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Five U.S. films in Venice fest competition


By Eric J. Lyman

ROME -- Five U.S. films are among the 21 titles that will have their world premieres in competition at this year's Venice International Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Three competition films come from Italy, with two each from France and Japan and one from the U.K. There are entries for the first time from Chad and Thailand.

Organizers said it is the first time that every film in competition will be premiering at the Venice event -- a development that artistic director Marco Muller said was both a source of pride and a great risk.

"The risk of failure is high, because all these films are unknown quantities," Muller said in an interview. "But it also shows that producers realize that the Venice festival can be a useful way to introduce a certain kind of film. It is a vote of confidence in this event."

Venice faces a challenge this year from the fledgling RomaCinemaFest, which has been vying with Venice for attention from the public and the media, as well as for sponsorship money and films.

Though the two festivals have agreed to cooperate on some fronts, Muller acknowledged the rivalry brewing between the two events. But he stopped short of saying that the high-visibility selection for Venice was a way of throwing down a gauntlet to the Rome event.

"We don't even know if they are going after the same kinds of films," Muller said. "It remains to be seen if Rome's selection will show it is trying to be a carbon copy of Venice or whether it will try to be something different. In the meantime, we just selected what we thought were the best films we could get and we are thrilled with this selection."

The U.S. films competing at the Aug. 30-Sept. 9 event are Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain," Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland," "Children of Men" from Alfonso Cuaron, "Bobby" from Emilio Estevez and Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia."

The De Palma film, a 1940s-era period film starring Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank, was announced previously as the festival's opening film.

Gianni Amelio's "La Stella che non c'e," "Nuovomondo" from Emanuele Crialese and "Quei Loro Incontri" from Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet are Italy's entries.

The French challenge comes from "L'Intouchable" from Benoit Jacquot and "Private Fears in Public Places" by Alain Resnais. Stephen Frears' "The Queen" will fly the flag for British hopes.

Thai film "Sang Sattawat" from Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chad's "Daratt" from Mahamat-Saleh Haroun are the first In Competition films from those countries.

Outside the competition section, attention-grabbing selections include Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," "Belle toujours" from Manoel de Oliveira -- a sequel to Luis Bunuel's 1967 classic "Belle de Jour" -- and "Inland Empire" from David Lynch, who will be awarded a lifetime achievement award in Venice.

The Venice International Film Festival lineup follows.

IN COMPETITION

"THE BLACK DAHLIA"
(Opening film)
Brian De Palma (U.S.)

"FALLEN"
Barbara Albert (Austria)

"LA STELLA CHE NON C'E"
Gianni Amelio (Italy, France, Switzerland, Singapore)

"THE FOUNTAIN"
Darren Aronofsky (U.S.)

"HOLLYWOODLAND"
Allen Coulter (U.S.)

"THE GOLDEN DOOR"
Emanuele Crialese (Italy, France)

"CHILDREN OF MEN"
Alfonso Cuaron (U.K./ U.S.)

"BOBBY"
Emilio Estevez (U.S.)

"THE QUEEN"
Stephen Frears (U.K., France, Italy)
"DARATT"
Mahamat-Saleh Haroun Ciad (France, Belgium, Austria)

"L'INTOUCHABLE"
Benoit Jacquot (France)
"PAPRIKA"
Kon Satoshi (Japan)

"NUE PROPRIETE"
Joachim Lafosse (Belgium, Luxembourg, France)

"MUSHI-SHI"
Otomo Katsuhiro (Japan)

"PRIVATE FEARS IN PUBLIC PLACES"
Alain Resnais (France, Italy)

"QUEI LORO INCONTRI"
Jean-Marie Straub (Daniele Huillet, Italy, France)

"FANGZHU"
Johnnie To (Hong Kong, China)

"HEI YANQUAN"
Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan, France, Austria)

"BLACK BOOK"
Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands, Germany, U.K.)

"EJFORIJA"
Ivan Vyrypaev (Russia)

"SANG SATTAWAT"
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand, France)

OUT OF COMPETITION

"QUELQUES JOURS EN SEPTEMBRE"
Santiago Amigorena (France-Italy)

"THE MAGIC FLUTE"
Kenneth Branagh (U.K.)

"YEYAN"
Feng Xiaogang (China)

"DEVIL WEARS PRADA"
David Frenkel (U.S.)

"OSTROV"
Pavel Lounguine (Russia)

"INLAND EMPIRE"
David Lynch (U.S.)

"GEDO SEKI"
Goro Miyazaki (Japan)

"BELLE TOUJOURS"
Manuel de Oliveira (Portugal)

"WORLD TRADE CENTER"
Oliver Stone (U.S.)

OUT OF COMPETITION MIDNIGHT

"PARA ENTRAR A VIVIR"
Jaume Balaguero (Spain)

"ROB-B-HOOD"
Chan Benny (Hong Kong-China)

"BAAZ HAM SIB DAARI"
Fazli Bayram (Iran)

"SAKEBI"
Kurosawa Kiyoshi (Japan)

"THE WICKER MAN"
Neil Labute (U.S.)

"JAKPAE"
Ryoo Seung-wan (South Korea)

"Summer Love"
Piotr Uklansky (Poland)

OUT OF COMPETITION SPECIAL EVENT

"Lettere dal Sahara"
Vittorio De Seta (Italy)

HORIZONS

"SUELY"
Karim Ainouz (Brazil)

"KOOROGI"
Aoyama Shinji (Japan)

"THE HOTTEST STATE"
Ethan Hawke (U.S.)

"TAIYANG YU"
Ho Yuhang (Malaysia-Hong Kong)

"SVOBODNOE PLAVANIE"
Boros Khlebnikov (Russia)

"EL COBRA-DOR"
Paul Leduc (Mexico-Argentina-Brazil)

"MABEI SHANG DE FATING"
Liu Jie (China)

"INFAMOUS"
Douglas McGrath (U.S.)

"OPERA JAWA"
Garin Nugroho (Indonesia)

"QUIJOTE"
Mimmo Paladino (Italy)

"NON PRENDERE INPEGNI STASERA"
Gianluca Tavarelli (Italy)

"ROMA WA LA N'TOUMA"
Tariq Teguia (Algeria-France-Germany)

HORIZONS DOCUMENTARIES

"ANA ALATI TAHMOL AZOUR ILA QABRIHA"
Hala Alabdalla YakOub, Ammar Al Beik (Syria-France)

"BELLISSIME 2"
Giovanna Gagliardo (Italy)

"DONG"
Jia Zhangke (China)

"THE U.S. VS. JOHN LENNON"
David Leaf, John Scheinfeld (U.S.)

"WHEN THE LEEVES BROKE. A REQUIEM IN FOUR ACTS"
Spike Lee (U.S.)

"TACHIGUISHI RETSUDEN"
Oshi Mamoru (Japan)

"HEIMAT -- FRAGMENTE"
Edgar Reitz, Christian Reitz (Germany)

SPECIAL EVENTS

"PASOLINI PROSSIMO NOSTRO"
Giuseppe Bertolucci (Italy-France)

"AKAMAS"
Panicos Chrysanthou (Cyprus-Greece-Hungary-Turkey)

"C'EST GRADIVA QUI VOUS APPELLE"
Alain Robbe-Grillet (France-Belgium)

"KILL GIL (VOL. 2)"
Gil Rossellini (Italy-Switzerland)

"IL MIO PAESE"
Daniele Vicari (Italy)


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