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Thursday, July 29, 1999 Published at 16:54 GMT 17:54 UK


Entertainment

Eyes wide open in Venice

Antonio Banderas' debut as a director stars his wife Melanie Griffith

This year's Venice Film Festival programme has been unveiled - featuring Antonio Banderas' debut as a director and the European premiere of Stanley Kubrick's last film, Eyes Wide Shut.

The steamy thriller, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, will open the event on 1 September. It will close on 11 September with the Golden Lion awards ceremony and the first showing of a documentary on Italian cinema by Martin Scorcese.

Eighty-one films from all over the world will be shown at the festival, with 18 in competition, including Crazy Alabama, Antonio Banderas' film about the US civil rights movement of the 1960s starring his wife, Melanie Griffith.


[ image: Eyes Wide Shut will get its European premiere in Venice]
Eyes Wide Shut will get its European premiere in Venice
Banderas, whose acting credits include The Mask of Zorro and Evita, has already announced he will soon direct a television series based on six unpublished stories by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Other films in competition include Holy Smoke, starring Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel and directed by Jane Campion. British director Mike Leigh's latest film, Topsy-Turvy, starring Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent and Timothy Spall will also be competing.

Films being shown out of competition include Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, starring Sean Penn and Uma Thurman, and Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich, starring Cameron Diaz, John Cusack and Malkovich himself.


[ image: Mike Leigh: Topsy-Turvy will be shown at Venice]
Mike Leigh: Topsy-Turvy will be shown at Venice
Horror expert Wes Craven will unveil a new direction in his film-making - his sentimental story starring Meryl Streep, Music of The Heart, will also be shown at Venice. British film-maker Michael Winterbottom's With Or Without You will be shown too.

This year's films come from countries as diverse as Iran, China, Australia, Japan, the US and Austria.

"The festival aims at reflecting the multiplicity and complexity of today's cinema," said curator Alberto Barbera.

A special career award will be given to Jerry Lewis, who will attend the screening of his 1960 film The Bellboy, which marked his debut as a director.

Other celebrities expected to attend include Streep, Diaz, Keitel, Banderas, Griffith, Catherine Deneuve and Ewan McGregor.



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