74th Venice International Film Festival

The director of the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Alberto Barbera, is satisfied with the programme for this year’s competition, which has sniffed out several Oscar winners in recent years, including Gravity, Birdman, Spotlight, and La La Land. All the films being shown at the festival between 30 August and 9 September will be shown in their world premieres (with the exception of Errol Morris’ series), and the red carpet on the Lido will be walked by a myriad of international stars. The dominant theme of this year’s festival is contemporaneity, “which film has a sensitive radar for”, together with the theme of family crisis. There is a heavy presence of Italian films, with “films that are all very different, from Paolo Virzì’s American film which is taking on the international market, to the extreme opposite by the Manetti Bros., with their marginal and provocative film. It is a diversity that characterises this season, bringing us face to face with new and original themes that cannot be attributed to Italian films of recent years”.

No fewer than 21 films are being shown in competition this year, with a big reshuffling of names, with 15 of the directors participating in the festival for the first time. The opening film, as previously announced, is Downsizing by Alexander Payne, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, a cross between a sci-fi and environmental film and a potential Oscar candidate. The line-up continues with documentary Human Flow by famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on the migration crisis, produced by Germany and the USA. Then there’s the eagerly-awaited Mother! by Darren Aronofsky, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Suburbicon by George Clooney, which will hit US theatres on 27 October, stars Julianne Moore and Matt Damon, and is based on an old screenplay by the Coen brothers, which Clooney added a political subtext to. Then there’s The Shape of Water by much-loved Mexican fantasy director Guillermo del Toro, starring British actress Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon,which “is a mix of Beauty and the Beast and Creature from the Black Lagoon“, says Barbera. Meanwhile, with The House by the SeaRobert Guédiguian returns to his native Marseilles with a family story. Next up are “trial” films The Insult by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri and Sandome no satsujin by Japanese director Koreeda Hirokazu, a reflection on how impossible it is to get at the truth. Then there’s Lean on Pete by British director Andrew Haigh, starring Charlie Plummer and Steve Buscemi, which is based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, a British production set in America.

Competition

Downsizing – Alexander Payne (opening film)
Human Flow
 – Ai Weiwei
Mother! – Darren Aronofsky
Suburbicon – George Clooney
The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro
The Insult – Ziad Doueiri
The House By the Sea – Robert Guédiguian
Lean on Pete – Andrew Haigh
Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno – Abdellatif Kechiche
The Third Murder – Hirokazu Koreeda
Jusqu’à la garde – Xavier Legrand
Ammore e malavita – Manetti Bros.
Foxtrot – Samuel Maoz
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh
The Whale – Andrea Pallaoro
Angels Wear White – Vivian Qu
Una famiglia – Sebastiano Riso
First Reformed – Paul Schrader
Sweet Country – Warwick Thornton
The Leisure Seeker – Paolo Virzì
Ex Libris – Frederick Wiseman

Out of Competition – Fiction

Casa D’altri – Gianni Amelio
Michael Jackson’s Thriller – John Landis
Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller – Jerry Kramer (1983)
Our Souls at Night – Ritesh Batra
Il Signor Rotpeter – Antonietta de Lillo
Victoria & Abdul – Stephen Frears
La mélodie – Rachid Hami
Outrage Coda – Takeshi Kitano (closing film)
Loving Pablo – Fernando León de Aranoa
Zama – Lucrecia Martel
Wormwood – Errol Morris
Diva! – Francesco Patierno
Le Fidèle – Michaël R. Roskam
Il Colore Nascosto Delle Cose – Silvio Soldini
The Private Life of a Modern Woman – James Toback
Brawl in Cell Block 99 – S. Craig Zahler

Out of Competition – Non-Fiction

Cuba and the Cameraman – Jon Alpert
My Generation – David Batty
Piazza Vittorio – Abel Ferrara
The Devil and the Father – William Friedkin
This is Congo – Daniel McCabe
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda – Stephen Nomura Schible
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The Story of Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton – Chris Smith
Happy Winter – Giovanni Totaro

Cinema nel Giardino

Manuel – Dario Albertini
Controfigura – Rä Di Martino
Woodshock – Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy
Nato a Casal di Principe – Bruno Oliviero
Suburra – La serie – Michele Placido, Andrea Molaioli, Guiseppe Capotondi
Tueurs – François Troukens, Jean-François Hensgens

Special Screenings

La lunga strada del ritorno – Alessandro Blasetti
Barbiana ’65  La Lezione di Don Lorenzo Milani – Alessandro G. A. D’Alessandro
Levito Madre – Le Ragazze del Secolo Scorso – Concita de Gregorio, Esmeralda Calabria

By Cineuropa.org