Two Chinese films to compete at 76th Venice Film Festival

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Two Chinese films will compete for the Golden Lion at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, according to the line-up announced in Rome on Thursday.

They are Saturday Fiction, directed by Lou Ye and starring Gong Li, Joe Odagiri, Pascal Greggory, Tom Wlaschiha, and No. 7 Cherry Lane, an animation feature directed by Yon Fan.

Also competing for the top prize will be works from award-winning directors such as Olivier Assayas from France and Canada's Atom Egoyan, as well as Roman Polanski with his much-anticipated new movie J'Accuse (I Accuse), a period piece based on the life of 19th-century French officer Alfred Dreyfus, who was wrongfully accused of treason.

The U.S. has four star-studded films in the running. These include Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson and directed by Noah Baumbach, and Ad Astra by director James Gray, starring Brad Pitt and Liv Tyler.

Steven Soderbergh steps into the ring with The Laundromat, a drama starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone and Gary Oldman about the web of money laundering revealed in the so-called Panama Papers data leak of 2015.

Director Todd Phillips will present The Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro, a psychological thriller based on the DC Comics character of the same name.

La vérité (The Truth), directed by Japan's Kore-eda Hirokazu, is the opening movie, in competition, of the festival. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke in a drama in which a reunion between mother and daughter turns to confrontation: truths are told, accounts settled, love and resentment confessed. It will have its world premiere at Venice Festival.

"We shot the movie in ten weeks last fall in Paris," the Japanese director said in a statement. "The film...recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house. I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy, and reconciliation."

The line-up also includes movies from Australia, Chile, and Saudi Arabia.

The 76th Venice International Film Festival runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7. 

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