Cult US director Terrence Malick will premiere his latest film "To the Wonder" at a crisis-themed Venice festival next month alongside new talent from Guatemala, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.
Hollywood stars Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Kate Hudson are also expected to attend the 2012 edition of the world's oldest film festival, organisers said on Thursday.
"The main recurring theme is the crisis," festival director Alberto Barbera told reporters in Rome. "The economic crisis, which is having devastating social effects, but also the crisis of values, the political crisis.
The festival, which runs from August 29 to September 8, will feature 51 world premieres including "The Company You Keep" directed by and starring Robert Redford.
Also showing for the first time are "Passion" by Brian De Palma and Spike Lee's documentary about Michael Jackson "Bad 25".
Other offerings include "Shokuzai" ("Penance") a five-hour horror epic by Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa originally shown as a television series, which Barbera said was "absolutely extraordinary".
The festival kicks off with a showing of US-based Indian director Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" -- a political thriller about a young Pakistani torn between Wall Street ambitions and the call of his homeland.
Barbera stressed that the festival included several well-established directors but also aimed to showcase up and coming cinematographers to reflect what he called "a great productive ferment" in the industry despite the crisis.
One example is the short film "Wadjda" by female director Haifaa Al Mansour from Saudi Arabia -- where cinemas are banned and women face discrimination.
The film tells the story of a little girl growing up in traditional society in the suburbs of Riyadh and desperate for a bicycle, which she is not allowed.