Cannes may be the most prestigious and Sundance the indie-iest but the world’s most intriguing film festival these days has to be Venice. It’s the starting gun for the Oscars race and the place you’ll find big blockbusters rubbing shoulders with the best of arthouse cinema and no one being weirded out by the dissonance.
This year’s newly announced line-up adds a bunch of exciting premieres to already revealed movies like the Timothée Chalamet-starring Dune, Halloween Kills, Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel and Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers.
The biggies to look out for include Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho – premiering out of competition – Jackie director Pablo Larrain’s Spencer, in which Kristen Stewart plays Lady Di; Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which has Benedict Cumberbatch going darker than normal; and the very meta-sounding Official Competition by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn, which stars Penélope Cruz Cruz and Antonio Banderas.
It’s a solid year for female filmmaking, although a step backwards from 2020 when there were eight women in competition. This time there are five: Campion; Natasha Merkulova, who co-directed Captain Volkonogov Escaped with Aleksey Chupov; Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon; Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter; and Audrey Diwan’s L'Evénement (or Happening).
We’re excited about Gyllenhaal’s filmmaking debut. The Lost Daughter is an adaptation of an Elena Ferrante novel and stars Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley and Paul Mescal. A line-up for the ages.
Oscar Isaac stans – which is all of us – will be happy, with the Star Wars actor appearing in three Venice titles. Alongside Dune, he stars alongside Jessica Chastain in a long-form remake of Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage, as well as Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter.
Paolo Sorrentino’s autobiographical drama, The Hand of God, is one of the Netflix titles at the fest. It stars his The Great Beauty lead, and Italian cinema hero, Toni Servillo.
The competition jury is a dozy too, Bong Joon-ho presides over a judging panel that also includes Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao, Cynthia Erivo, Virginie Efira, Sarah Gadon, Saverio Costanzo and Alexander Nanau.
The 78th Venice International Film Festival runs from September 1-11. Head to the official site for the full line-up.
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