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From Roman Polanski to Madonna: Venice 2011

Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz, Carnage, Roman Polanski
Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz in Roman Polanski’s Carnage

What do Roman Polanski, David Cronenberg, George Clooney, Todd Solondz, Tomas Alfredson, and Madonna have in common? In addition to human genes, they’ll have movies screened at the 2011 Venice Film Festival according to Variety’s Nick Vivarelli.

Like every film festival no matter where, Venice needs international celebrities. Unfortunately, that usually means the inclusion of films featuring Hollywood stars to the detriment of star-less productions — no matter how good — from elsewhere. How can Venice remain relevant if it doesn’t come up with at least a few potential Oscar contenders?

The Venice Film Festival will announce its line-up later this week, but as per Variety’s sources, American entries at Venice are: George Clooney’s political thriller The Ides of March; William Friedkin’s Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey as a cop-cum-hitman; Abel Ferrara’s Last Day on Earth, with Willem Dafoe; and Ami Canaan Mann’s thriller Texas Killing Fields, with Avatar’s Sam Worthington.

Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, and Christoph Waltz are all to be found in Roman Polanski’s Carnage. Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, and Michael Fassbender star in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. And Mia Farrow and Christopher Walken topline Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse.

Tomas Alfredson’s John Le Carré adaptation Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy features Colin Firth, John Hurt, Tom Hardy, and Gary Oldman among others. Steve McQueen’s Shame stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan.

Other entries include Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights; Wei Te-sheng’s Seediq Bale; Sion Sono’s Himizu; Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Poulet aux prunes / Chicken with Plums; Cristina Comencini’s Quando la notte; Yorgos Lanthimos’ Alps; and Philippe Garrel’s A Burning Hot Summer, a remake of Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt starring Monica Bellucci in the old Brigitte Bardot role.

Madonna’s W.E., about the relationship between King Edward VIII (James D’Arcy) and Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and another between a modern-day married woman (Abbie Cornish) and a Russian security guard (Oscar Isaac), is expected to be screened out of competition.

The Variety list doesn’t include a single production from Latin America, Africa, South-Central Asia, Central-Northern Europe, Arab countries, or Australia/New Zealand. Perhaps because previous possibilities such as Walter SallesOn the Road, starring Kristen Stewart and Garrett Hedlund, and films by Wong Kar Wai, Luc Besson, Brillante Mendoza and Fatih Akin were not ready in time.

Venice 2011 runs August 31-September 10.

Photo: Carnage (Sony Pictures Classics)

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