For the first time at the Venice Film Festival, all films vying for the top Golden Lion award will make their world premieres at the late summer event, organizers said Thursday.
"These films will be discovered at Venice," said Marco Mueller, the director of the annual festival.
Eleven of those films are first works by directors.
Among those in competition at the Aug. 30-Sept. 9 festival: Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland," starring Adrien Brody and Ben Affleck. The movie dramatizes an investigation into the death of George Reeves, star of the 1950s TV show "Adventures of Superman."
Also competing for the Golden Lion: Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men," starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine; Emilio Estevez' "Bobby" with Sharon Stone, Anthony Hopkins and Demi Moore, a movie about the assassination of the U.S. politician Robert Kennedy; and Stephen Frear's "The Queen," with Helen Mirren, James Cromwell and Michael Sheen.
Other entries are Alain Resnais' "Private Fears in Public Places," with Lambert Wilson and Sabine Azema; Darren Aronofsky's "The Fountain," with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, and Gianni Amelio's "La stella che non c'e" (The star that isn't there) with Sergio Castellitto and Tain Ling.
Other in-competition films include Barbara Albert's "Fallen," an Austrian work; Emanuele Crialese's "Nuovomondo (The Golden Door), an Italian film; and Benoit Jacquot's "L'intouchable," a French movie.
Europe and Asia contribute the rest of the films, which include an animation film from Japan called "Paprika" by Satoshi Kon, and "Zwartboek" by Paul Verhoeven.
Many of the festival's most promising films have often been screened out of competition.
This year's group include "Kenneth Branagh's "The Magic Flute," with Joseph Kaiser and Amy Carson, and David Lynch's "Inland Empire," with Laura Dern and Jeremy Irons.
Also showing will be "Belle Toujours" by Manoel de Oliveira and "Quelque jours en Septembre" by Santiago Amigorena, a French-Italian film with Juliette Binoche, John Turturro, Sara Forestier and Nick Nolte.
For the first time, the festival will screen films from Chad, Cyprus and Indonesia, with the African film "Daratt," by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, competing for the Golden Lion.
There will also be a section devoted to Russian cinema.
Tributes will explore works of three Italian directors — Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Mario Soldati.