Bullock, Clooney to open 70th Venice Film Festival
Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta, left, and Venice Film Festival President Alberto Barbera arrive for the festival's press conference, in Rome, Thursday, July 25, 2013. The 70th edition of the festival will run from the August 28 to Sept. 7. The techno-thriller "Gravity" starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in outer space will open the 70th Venice Film Festival. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
ROME (AP) — The Venice Film Festival marks its 70th edition with films starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts adrift in space, Scarlett Johanseen as a seductive alien roaming the Scottish countryside and Judi Dench as a single Roman Catholic woman searching for a son she was forced to give up decades before.
Festival director Alberto Barbera concedes that many of the films in the lineup announced Thursday are bleak in their outlook, particularly the ones from countries hit by the ongoing economic crisis.
"Cinema mirrors reality, so we can't complain if auteur films today gives us an image of our times that is not consoling," Barbera told a news conference.
Twenty films will vie for the coveted Golden Lion at the world's oldest film festival, which opens Aug. 28, with the jury headed by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta arrives for the Venice Film Festival's press conference, in Rome, Thursday, July 25, 2013. The 70th edition of the festival will run from the August 28 to Sept 7. The techno-thriller "Gravity" starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in outer space will open the 70th Venice Film Festival. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
The films include Terry Gilliam's "The Zero Theorem," starring Christoph Waltz as a reclusive computer genius, and Peter Landesman's "Parkland," which examines the chaotic events at Dallas' Parkland hospital the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Indie director Kelly Reichardt returns to Venice with "Night Moves," starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as environmental activists plotting to blow up a dam.
Johansson appears in Jonathan Glazer's highly anticipated science fiction thriller "Under the Skin," while Dench stars in Stephen Frears' "Philomena."
Director Alfonso Cuaron's "Gravity," starring Clooney and Bullock, will open the festival and is among 17 films showing out of competition. Thierry Ragobert's documentary "Amazonia" closes the event on Sept. 7.