Five Americans dock in Venice

U.S. lands about a quarter of competition slots for fest's 65th edition

The latest films from Jonathan Demme, Darren Aronofsky and Kathryn Bigelow have helped the U.S. claim the most competition slots at the 65th Venice Film Festival, which boasts 19 world premieres.

In all, 15 of the 21 films hail from four markets. The U.S. will provide five of the titles, with four from Italy and three apiece from France and Japan.

All but two — Oshii Mamoru's "The Sky Crawlers" and Hayao Miyazaki's "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea," both animated Japanese films — are world premieres.

The festival is set for Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

Demme will make the trip to Venice for the second consecutive year with "Rachel Getting Married," a drama about a woman leaving rehab after 10 years to attend her sister's wedding. Sony Pictures Classics will release the film in the U.S.

Guillermo Arriaga, who earned an Oscar nomination for his "Babel" screenplay, will make his first appearance in competition in Venice with the mother-daughter drama "The Burning Plain."

Bigelow's war thriller "The Hurt Locker," Aronofsky's action drama "The Wrestler" and "Vegas: Based on a True Story," Amir Naderi's first film in three years, round out the U.S. selections.

The strong U.S. showing came despite the threat of a SAG strike, which Venice artistic director Marco Mueller said hurt prospects for many U.S. films.

Pupi Avati's historical drama "Giovanna's Father" and "A Perfect Day" from Ferzan Ozpetek are among the highlights from Italy.

Out of competition selections include Abbas Kiarostami's "Shirin" and opening-night film "Burn After Reading," from Joel and Ethan Coen, which Focus is releasing domestically. (partialdiff)