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Originally published July 30, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 30, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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U.S. and British films head strong lineup for Venice fest

American and British films dominate this year's Venice film festival, including Brian De Palma's "Redacted" and Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling...

The Associated Press

ROME — American and British films dominate this year's Venice film festival, including Brian De Palma's "Redacted" and Wes Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited."

Of the 22 movies vying for the Golden Lion, about half are either American or British. All are world premieres.

Festival director Marco Mueller said all the works in competition "stand out for their originality and personality," noting that U.S. and British productions can feature a "great dose of freedom."

At least two of the American movies deal with war in Iraq: "Redacted" by De Palma and "In the Valley of Elah," directed by Paul Haggis. Tommy Lee Jones, Charlize Theron and Susan Sarandon star in Haggis' film.

Also in the competition: "Sleuth," directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Jude Law and Michael Caine; "It's a Free World," by Ken Loach; and "Atonement," an adaptation of Ian McEwan's best-selling novel, directed by Joe Wright.

"Atonement," which stars Keira Knightley and Vanessa Redgrave, will open the festival Aug. 29.

Ang Lee returns to Venice with the Chinese-language spy thriller "Lust, Caution," about a group of patriotic students who plot to assassinate the intelligence chief of China's Japan-backed World War II-era government.

Anderson's "The Darjeeling Limited," a comedy about three brothers traveling through India, stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman.

Peter Greenaway's "Night Watching," Eric Rohmer's "Les Amours d'Astree et de Celadon" and Nikita Mikhalkov's "12" will also be competing in one of the strongest lineups in years.

Like any festival, Venice hopes to combine art with glamour, and the rich program suggests some A-list Hollywood celebrities might hit the red carpet at the Lido.

Brad Pitt leads the cast of Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; George Clooney stars in "Michael Clayton" by Tony Gilroy; and Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger and Christian Bale are in the cast of "I'm Not There" by Todd Haynes.

Bernardo Bertolucci will receive an honorary Golden Lion award during the Sept. 8 closing ceremony.

Associated Press writer Mia Bain in Rome contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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