The Venice Film Festival to be star-studded affair

Though the official line-up of the festival, that runs from September 2 to 12, will be out in Rome on July 30, it is likely to include latest creations from biggies such as Steven Soderbergh, Michael Moore, Joe Dante, Werner Herzog and Todd Solondz.

Festival Director Marco Mueller and his team appear to have decided on movies whose actors would make it a point to fly down to Venice, helping the international event to avoid last year's criticism of being star starved.

Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story will have a go at the current economic crisis, while Soderbergh's The Informant essays Matt Damon as an agriculture business price fixer.

Australian helmer John Hillcoat will make his Venetian sojourn with The Road, starring Charlize Theron in a post-apocalyptic tale, and Herzog's Bad Lieutenant will have Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes.

Charlotte Rampling will accompany Solondz with his Life During Wartime, a kind of sequel to the 1998 Happiness.

Former Gucci creative director Tom Ford is also expected to present his first film, A Single Man, centered on an LA-based British college professor who loses his partner of 16 years. The picture stars Julianne Moore.

For the first time in 20 years, an Italian work will herald the Festival. Called Baaria, it is a big budget Sicilian epic by Tornatore. Others from the country include Tilda Swinton-starrer I am Love (by Luca Guadagnino), The Big Dream (Michele Placido), The White Space (Francesca Comencini) and Napoli, Napoli, Napoli (Abel Ferrara).

The French basket may have White Material, starring Isabelle Huppert and Christopher Lambert; and Patrice Chereau's love triangle, Persecution Charlotte Gainsbourge.

Asian films don't have much to show this year. A reason for this is that Cannes took away many of the significant productions from the continent this May. There is a chance that the Chinese historical work "The Warrior and the Wolf," by Tian Zhuangzhuang, may play there provided it is finished.

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