Venice Film Festival unveils lineup

Movies from the U.S. and Italy feature strongly

GENEVA, Switzerland -- 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, which Sony Pictures Classics will release 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.

A lineup for the Venice festival follows:


"The Wrestler," Darren Aronofsky, U.S.
"The Burning Plain," Guillermo Arriaga, U.S.
"Il Papa di Giovanna," Pupi Avati, Italy
"Birdwatchers," Marco Bechis, Italy
"L'Autre," Patrick Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic, France
"The Hurt Locker," Kathryn Bigelow, U.S.
"Il Seme Della Discordia," Pappi Corsicato, Italy
"Rachel Getting Married," Jonathan Demme, U.S.
"Teza," Haile Gerima, Ethiopia/Germany/France
"Paper Soldier (Bumaznyi Soldat)," Aleksy German Jr., Russia
"Sut," Semih Kaplanoglu, Turkey/France/Germany
"Achilles and the Tortoise (Akires to Kame)," Takeshi Kitano, Japan
"Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea," Hayao Miyazaki, Japan
"Vegas: Based on a True Story," Amir Naderi, U.S.
"The Sky Crawlers," Oshii Mamoru, Japan
"Un Giorno Perfetto," Ferzan Ozpetek, Italy
"Jerichow," Christian Petzold, Germany
"Inju, la Bete Dans l'Ombre," Barbet Schroeder, France
"Nuit de Chien," Werner Schroeter, France/Germany/Portugal
"Inland (Gabbia)," Tariq Teguia, Algeria/France
"Plastic City (Dangkou)," Yu Lik-wai, Brasil/China/Hong Kong/Japan

Out of competition:

"Puccini e la Fanciulla," Paolo Benvenuti, Italy
"Yuppi Du," Adriano Celantano, Italy
"Burn After Reading," Joel and Ethan Coen, U.S. (opening film)
"35 Rhums," Claire Denis, France/Spain
"Shirin," Abbas Kiarostami, Iran
"Tutto e Musica (1973)," Domenico Modugno, Italy
"Orfeo 9 (1973)," Tito Shipa Jr, Italy
"Les Plages d'Agnes," Agnes Varda, France
"Vinyan," Fabrice du Welz, France/U.K./Belgium
"Encarnacao do Demonio," Jose Mojica Marins, Brazil
"Volare (Nel Blue Dipinto di Blu (1959)," Piero Tellini, Italy

For more of the festival's programming, click here.