Venice Film Fest to Open With World Premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's 'Birdman'

3:32 AM PST 07/10/2014 by Eric J. Lyman, George Szalai
Courtesy of Anonymous Content
Michael Keaton stars in "Birdman."

The black comedy starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts tells the story of an actor known for playing a popular superhero.

ROME — The Venice Film Festival will open its 71st edition with Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, the latest film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, festival officials said Thursday.

The black comedy starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, and Naomi Watts tells the story of an actor known for playing a popular superhero and his struggles to produce a Broadway play. Keaton is in the starring role.

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Inarritu, who earned two Oscar nominations for Babel in 2007, last came to Venice with 21 Grams, which screened in competition. Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance will also screen in competition, something unusual for an opening film in Venice.

The film is the second official lineup announcement for the latest edition of the storied Venice festival, which runs August 27 through Sept. 6.

The comedy is scheduled to go into wide release in North America on Oct. 17 and will open in most international territories early next year.

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Venice already announced the heads of the key juries and said the festival will close with The Golden Era (Huang jun shi dai) from Ann Hui.

The complete lineup should be released later this month.

Twitter: @EricJLyman
Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai 
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