kashyap (India)
Showtime,” Stanley Kwan (China)
Sei Venezia,” Carlo Mazzacurati (Italy)
Zebraman” (2004), Takashi Miike (Japan)
Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City,” Takashi Miike (Japan)”
The Child’s Eye 3D,” Oxide Pang and Danny Pang (China, Hong Kong)
Vallanzasca – Gli angeli del male,” Michele Placido (Italy)
All Inclusive 3D,” Nadia Ranocchi and David Zamagni (Italy, Austria)
Raavan” (Tamil version), Mani Ratnam (India)
1960,” Gabriele Salvatores (Italy)
La prima volta a Venezia,” Antonello Sarno (Italy)
A Letter to Elia,” Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones (U.S.)
Shock Labyrinth 3D,” Takashi Shimizu (Japan)
L’ultimo Gattopardo: Ritratto di Goffredo Lombardo,” Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy)
Passione,” John Turturro (Italy)
Lope,” Andrucha Waddington (Spain, Brazil)
Space Guy,” Zhang Yuan (China)

Controcampo Italiano

Lost Kisses,” Roberta Torre
20 Sigarette,” Aureliano Amadei
Il Primo Incarico,” Giorgia Cecere
A Woman,” Giada Colagrande
Tajabone,” Salvatore Mereu
Ma che storia,” Gianfranco Pannone
Into Paradiso,” Paola Randi

Controcampo Italiano Shorts

Come un soffio,” Michela Cescon
Sposero Nichi Vendola,” Andrea Costantino
Bassa Marea,” Roberto De Paolis
Achille,” Giorgia Farina
Niente Orchidee,” Simone Godano and Leonardo Godano

Controcampo Italiano Out of Competition

Tarda Estate,” Antonio Di Trapani
Il Loro Natale,” Gaetano Di Vaio
Ward 54,” Monica Maggioni
Flaiano: il meglio e passato,” Gianfranco Rolandi, Steve Della Casa
Se hai una montagna di neve, tienila all’ombra,” Elisabetta Sgarbi and Eugenio Lio
Fughe e approdi,” Giovanna Taviani

[Micah Sachs contributed to this article.]

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