Actors George Clooney(right) and Brad Pitt arrive for the premiere of the movie 'Burn After Reading' that opens the 65th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008.(Agencies)
The Venice Film Festival opened Wednesday night with the premiere of the Coen brothers' dark comedy "Burn After Reading," giving a flash of Hollywood glamour to a festival lineup with a definite art house feel.
The 21 films competing for the coveted Golden Lion at the festival, which runs through Sept. 6, will provide a snapshot of world cinema, with entries from Ethiopia, Turkey, Algeria and a Brazilian-Chinese production.
While the lineup gives the impression of being light on celebrity-driven Hollywood fare — due both to the impact of last year's writers' strike and a late selection process for Cannes' springtime festival — festival director Marco Mueller said US films are well represented.
"This is the second time — and it is a record for the history of the festival — we have five American films in competition," Mueller said, emphasizing that selections aren't based on any national criteria. "The festival is not an atlas of nations."
"Burn After Reading," starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton, is among another five American films being shown out of competition.
The first US film vying for the Golden Lion is Guillermo Arriaga's "The Burning Plain," starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger as a mother and daughter trying to forge a bond. The writer of "21 Grams" is making his debut as director.
Darren Aronofsky will present "The Wrestler," starring Mickey Rourke as a wrestler forced into retirement who strikes up a romance with an aging stripper played by Marisa Tomei. Jonathan Demme will be showing his "Rachel Getting Married" starring Anne Hathaway as a daughter whose return home for her sister's wedding brings out old tensions.
Kathryn Bigelow is bringing "The Hurt Locker," an Iraq war drama portraying soldiers who defuse bombs in the heat of war. Also among the US entries is Iranian-born Amir Naderi's "Vegas: Based on a True Story," about the family life of a compulsive gambler.
Pitt picked up an award Wednesday that he won last year — the best actor's prize for "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."
"You can run but you can't hide," Pitt joked as he accepted the award during the opening ceremony. "It was an honor to receive this last year and it remains an honor to accept this this year."
German filmmaker Wim Wenders, whose credits include "Paris, Texas" and "Buena Vista Social Club," is heading this year's jury.
"We will see 21 films and I hope — and I have a lot of confidence in Marco — that we will see 21 films that will give us the state of art of what is cinema today," Wenders said.
"Burn After Reading" is Clooney's third film with the Coen brothers — completing what he called "his trilogy of idiots" after "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Intolerable Cruelty."
Pitt and McDormand play a pair of hapless gym employees who get in way over their heads when the memoirs of a failed CIA analyst, played by John Malkovich, fall into their hands and they try to peddle them as classified intelligence. Clooney plays a hypochondriac philanderer having an affair with the CIA analyst's disappointed wife, played by Swinton.
"We started writing the movie as kind of an exercise, thinking of what kind of parts these actors might play, what kind of story they might inhabit," Ethan Coen told a news conference.
The film is set within a spy story for no other reason than "we hadn't done one before," Joel Coen told reporters.
"It could have been a dog movie or an outer space movie. We just kind of landed on a spy movie," he said.
(英语点津 Helen 编辑）
hypochondriac: A person affected with hypochondria.(患忧郁症的人)