Venice film fest to showcase young directors

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Venice film fest to showcase young directors

ROME - The new generation of filmmakers will come into its own at this year’s Venice Film Festival, where 41-year-old U.S. director Darren Aronofsky will raise the curtain with “Black Swan,” organizers said Thursday.

“Venice is getting younger,” said director Marco Mueller as he presented the selection for the world’s oldest movie festival, set for Sept. 1-11.

The average age of the directors in the 23 films in competition is 47, Mueller noted, joking that “if we retired [78-year-old U.S. director] Monte Hellman, it would go down to 45.”

Others in the under-50 crowd who will compete for the Golden Lion are Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola, 39, and Vincent Gallo, 49, both of the U.S., and 43-year-old Francois Ozon of France.

Aronofsky, who won in Venice in 2008 with “The Wrestler,” starring Mickey Rourke, has the honor of opening this year’s Mostra with “Black Swan,” a psychological thriller about the cutthroat New York ballet world.

Coppola, who won a best screenplay Oscar for “Lost in Translation” (2003), offers a dramatic comedy, “Somewhere,” set in Hollywood and produced by her serial Oscar-winning father Francis Ford Coppola.

Gallo’s “Promises Written on Water” is a somber tale about a girl with a terminal illness.

Perhaps compensating for his youth, Ozon has tapped mature talent in veteran French actors Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu in his comedy “Potiche.”

Two other U.S. directors are in the running for the Golden Lion: Kelly Reichardt with “Meek’s Cutoff” and Julian Schnabel with “Miral” starring Willem Dafoe.

Another five U.S. films, including Ben Affleck’s “The Town” and Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones’ “A Letter to Elia,” will screen out of competition as American films return in force to the city after a few lower-profile years.

Italy has four films in competition including Saverio Costanzo’s adaptation of the best-selling Paolo Giordano novel “The Solitude of Prime Numbers.”

Among the three French candidates is “Black Venus” by Tunisian-born Abdellatif Kechiche, whose “The Secret of the Grain” won the special jury prize in Venice in 2007. “Black Venus” relates the story of a southern African slave of Dutch farmers who was exhibited as a freak show attraction in Europe in the early 19th century, forced to gyrate her large buttocks.

Only three Asian films are in the running. Two are from Japan: “13 Assassins” by Miike Takashi and “Norwegian Wood” by Tran Anh Hung; and from China “Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame” by Tsui Hark.

Organizers will announce a surprise contender on Sept. 6.

The event will screen 79 full-length world premieres from 34 countries, including a work from the Dominican Republic for the first time, about its neighbor Haiti.

Quentin Tarantino heads the jury of the 67th edition of the event, which will also include fellow directors Arnaud Desplechin of France, Guillermo Arriaga of Mexico and Italian Gabriele Salvatores.

They will choose winners for the top prize Golden Lion for best film, Volpi Cups for best actor and actress and a special jury prize. AFP


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