LONDON (Reuters) - The Venice film festival opens on Wednesday.
Following is a selection of movies to look out for, both in the main competition and screening in other line-ups at the August 29-September 8 event.
- At Any Price
Former “High School Musical” heartthrob Zac Efron continues his quest for roles in small-budget, cutting-edge movies in a father-and-son tale set against the competitive world of modern agriculture.
- Bella Addormentata
Marco Bellocchio tackles the theme of the right to live or die in this dramatization of the final days in the life of Eluana Englaro, who was left in a vegetative state following a car accident.
- The Company You Keep
Veteran actor/director Robert Redford stars and directs this political thriller, about a former left-wing militant in the United States who is exposed by an aggressive and ambitious young reporter played by Shia LaBeouf.
The cast includes Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper and Susan Sarandon.
- Fill the Void
Director Rama Burshtein tells the story of 18-year-old Shira, who is forced to choose between the man she wants to wed and the man her Orthodox Hassidic family believes it is her duty to marry.
- The Master
Paul Thomas Anderson returns to the big screen after directing the 2007 critical hit “There Will Be Blood” with a tale that touches upon Scientology, ensuring plenty of press interest given the self-described religion’s controversial profile in Hollywood and beyond.
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Lancaster Dodd, loosely based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Joaquin Phoenix is Freddie Sutton, an unsettled navy veteran who returns from war and is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.
Brian De Palma returns to Venice with this erotic thriller, with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace as business colleagues whose rivalry turns into a dangerous game of seduction, manipulation and violence.
De Palma is best known for “Carrie” and “Scarface”, but in 2007 he shook up the Venice film festival with “Redacted”, an Iraq war drama which polarized critics and audiences.
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Indian director Mira Nair has adapted a novel of the same name by Mohsin Hamid, and the movie follows a young Pakistani man who is rising through the ranks on Wall Street when the attacks of 9/11 throw his life into turmoil.
- Spring Breakers
Harmony Korine’s tale of four wild college girls preparing for their spring break should create plenty of buzz, with former Disney actress/singer Selena Gomez, who is dating Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, in a leading role.
Groundbreaking female Saudi film maker Haifaa al-Mansour says this tale of hope and perseverance is the first full-length feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia.
It follows a 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh who dreams of buying a beautiful green bicycle, but her quest brings her up against discrimination which the director wants to challenge.
- To the Wonder
In a career spanning over 40 years, Terrence Malick has directed just six feature-length movies. Yet two of those have arrived in two years, with To the Wonder coming a year after “The Tree of Life” won the Palme d’Or in Cannes.
To the Wonder, rated “R” for scenes of sex and nudity, stars McAdams, Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem in a romantic drama in which a man reconnects with an old friend after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Pravin Char