Just a few weeks ago, the Cannes Festival celebrated the revival of the film industry. Could it be that Cannes has already received the best films and Venice has to put up with rather insignificant works and names? That was the question that had been in the room ever since. Now, before the opening of the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 1st, one thing is clear: Cannes was just the beginning, Venice can boast even more stars and Hollywood productions.
While there were noticeably few US films to be seen in Cannes in the south of France, it now seems as if Hollywood has been waiting for the festival in the Italian lagoon city – and is showing several large-scale studio productions there. Ridley Scott’s action spectacle “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck celebrates its premiere, as does Jamie Lee Curtis in the sequel to the horror horror “Halloween Kills”. The eagerly awaited new edition of the science fiction epic “Dune” will also be shown in Venice, for which Denis Villeneuve with Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling and Javier Bardem will have an unusually large number of stars Brought camera.
Hollywood’s interest in the Venice Film Festival has to do with the fact that several Oscar winners of the past few years – including “Nomadland”, “Joker” and “Shape of Water” – were shown first in Venice. It starts on Wednesday, September 1st, albeit with a European work: In “Madres paralelas” by the Spanish Oscar winner Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz plays one of two women who became pregnant unexpectedly and who meet in a hospital shortly before giving birth .
20 further entries – this year without Austrian participation – will then also compete for the Golden Lion for the best film in the following days. One of them is “Spencer”, a drama about Princess Diana with Kristen Stewart in the lead role, which was filmed largely in Germany. Paul Schrader, who wrote the scripts for “Taxi Driver” and “Wie ein Wilder Stier”, shows “The Card Counter” with Oscar Isaac and Willem Dafoe. Paolo Sorrentino (“La Grande Bellezza – The Great Beauty”) returns to his youth in Naples with “È stata la mano di Dio”, while “Competencia oficial” with Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas is a satire on the film business.
Some women – five of the 21 contributions are from a female director – could stir up the competition. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, for example, is making her directorial debut with “The Lost Daughter”, based on a novel by Elena Ferrante, for which Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson are engaged. A female directing heavyweight, however, is already Jane Campion. The New Zealander, who celebrated a worldwide success with “Das Piano” almost 30 years ago, is back after a long break from cinema. In their “The Power of the Dog”, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons play alongside Kirsten Dunst a pair of brothers whose lives are suddenly turned upside down.
He had the impression “as if the pandemic had served to stimulate creativity and raise the bar for quality,” said festival director Barbera in advance. He was unable to include many films in the program due to lack of space. Can he once again prove his keen sense for internationally successful works with this selection? That will be shown during the festival – and with the awards that the jury will give to the South Korean Oscar winner Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) at the end of the film festival on September 11th.