John Bleasdale

Venice 2012: Lineup announced

Hot on the heels of the Toronto Film Festival programme announcement earlier this week (there’s beginning to be some serious rivalry brewing between these over-lapping showcases), the lineup for the 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival was announced by new Director Alberto Barbera in Rome yesterday, featuring a slimmed down Official Competition strand.

So far, the big news is that Venice will play host to the World Premiere of Terrence Malick’s new film – also booked for Toronto – To the Wonder. Being Malick, we know very little about it except for a bare-bones synopsis about a man returning to the states following a failed relationship in Europe, and the ensemble cast list which includes Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Rachel Weisz and Javier Bardem.

Whilst P.T. Anderson’s eagerly-anticipated The Master is yet to be officially confirmed (though is still strongly rumoured to appear), also in the running for the coveted Golden Lion will be festival favourites ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano – who returns to Yakuza territory with Outrage Beyond – Ki-Duk Kim with Pietà and Philippine filmmaker Brillante Mendoza, who will present his new film, Thy Womb.

Other highlights we can look forward to include a return to screens for Brain De Palma, with Rachel McAdams joining Noomi Rapace for Passion, and Gummo (1997) director Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which promises a Selena Gomez like we’ve never seen before. Italian presence is felt in the form of veteran filmmakers, with Marco Bellochio’s ripped-from-the-headlines euthanasia drama Bella Addormentata and Danieli Ciprì’s Mafia flick È stato il figlio, starring Tony Servillo.

Out of competition, Venice will premiere documentaries from Jonathan Demme, Michael Mann and Spike Lee, as well as Robert Redford’s political thriller The Company You Keep and Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman, starring Michael Shannon as a real-life contract killer. Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist will open the festival, representing a strong female presence amongst directors both in the competition and in the International Critic’s Week and Orizzonti sections, which stands in stark contrast to the controversial, male-centric selection at Cannes this year.

The 69th Venice Film Festival runs from 29 August-8 September. For more of our Venice 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.

John Bleasdale