ROME — Adding more heft to the Asian profile in the 57th Venice Intl. Film Festival’s official competition, mainland Chinese director Jia Zhang-ke’s “Platform” has been added as the 20th and final contender for the Golden Lion at the Aug. 30-Sept. 9 event.
A Chinese-Japanese co-production, the film was made by T-Mark Inc., a division of Japanese cult figure Takeshi Kitano’s production company, Office Kitano. Jia previously directed “Xiao Wu” (Pickpocket), a critical hit on the fest circuit in 1997.
Set during the pop-cultural revolution of the 1980s as China blossoms into a market economy, “Platform” chronicles the emotional and physical journeys of a group of young people whose rapidly changing lives reflect the volatile ferment of an era of national reform.
Separately, U.S. indie title “Series 7 — The Contenders,” directed by Dan Minahan, has been promoted from its original slot in Cinema of the Present to join the midnight lineup in the fest’s Dreams and Visions section.
An Open City Films and Killer Films production, the dark comedy parodies reality TV like “Big Brother” and “Survivor” with a weekly show in which six contestants from a single town are armed in a battle to the death.
USA Films has North American distribution rights to the film.
Venice officials also confirmed that Golden Lion career honoree Clint Eastwood will give an extensive onstage interview Aug. 31.Conducting the Q&A will be critics Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan and Luciano Barisone — editors of a book on the actor-director-producer being published to coincide with the award — and by Serge Toubiana and Nicolas Saada, who have assembled a special Eastwood tribute issue of French film journal Cahiers du Cinema.