Hot on the heels of the TIFF announcement earlier this week. The official selection films for the 69th Venice Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia) were revealed at a press conference held Thursday, July 26th 2012, in Rome.
17 world premiere films were announced for this year's competition lineup, leaving room for a few late additions. Some big names vying for the Golden Lion include: Olivier Assayas 'Something in the Air', Brian De Palma 'Passion', Terrence Malick 'To the Wonder', and Takeshi Kitano 'Outrage Beyond'. The fest also sees the second films of the year from Brillante Mendoza 'Thy Womb' and Ulrich Seidl 'Paradise: Faith'.
Opening the festival, out of competition, will be 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' from Indian director Mira Nair, an international political thriller based on a best-selling novel by Mohsin Hamid. The closing film, also out of competition, is 'The Man Who Laughs (L'homme qui rit)' by Jean-Pierre Améris, an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel.
The previously announced International Jury will be led by American director Michael Mann. He is joined by Serbian artist and performer Marina Abramovic, French actress and model Laetitia Casta, Hong Kong producer and director Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Israeli director and screenwriter Ari Folman, Italian director Matteo Garrone, French/Swiss director Ursula Meier, British actress Samantha Morton, and Argentinian director and producer Pablo Trapero.
Read on for a preview of the films in competition at the 2012 Venice International Film Festival (August 29 - September 8):
Something in the Air (Après Mai)
directed by Olivier Assayas
French auteur Olivier Assayas (Carlos), returns with another one of his specialties. A multilingual international drama, that takes place in France, Italy and England. The loosely autobiographical coming of age story is centered on a young student shortly after the radical events of May 1968. Starring Clément Metayer, Lola Créton, Félix Armand.
At Any Price
directed by Ramin Bahrani
American director Ramin Bahrani, winner of the FIPRESCI prize at Venice in 2008 for Goodbye Solo, returns with the dramatic story of a rebellious son of a wealthy farmer, who has dreams of becoming a race-car driver. Starring Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Maika Monroe.
Dormant Beauty (Bella addormentata)
directed by Marco Bellocchio
Veteran Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio's latest is based on a true story, and centers on the last week in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who lived 17 years in a vegetative state before her death in 2009. Starring Isabelle Huppert, Alba Rohrwacher, Maya Sansa, Toni Servillo.
The Fifth Season (La cinquième saison)
directed by Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth
Belgium, Netherlands, France
Directorial team Peter Brosens and Jessica Hope Woodworth's latest, is the final film in a trilogy, following Khadak (winner of the Luigi De Laurentiis Award in 2006) and Altiplano, that explores the contentious relationship between man and nature. A haunting tale set in a Belgian village during a never-ending winter. Starring Aurélia Poirier, Django Schrevens, Sam Louwyck, Gill Vancompernolle.
Fill the Void (Lemale et ha'chalal)
directed by Rama Burshtein
From Israeli director Rama Burshtein, tells the story of an Orthodox Hassidic family from Tel Aviv, and the difficult decision a young girl about to be married must make. Starring Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg, Chaim Sharir.
He Was the Son (È stato il figlio)
directed by Daniele Ciprì
The feature debut from Italian director cinematographer Daniele Ciprì, is a hyper realistic dramatic comedy about a family in modern day Sicily. Starring Toni Servillo, Giselda Volodi, Alfredo Castro, Fabrizio Falco.
A Special Day (Un giorno speciale)
directed by Francesca Comencini
Italian director Francesca Comencini returns to Venice for the second year in a row, after last year's When the Night, with a tale loosely based on a novel by Claudio Bigagli about two young people who dream of a better future, but clash with the rules, seductions, and cynicism of the world. Starring Filippo Scicchitano, Giulia Valentini.
directed by Brian De Palma
The hotly anticipated latest from American director Brian De Palma. A remake of Alain Corneau's Love Crime. The suspenseful tale of a young businesswoman's revenge on her ruthless boss. Starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace.
directed by Xavier Giannoli
Promising French director Xavier Giannoli's thriller about a humble nobody who inexplicably becomes an overnight celebrity, and struggles under the intense media spotlight. Starring Kad Merad and Cécile de France.
directed by Kim Ki-Duk
The 18th film from South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk, and 4th to premiere at Venice. Is named after Michelangelo's sculpture and was recently given a 19+ rating in its home country for its violent and sexual content. Tells the story of a ruthless debt collector working for a loan shark, who one day encounters a mysterious woman claiming she is his mother. Starring Cho Min-soo, Lee Jung-jin.
Outrage Beyond (アウトレイジ ビヨンド)
directed by Takeshi Kitano
Japanese director Takeshi Kitano's anticipated sequel to his 2010 yakuza film Outrage. Was put on hold after the March 11 disaster, but will be ready for Venice, making it his 7th time at the festival. He won the Golden Lion in 1997 for Fireworks. It sees the lead character of the first film released from prison in order to help defeat a violent new gang. Starring Takeshi Kitano, Toshiyuki Nishida, Tomokazu Miura, Ryo Kase, Hideo Nakano.
directed by Harmony Korine
Ever provocative American director Harmony Korine, brings the bound to be outrageous story of four college girls who embark on an unforgettable spring break. Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, James Franco.
To the Wonder
directed by Terrence Malick
The suddenly prolific American director Terrence Malick's likely to be highly experimental and visually breathtaking, romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage fails. Starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz.
Thy Womb (Sinapupunan)
directed by Brillante Mendoza
Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza's second film of the year, after Captive which premiered at the Berlinale. It's about a Bajau midwife coping with the irony of her own infertility, set on the island of Tawi-Tawi. Starring Nora Aunor, Mercedes Cabral, Lovi Poe, Bembol Roco.
Lines of Wellington (Linhas de Wellington)
directed by Valeria Sarmiento
An historical epic conceived by Chilean born filmmaking legend Raúl Ruiz and completed by his widow Valeria Sarmiento, after his passing in 2011. Tells of the 1810 Battle of Bussaco which saw the defeat of French invading forces by the Duke of Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army. Starring John Malkovich, Nuno Lopes, Soraia Chaves, Marisa Paredes, Melvil Poupaud, Mathieu Amalric.
Paradise: Faith (Paradies: Glaube)
directed by Ulrich Seidl
Austria, France, Germany
The second part of Austrian director Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy, the first chapter Paradise: Love premiered in competition at Cannes in May. Follows the sister of Love's main character, a woman who devotes her holiday traveling from door to door, handing out statues of the Virgin Mary. Starring Maria Hofstätter, Nabil Saleh.
directed by Kirill Serebrennikov
Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov's story about two strangers who meet by chance and find out that their partners are lovers. Hmm, sounds like it could be a darker version of In the Mood for Love. Starring Franziska Petri, Dejan Lilic, Albina Dzhanabaeva, Arturs Skrastins.
What do you think of the lineup? Who do you think will win the Golden Lion?