Wim Wenders heads up the Venice Film Festival jury
European films are set to dominate the 65th Venice Film Festival, with fewer Hollywood movies to be shown because of the impact of the writers' strike.
All but two of the 21 titles competing for the Italian event's coveted Golden Lion will be world premieres.
They include Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war drama Hurt Locker, with Ralph Fiennes, and Marco Bechis' Birdwatchers.
The festival opens on 27 August with an out-of-competition premiere of Joel and Ethan Coen's Burn After Reading.
It stars Coen favourite George Clooney, along with John Malkovich, Brad Pitt and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.
German director Wim Wenders, whose work includes 1999's Buena Vista Social Club, will head the festival jury.
Among the favourites for the Golden Lion are Japanese directors Takeshi Kitano, with Achilles and the Tortoise, and Hayao Miyasaki, for the animated feature Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea.
The prize will be awarded on 6 September.
The Coen brothers' latest offering will have its world premiere
Other strong contenders include US director Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke, and French film-maker Barbet Schroeder's thriller L'Inju: la Bete dans l'Ombre, or The Beast in the Shadows.
Films being shown out of competition include 35 Rums by French director Claire Denis, Iranian film-maker Abbas Kiarostami's Shirin and an autobiographical documentary by Belgium-born director Agnes Varda.
This year's festival will be dedicated to the late Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, organisers said.
The central figure in post-war Arab cinema, Chahine died on Sunday aged 82 after spending several weeks in a coma.