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Gilliam's film up for Golden Lion

Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem, starring Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton, is among the films vying for the Golden Lion prize at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.

The sci-fi movie, which also stars Matt Damon, David Thewlis and Ben Whishaw, joins the likes of Jonathan Glazer's sci-fi flick Under The Skin, with Scarlett Johansson, eco-terrorist thriller Night Moves and JFK drama Parkland, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Zac Efron, competing for the top gong.

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 movies, 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.

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