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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Venice prepares for film invasion
Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman in The Human Stain
Hopkins and Kidman's new film, The Human Stain, will be screened
Venice is preparing for stars, executives and media to descend on the city for its 60th annual film festival, which begins on Wednesday.

The world première of Woody Allen's new film, Anything Else, will open the event while 20 films - mainly European - will compete for the event's top prize, the Golden Lion.

Stars including Nicole Kidman, George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones will also promote their latest films from the red carpet during the 11-day festival.

The event is the world's oldest film festival and ranks alongside Cannes, Berlin and Toronto as one of the most prestigious gatherings of the year.

Intolerable Cruelty
Clooney and Zeta Jones star in Intolerable Cruelty
A record 1,591 films were submitted this year - of which 143 have been chosen for screening.

However festival director Moritz de Hadeln said lack of funds had hampered many plans for the event - known as the Mostra.

"Things aren't going really as I thought they would," he said. "So many plans to renovate the Mostra, to give it prestige, are still in the drawer.

"I started with great enthusiasm, but today I have to confess a certain frustration. Venice is a city which sinks everything."

Workmen have been putting the finishing touches to an undulating walkway - designed to mirror the movements of the city's waves - leading to the main Art Deco cinema.

Venice press conference with event director Moritz de Hadeln
Venice is a city which sinks everything
Moritz de Hadeln (centre)
Festival director
Nicole Kidman's latest movie, The Human Stain, which also stars Anthony Hopkins, is among those being screened out of competition.

And George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones are expected to support their new venture, Intolerable Cruelty, directed by the Coen brothers.

Among the other highlights will be Italian legend Bernardo Bertolucci's latest release, The Dreamers, set in Paris during the 1968 riots.

And Martin Scorsese will introduce a preview of his documentary about the history of blues music.

Allen will be in town to screen Anything Else, a comedy that also stars Christina Ricci and American Pie star Jason Biggs.

"I've never been to Venice at festival time and the city has been so generous and supportive to me and I love it so much that it will be a great honour," he said.

The UK's Michael Winterbottom and Oscar winner Christopher Hampton are among the directors with films in the running for the Golden Lion.

Last year, the prize was won by controversial and gritty film The Magdalene Sisters by Scottish director Peter Mullan.



The attraction of Venice
29 Aug 02  |  Film

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