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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Spaghetti westerns head to Venice
Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino is a long-time fan of spaghetti westerns
The line-up for this year's Venice Film Festival has been announced, with 32 spaghetti westerns on the bill.

The retrospective will be curated by film-maker Quentin Tarantino, who promised the genre's little-known directors "will now get their due".

Films by Ken Loach, Kenneth Branagh and Wes Anderson are in competition for the festival's main prize, the Golden Lion.

The event, which first took place in 1932, opens with Keira Knightley's latest movie, Atonement, on 29 August.

The adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, co-starring Vanessa Redgrave and James McAvoy, will also be a contender for the top prize.

Ang Lee, whose Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion in 2005, is also in competition with his Chinese thriller Lust, Caution.

Hollywood names

Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron plays a detective in Paul Haggis's Iraq-led drama
The list of competitors is unusually full of Hollywood movies, with stars like Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron and Richard Gere all appearing in films selected to play in competition.

Gere is one of six actors playing Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes biopic I'm Not There, while Theron features in the latest film from Crash screenwriter Paul Haggis, In The Valley of Elah.

Pitt stars in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a long-delayed drama about the notorious American outlaw. His Ocean's Thirteen co-star George Clooney also returns to Venice, in thriller Michael Clayton.

UK film director Kenneth Branagh joins the competition line-up with his adaptation of the Anthony Shaffer play Sleuth - starring Jude Law and Michael Caine.

Fellow Briton Ken Loach's It's A Free World takes a look at illegal employment in contemporary Britain, while Wes Anderson's comedy The Darjeeling Limited sees Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman as brothers travelling across India.

'Sushi western'

Meanwhile, Tarantino crops up again in Sukiyaki Western Django, a so-called "sushi western" by his friend Takashi Miike.

The spaghetti western season is part of the festival's ongoing series on the secret history of Italian cinema.

It will highlight the minimalist, violent westerns produced by Italian studios in the 1960s and 70s - which remain little-known in their home country.

The genre's greatest exponent - Sergio Leone - is not featured in the retrospective, although a restored print of his classic Clint Eastwood film, A Fistful of Dollars, is showing out of competition.

Lifetime achievement

Tim Burton
Batman director Tim Burton receives a lifetime achievement prize
Other movies showing out of competition include Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, starring Ewan McGregor and Colin Farrell, and the Scarlett Johansson comedy The Nanny Diaries.

As previously announced, Tim Burton will be given a lifetime achievement award, while Italian film-maker Bernardo Bertolucci will receive a special award marking the 75th year of the festival.

Renowned for sweeping epics like The Last Emperor, as well as more intimate, psychological pieces such as Last Tango In Paris, he will pick up his award at the closing ceremony on 8 September.

The award marks the 75th anniversary of the film festival - although World War II and other breaks in its schedule mean this year's event will actually be the 64th.

Knightley film to kick off Venice
15 Jun 07 |  Entertainment
Director Lee eyes Venice comeback
13 Jul 07 |  Entertainment
Burton honoured with Venice prize
22 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
Tarantino set for Japanese film
22 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Mirren crowned 'queen' at Venice
09 Sep 06 |  Entertainment

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