‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,’ ‘A Dangerous Method,’ ‘Carnage,’ ‘Shame,’ ‘Alps’ Lead Venice Line-Up

Todd Solondz’s ‘Dark Horse,’ Sam Worthington Starrer ‘Texas Killing Fields,’ Persepolis Follow-Up ‘Chicken With Plums’ Also In Competition, Soderbergh’s ‘Contagion,’ Madonna’s ‘W.E.’ Out Of It

After a few months of rumors flying around, the line up for the 2011 Venice Film Festival has been unveiled, and to put it mildly, we’re a little bit excited. The opening and closing films, George Clooney‘s “The Ides of March” and Whit Stillman‘s “Damsels In Distress,” had been revealed over the past few weeks, and now, we’ve got the full selection. There’ll be little new for anyone who spied the leaked line-up a few days ago, which seemed to get things about right, but even without the element of surprise, it’s an incredibly tantalizing selection.

The Ides of March,” which debuted its trailer last night, will kick things off on August 31st, and will actually be part of the main competition, and it’s joined in the official selection by what seems to be something of a banner year for English language film. The U.S. offers up Todd Solondz‘s “Dark Horse,” starring Christopher Walken and Mia Farrow, “Texas Killing Fields,” the debut of Michael Mann‘s daughter Ami Canaan Mann, which stars Sam Worthington and Chloe Moretz, Abel Ferrera‘s apocalyptic “4:44 Last Day On Earth,” and William Friedkin‘s “Killer Joe,” starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch.

Canada’s David Cronenberg will debut his eagerly awaited psychological drama “A Dangerous Method,” which stars Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen, while the U.K. have also put in a strong showing, with Tomas Alfredson‘s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,Andrea Arnold‘s “Wuthering Heights” and Steve McQueen‘s “Shame” also making the cut, while France backed Roman Polanski‘s stage adaptation “Carnage,” with Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly.

As far as international fare goes, we’re most excited about “Alps,” Greek helmer Giorgos Lanthimos‘s follow-up to the outstanding “Dogtooth.” Aleksander Sokurov‘s “Faust” also promises to be a big ticket, as does “Chicken With Plums,” Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud‘s follow-up to their animated film “Persepolis.” Elsewhere, Italy has Cristina Comencini‘s “Quando La Notte,” Emanuele Crialese‘s “Terrafirma” and Gian Alfonso Pacinotti‘s “L’Ultimo Terrestre.”

Monica Bellucci stars in Philippe Garrel‘s “Un Ete Burlant,” Israel is bringing “The Exchange” by Eran Kolirin, and Asian cinema also did well (although Spanish, Scandinavian and Latin American cinema don’t have an entry between them), with China’s “Taojie,” starring Andy Lau, Japan’s “Himizu” from Sion Sono, and Taiwan’s “Seediq Bale.” There’ll also be a surprise film in competition, which we’re sure we’ll inspire some fervent speculation in the next few weeks.

Out of competition, the big-name premieres seem to be Steven Soderbergh‘s virus thriller “Contagion” and Madonna‘s “W.E.,” which looks at the royal abdication drama also seen in last year’s Oscar-winner “The King’s Speech.” Otherwise, Todd Haynes will show all five hours of his spectacularly good “Mildred Pierce,” “American Psycho” helmer Mary Harron returns with “The Moth Diaries” and, in arguably the biggest announcement that hadn’t leaked, Al Pacino‘s “Wilde Salome,” which sees the actor examine Oscar Wilde‘s Biblical play in a similar way to his 1990s documentary “Looking For Richard.”

Takashi Shimizu, the director of “The Grudge,” will premiere “Tormented” (which appears to be a new title for the bonkers-looking, Christopher Doyle-lensed “Rabbit Horror 3D“), Jet Li stars in Tony Ching Siu-Tung‘s “The Sorcerer And The White Snake,” experimental filmmaker Chantal Akerman debuts “La Folie Almayer,” Czech filmmaker Tomas Lunak has “Alois Nebel,” and Daniel Bruhl stars in “Eva.” There’ll also be a restoration of Nicholas Ray‘s “We Can’t Go Home Again,” to mark the centenary of the director’s death, and of Robert Rossellini‘s “India, Matri Bhumi,” while documentaries on Ray, on Diana Vreeland and on the Arab Spring will all premiere.

Yesterday also saw the announcement of the Horizons section, which showcases documentary and experimental work, aiming to blur the line between narrative film and visual artists, and includes Jonathan Demme‘s new documentary “I’m Carolyn Parker; The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful,” the Japan-set thriller “Cut,” from Iranian-American director Amir Naderi, and James Franco‘s “Sal,” the biopic of “Rebel Without a Cause” star Sal Mineo.

Darren Aronofsky is chairing the jury this year, and you can check the full line up out below. All in all, it’s hugely exciting, with a fair few films that Toronto doesn’t seem to have bagged yet, and, as we’re hitting the festival for the first time, we’ll be bringing you reports on most of these films when the festival runs between August 31st and September 10th.

Venice 2011 Competition
The Ides of March, George Clooney (US) [opening film]
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Tomas Alfredson (UK, Germany)
Wuthering Heights, Andrea Arnold (UK)
Texas Killing Fields, Ami Canaan Maan (US) (second work)
Quando La Notte, Cristina Comencini (Italy)
Terraferma, Emanuele Crialese (Italy/France)
A Dangerous Method, David Cronenberg (Germany/Canada)
4:44 Last Day On Earth, Abel Ferrara (US)
Killer Joe, William Friedkin (US)
Un Ete Brulant, Philippe Garrel (France/Italy/Switzerland)
A Simple Life (Taojie), Ann Hui (China/Hong Kong)
The Exchange (Hahithalfut), Eran Kolirin (Israel) (second work)
Alps (Alpeis), Yorgos Lanthimos (Greece)
Shame, Steve McQueen (UK) (second work)
L’ultimo Terrestre, Gian Alfonso Pacinotti (GIPI) (Italy) (first work)
Carnage, Roman Polanski (France/Germany/Spain/Poland)
Chicken With Plums, Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (France/Belgium/Germany)
Faust, Aleksander Sokurov (Russia)
Dark Horse, Todd Solondz (US)
Himizu, Sion Sono (Japan)
Seediq Bale, Wei Te-Sheng (Taiwan) (second work)
Surprise film

Out Of Competition
Vivan las Antipodas! (documentary), Victor Kossakovsky (Germany/Argentina/Holland/Chile/Russia) [opening film]
Damsels In Distress, Whit Stillman (US) [closing film]
La Folie Almayer, Chantal Akerman (Belgium/France)
The Sorcerer And The White Snake (Baish Echuanshuo), Tony Ching Siu-Tung (China/Hong Kong)
Giochi D’estate, Rolando Colla (Switzerland/Italy)
La Desintegration, Philippe Fauchon (Belgium)
The Moth Diaries, Mary Harron (Canada/Ireland)
Alois Nebel, Tomas Lunak (first work) (Czech Republic/Germany)
W.E., Madonna (UK) (second work)
Eva, Kike Maillo (UK) (first work)
Scossa, Francesco Maselli, Carlo Lizzani, Ugo Gregoretti, Nino Russo (Italy)
La Cle Des Champs, Claude Nuridsany, Marie Perennou (France)
Il Villaggio Di Cartone, Ermanno Olmi (Italy)
Wilde Salome, Al Pacino (US)
Tormented, Takashi Shimizu (Japan)
Contagion, Steven Soderbergh (US)
Marco Bellocchio, Venezia 2011, Pietro Marcello (Italy) (documentary, short)
La Meditazione Di Hayez, Mario Martone (Italy) (short)
Tahrir 2011, Tamer Ezzat, Ahmad Abdalla, Ayten Amin, Amr Salama (Egypt) (documentary)
The End, Collectif Abounaddara (Syria)
Vanguard, Colleftif Abounaddara (Syria)
Evolution (Megaplex) (3D), Marco Brambilla (US) (experimental film)
Questa Storia Qua , Alessandro Paris, Sibylle Righetti (Italy) (documentary)
Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel, Lisa Immordino Vreeland (US) (documentary)
Golden Career Lion – Nel Nome Del Padre, Marcho Bellocchio (Italy)

Cut, Amir Nadri (opening film)
L’Oiseau, Yves Cuamon
Wilson Hail, Amiel Courtin
Nocturnos, Edgardo Cozarinsky
Amore Carne, Pippo Delbono
I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad And The Beautiful, Jonathan Demme
Sal, James Franco
Whores’ Glory, MIchael Glawogger
Die Herde Des Herrn, Romuald Karmakar,
Stateless Things (Jultak dongshi), Kim Kyungmook,
Clarissa Campolina. Helvécio Marins Jr.,
Photographic Memory, Ross McElwee,
The Invader, Nicolas Provost
Shock Head Soul, Simon Pummell,
Two Years at Sea, Ben Rivers,
Aims Of The Blind Horse (Anhey ghorhey da daan), Gurvinder Singh,
The Orator (O le tulafale), Tusi Tamasese
Lung Neaw Visits His Neighbours, Rirkrit Tiravanija,
Verano, José Luis Torres Leiva,
Kotoko, Shinya Tsukamoto,
Le Petit Poucet, Marina de Van,
Swan (Cisne), Teresa Villaverde,
The Sword Identity (Wokou de zongji), Xu Haofen,
Would You Have Sex with an Arab?, Yolande Zauberman,

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