The 71st Venice Film Festival has announced that it will launch on August 27 with the world premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's "Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance". The film stars Michael Keaton as an actor who first achieved fame for playing an iconic superhero struggling to mount a Broadway play and battling his ego and demons in the days leading up to the opening night. The trailer for Iñárritu's black comedy has been stirring up plenty of buzz since it was unveiled online last month. "Birdman" reportedly takes place in real time and unfolds in a series of long, uninterrupted takes. Keaton is joined in the cast by Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.
The film will be screened in competition on August 27 in the Sala Grande of the Palazzo del Cinema at the Lido, following the opening ceremony hosted by Luisa Ranieri. Fox Searchlight will release "Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance" (an expansion on the original title, which was simply "Birdman") in North America on October 17 before the film rolls out internationally at the beginning of 2015.
Iñárritu wrote the screenplay with Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo. The producers are Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan and James W. Skotchdopole. Emmanuel Lubezki, hot off his Oscar for "Gravity", served as the film's Director of Photography.
This will be Iñárritu's third official visit to Venice. He brought "21 Grams" to the festival back in 2003, when Sean Penn won the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor, and also served on the 2007 jury.
The 71st Venice Film Festival runs from August 27-September 6.