Rich pickings at film fest

The Premiere Nights Athens International Film Festival promises to live up to its name. Two films that will open the Venice International Film Festival (Mostra) will be screened shortly afterward at the Athens event, scheduled to take place from September 19 to 30. Joe Wright’s «Atonement,» based on the best-seller by Ian McEwan, is set in Britain in the years between the two world wars. In the film – starring Vanessa Redgrave, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy – a series of family secrets and lies develop in a fascinating way. The second film to come straight from the Mostra will be Todd Haynes’s «I’m Not There.» The original biography of songwriter legend Bob Dylan features a series of actors embodying different aspects of Dylan’s life and work, including Richard Gere, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett. David MacKenzie’s «Hallam Foe,» a dark story of mysterious crimes and sexual obsessions starring Jamie Bell that will also be screened in Athens, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Five films from Cannes will also come to Athens. They are Gus Van Sant’s «Paranoid Park,» which won the Cannes Film Festival’s 60th Anniversary Prize, Denys Arcand’s «L’age des tenebres,» Roy Andersson’s «You, the Living,» Julian Schnabel’s «Le scaphandre et le papillon» (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), which earned him the Best Director Award at Cannes and Michael Moore’s documentary «Sicko,» a look at the American healthcare system. The Premiere Nights Festival will end with two of the next season’s most entertaining films. «Ratatouille» is Pixar’s latest animation production, while «Hairspray» is the big screen production of the popular 60s musical of the same title and stars John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken and Queen Latifah.