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Moscow Film Fest to Kick Off Thursday With Brad Pitt's ‘World War Z’

ON THE SET:
Brad Pitt in "World War Z."

The 35th edition of the event will close with Russian biopic "Rasputin," in which Gerard Depardieu plays the advisor to the country’s last czar.

MOSCOW -- The 35th edition of the Moscow International Film Festival will kick off in the Russian capital on Thursday with a local premiere of director Marc Forster’s World War Z.

The movie’s star Brad Pitt is expected to turn up in Moscow for the screening, as one of the festival’s highest profile guests this year.

The festival’s official competition will feature 16 films. Among the highlights are the erotic drama Delight by British veteran Gareth Jones, Rol (Role) by Russian art house director Konstantin Lopushansky and the teenage drama Los chicos del Puerto (The Kids From the Port) by Spaniard Alberto Morais.

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Among the fest’s most prominent non-competition sections are 8 1/2 Films, which normally includes eight full-length features and a short, and Films Around the World.

8 1/2 Films is to feature, among others, Borgman by Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam, Vechnoe Vozvraschenie” (Eternal Homecoming) by Russian/Ukrainian Kira Muratova and the experimental film 3x3d by Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Greenaway and Edgar Pêra.

The most notable titles in Films Around the World are Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, starring Romain Duris and Audrey TautouSophie Blondy’s L'étoile du jour (The Morning Star), starring Iggy Pop, Denis Lavant, and Béatrice Dalle, and We Will Riot, the debut feature by Lithuania’s Romas Zabarauskas.

The festival’s retrospectives this year are devoted to Bernardo Bertolucci, Greece-born, France-based director Costa Gavras, including his most recent film, Le Capital; French-born Swiss director Ursula Meier; and Russian director Alexei Balabanov, who died last month at the age of 54.

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The other non-competition sections include Minor Dutch Artists, Korean Cinema Showcase, 20th Century Fox Golden Collection and the documentary program Free Thought.

The award ceremony is to be held on June 29. The festival will close with the screening of Irakli Kvirikadze’s Rasputin, a biopic on Grigory Rasputin, an early 20th century mysterious psychic and faith healer and advisor to Russia’s last czar Nikolai the Second. Rasputin is played by Gérard Depardieu.

The festival’s industry section, Moscow Business Square, runs June 24-26, featuring the Moscow Co-production Forum and a series of round-table discussions and presentations.