Matt Damon and Adam Driver, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kristen Stewart – these are just a few of the names on the guest list at the world’s oldest festival. But will the next Oscar success celebrate its premiere there again?
Venice – Just a few weeks ago, the Cannes Festival celebrated the revival of the film industry. Because of the pandemic, it had been postponed from the traditional May date to July, bringing it unusually close to the Venice Film Festival, which started in September.
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 Wednesday (September 1), one thing is clear: Cannes was just the beginning, Venice can boast even more stars and even more Hollywood productions.
Ridley Scott shows “The Last Duel”
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 evening, however, with a European work: In “Madres paralelas” by Spanish Oscar winner Pedro Almodóvar, Penélope Cruz plays one of two women who got pregnant unexpectedly and who meet in a hospital shortly before giving birth.
Film about Lady Di with Kristen Stewart
20 more entries 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 the Naples of his youth 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 – 5 of the 21 entries 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. With this selection, can he once again prove his keen sense for internationally successful works? 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.
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