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Terry Gilliam's latest film The Zero Theorem to compete in Venice Film Festival 2013


Monty Python star Terry Gilliam's latest film is among the movies vying for the Golden Lion prize at this year's Venice Film Festival.

The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon and Ben Whishaw, joins the likes of Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson in competing for the top gong.

Also in the running is Parkland, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Zac Efron, which is set in the Dallas hospital where US President John F Kennedy died on the day of his assassination.

Stephen Frears' Philomena with Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan is also in the competition, along with James Franco's big-screen adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's Child Of God and David Gordon Green's thriller Joe with Nicolas Cage.

Festival director Alberto Barbera said: "I hope I've countered the notion that festivals are overly servile towards big-name auteurs. Of course we have big names, but we also have plenty of first works and works by directors still seeking recognition."

"The richness of American cinema at the moment is really extraordinary, both from the indies and from Hollywood," he added.

The line-up of this year's films which are screening out of competition include The Canyons starring Lindsay Lohan and Gus Van Sant, and Steven Knight's thriller Locke with Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman.

Alfonso Cuaron's 3D techno-thriller Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in outer space, is set to open the festival on August 28.

The festival, now in its 70th year, runs from August 28 to September 7.