The Venice Film Festival on Tuesday is unveiling the films screening at the 80th Biennale, including the movies competing for this year’s Golden Lion.
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera and Roberto Cicutto, president of La Biennale di Venezia, the umbrella organization that runs the world’s oldest film fest, will reveal the titles in Venice in a ceremony live-streamed on the festival’s website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Damien Chazelle, who premiered La La Land and First Man in competition in Venice, heads up this year’s international jury, with directors Jane Campion, Martin McDonagh, and Laura Poitras also judging the main competition titles.
With the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors and WGA writers strike preventing top U.S. talent from doing promotional work, this year’s Venice line-up could look substantially different than it would have just two weeks ago. Barbera has already told his staff to prepare a plan B should invited American films not be able to participate in the festival because of the strikes.
Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, a ménage à trois tennis drama starring Zendaya, Josh O’Connor, and Mike Faist, was set to open the 2023 Venice Festival in an out-of-competition slot but was pulled last week, after MGM announced it was pushing the release of the R-rated tennis drama to April 26, 2024. Instead, Comandante, an Italian period drama from director Edoardo De Angelis starring Pierfrancesco Favino (The Traitor) will open the fest on August 30. Society of the Snow, J.A. Bayona’s survival thriller, produced for Netflix, will close the 2023 Venice Film Festival on September 9.
Barbera said the program for the 80th festival had already been finalized ahead of the strike, but that the impact of the labor action on the final line-up “has been quite modest” with only Challengers pulling out.
“The other American movies we had invited and have been confirmed and will be present,” he said. He noted that the SAG-AFTRA strikes will mean some “actors and actresses” will not attend but that talent from independent films will be able to come, meaning that the red carpet “will not be empty.”
Cicutto mentioned the challenges of programming a festival in the midst of the double strike and during a historic heatwave that is currently scorching Italy. He highlighted the festival’s efforts to create a carbon-neutral event.
Individual films could still get special dispensation from SAG-AFTRA to allow actors to do promotional work. The Toronto Film Festival announced its first group of 2023 titles on Monday and they included several star-studded films, including Craig Gillespie’s Dumb Money, with Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, Shailene Woodley and Seth Rogen; Netflix movies NYAD featuring Jodie Foster and Annette Bening, the Michael Keaton-directed Knox Goes Away, in which he stars alongside Marcia Gay Harden and James Marsden; and Anna Kendrick’s directorial debut Woman of the Hour.
Venice had been hoping to outshine Cannes with its 80th edition, a tall order, strike or no strike, given the French fest set a high bar this year, with an official selection that included Harrison Ford blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Wes Anderson’s star-studded Asteroid City and Todd Haynes’s May December, as well as a doubling down on international auteurs, with new films from Ken Loach (The Old Oak), Wim Wenders (Perfect Days) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Monster).
Barbera has more than held his own in recent years. His 2022 selection included several award contenders — Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale with the eventual best actor Oscar winner Brendan Fraser, Todd Field’s Tár, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin — and plenty of splashy scandals, around the likes of Andrew Dominik’s drama Blonde, starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, and Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling with the infamous “spit-gate” incident between stars Chris Pine and Harry Styles.
But it will be a challenge to generate the same level of excitement with Hollywood’s A-list off the red carpet and on the picket line.
#Zendaya #Adam #Driver #Emma #Stone #Venice #Film #Festival #Line #Hollywood #Reporter