Venice Film Festival Gears Up for a Starry 70th Anniversary

Cuaron’s 'Gravity,' Greengrass’ 'Captain Phillips' are among titles likely to surface at the fall festival

Although Alberto Barbera opted to slim down the Venice Film Festival lineup when he was appointed artistic director last year, the world’s oldest international sprocket opera appears to be setting a particularly lavish table for its 70th-anniversary edition running Aug. 28-Sept. 7. While the only confirmed title so far is Paul Schrader’s crowdfunded Los Angeles-set noir “The Canyons,” set to premiere out of competition (with Schrader serving as jury president of the fest’s Horizons sidebar), speculation has swirled around any number of potential entries.

It’s a truism of the festival circuit that films that don’t play Cannes in late spring wind up at Venice, Telluride and/or Toronto in the fall. Two big prestige releases that seem likely to follow that trajectory are “Gravity,” Alfonso Cuaron’s space odyssey starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, and “Twelve Years a Slave,” Steve McQueen’s period drama with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt. Both Cuaron and McQueen have been in competition at Venice before with 2006’s “Children of Men” and 2011’s “Shame,” respectively.

Also believed to be firmly in the mix are Paul Greengrass’ fact-based drama “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks as the captain of a cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates; Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” starring Scarlett Johansson as a visiting extraterrestrial; and Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem,” featuring Christoph Waltz as a reclusive computer genius. Other possibilities include Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three picture “Devil’s Knot”; Kelly Reichardt’s indie eco-thriller “Night Moves”; and Catherine Breillat’s autobiographical drama “Abuse of Weakness.”

Given that Kim Ki-duk won the festival’s Golden Lion last year for “Pieta,” it seems highly likely that the divisive Asian auteur will return to the Venice competition with his already controversial follow-up, “Moebius.” The film has been banned from South Korean theaters due to its graphic sexual/violent content, reportedly including scenes of self-castration and incest.

A number of films that were once expected to make their premieres at Venice are now likely to surface elsewhere. These include Bennett Miller’s ensemble drama “Foxcatcher,” starring Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum; Spike Jonze’s love story “Her,” with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams; Oliver Hirschbiegel’s royal biopic “Diana,” toplining Naomi Watts; and Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut, “Snowpiercer.”

More Film

  • Themba Ntuli and Ashley Lazarus

    Ashley Lazarus, Director of Apartheid-Era Cult Classic, Returns to Screen

    DURBAN–Director Ashley Lazarus, whose film about the interracial friendship between two young boys during the apartheid era became a South African cult classic in the 1970s, is set to return to the big screen with a film that builds on his life-long passion for early-childhood education. “Teacher Wanted” is the inspirational story of a teacher [...]

  • Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum's Free Association Partners With Atwater Capital for Film Development Fund

    Free Association, a production company led by Channing Tatum, Peter Kiernan and Reid Carolin, has entered into a film development fund with Atwater Capital. The four-year $2 million revolving fund stipulates that Atwater will finance a minimum of five films with Free Association. Michael Parets, VP of production, will oversee the deal. Free Association will [...]

  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

    Box Office: Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Takes on 'Lion King'

    Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” will have to take on much more than a changing showbiz landscape. This weekend, the washed-up actor and his majordomo are battling Disney’s juggernaut “The Lion King” at the domestic box office. Tarantino’s R-rated auteur [...]

  • Margot Robbie Once Upon a Time

    Margot Robbie Says 'Barbie' Movie Will Put 'Positivity' Into the World

    Over the last 10 years, Margot Robbie has stepped into the skates of Tonya Harding, taken up the mantle of Harley Quinn and, next up, she’s playing the world’s most famous doll, Barbie. The live-action film is due out in 2020 and set to be written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, while Robbie serves [...]

  • 2018 NALIP Gala

    National Association of Latino Independent Producers Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

    Ben Lopez has seen the future of the entertainment industry, and says it is the Latinx community. “In the next 20 years, we’re going to be prioritized — because not only will we have the numbers demographic-wise, we’ll have the spending power,” says Lopez, the executive director of the National Assn. of Latino Independent Producers, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content