Venice Film Festival presents selections for its 77th edition

The American frontier drama “The World to Come,” the Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren comedy-drama “The Duke,” Gia Coppola’s “Mainstream,” and the Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby drama “Pieces of a Woman” are among the films set to premiere at the 77th edition of Venice International Film Festival, organizers said on Tuesday.

The festival, which will kick off on 2 September on the Venice Lido and to run through 12 September, will be the first major event of its kind since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of large gatherings worldwide.

“This year, to borrow Bob Dylan’s words, the programme contains multitudes: of movies, of genres, of points of view,” festival director Alberto Barbera said at a Tuesday news conference. He noted that almost half of the competition film selections this year are directed by women. The festival has had notoriously poor gender parity in the past.

Films premiering in competition include Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland;” Nicole Garcia’s “Lovers,” with Stacy Martin; Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “Miss Marx,” with Romola Garai as Karl Marx’s daughter Eleanor; and Mona Fastvold’s “The World to Come,” about two women who forge a connection in isolation in the mid-19th century. Based on Jim Shepard’s short story, it also stars Kirby, best known for playing Princess Margaret in “The Crown,” Katherine Waterston and Casey Affleck.

Competition films hail from Japan (Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s “Wife of a Spy”), Russia (Andrei Konchalovsky’s “Dear Comrades”) Iran (Majid Majidi’s “Sun Child”), Poland (Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert’s “Never Gonna Snow Again”) and Israel (Amos Gitai’s “Laila in Haifa”).

Cate Blanchett will be presiding over the main competition jury alongside filmmakers Joanna Hogg, Veronika Franz, Christian Petzold and Cristi Puiu, actor Ludivine Sagnier and writer Nicola Lagioia. They will together decide on the coveted Golden Lion award, which last went to Todd Phillips’ “Joker.”

Out-of-competition selections include Luca Guadagnino’s Salvatore Ferragamo documentary “The Shoemaker of Dreams,” Nathan Grossman’s “Greta,” about climate activist Greta Thunberg and Alex Gibney’s “Crazy, Not Insane,” about a psychiatrist who works with serial killers like Ted Bundy.

Gia Coppola’s “Mainstream,” with Andrew Garfield and Maya Hawke, will debut in the Horizons section, which spotlights newcomers.

The festival will open with an Italian film for the first time in over a decade: the marital drama “The Ties,” from director Daniele Luchetti and starring Alba Rohrwacher.

The cinema fete will implement various modifications due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, including a slightly slimmed-down official competition, a reduced number of sections and the addition of two outdoor screening venues, in addition to its traditional venues. Organizers said they will also be adhering to safety measures established by local authorities.


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