Venice Film Fest full of stars

ROME • The Venice Film Festival revealed a star-filled line-up for its 73rd annual edition on Thursday.

The world's oldest film festival will open on Aug 31 with Whiplash director Damien Chazelle's La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a musical romantic comedy about a jazz pianist who falls in love with an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

It will close on Sept 10 with Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven, featuring Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard and Lee Byung Hun in an all-star remake of the 1960 classic western.

In competition for the top prize are 20 films, including Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Batch, a black comedy about cannibals in Texas, featuring Jason Momoa and Keanu Reeves; and fashion designer Tom Ford's thriller Nocturnal Animals, featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.

Serbian director Emir Kusturica will also vie for the Golden Lion award with On The Milky Road, featuring himself and Monica Bellucci in a story that stretches through war, love and living as a reclusive monk.

Canadian film-maker Denis Villeneuve is in competition with his sci-fi film Arrival, starring Amy Adams, and Dutch director Martin Koolhoven, with his first English-language film Brimstone, a historical drama starring Game Of Thrones' Kit Harington.

Pablo Larrain's biopic Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as the late United States First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of her husband John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963, was added to the competition at the last minute.

The first two episodes of Paolo Sorrentino's hotly anticipated television miniseries The Young Pope, featuring Jude Law as a cigarette-smoking American pontiff Pius XIII, will screen in an out-of-competition section.

Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge, based on the true story of a World War II army medic who refused to bear arms, but later received the Medal of Honor for saving many of his comrades, will also screen out of competition, alongside Philippe Falardeau's boxer movie The Bleeder with Naomi Watts.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Venice Film Fest full of stars'. Print Edition | Subscribe