×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ to Open Venice Film Festival in Competition

Artistic director Alberto Barbera is in place through 2020

ROME — U.S. director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” starring Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend and J.K. Simmons, will be the opening film of the 73rd Venice Film Festival.

“La La Land,” a tribute to the Golden Age of American musicals, will world-premiere in competition from Venice on Aug. 31. The festival runs through Sept. 10.

Chazelle’s “Whiplash” won three Oscars in 2015, including a Best Supporting Actor statuette for Simmons.

In “La La Land” Gosling plays a jazz pianist, Emma Stone an aspiring actress. The pair fall in love but face difficulties as they become more successful. Chazelle directed from his own script.

The film is produced by Lionsgate in partnership with Black Label Media, Gilbert Films, Impostor Pictures, Marc Platt Productions. It will be released in the U.S. by Lionsgate on Dec. 2 in limited release and then expand wide on December 16.

“La La Land” is a film “that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start,” Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said in a statement. “If ‘Whiplash’ was the revelation of a new filmmaker, ‘La La Land’ is his definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament,” he added.

In separate news, the Venice Biennale, which is the fest’s parent organization, has announced that Barbera, whose mandate was up, has been reconfirmed as Venice artistic director for the next four years through 2020. The idea is to give stability to the fest, which has been plagued by fragmented leadership in the past.

“La La Land” is Chazelle’s third feature, following “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench,” which he made as an undergraduate at Harvard, and “Whiplash.”

“On behalf of the cast and crew of ‘La La Land,’ I am both thrilled and honored by the festival’s invitation,” said Chazelle. “It is deeply humbling for us to join the company of their previous opening-night films, and we could not be more excited to share our movie with the audience in Venice.”

Venice opened last year with Balthasar Kormakur’s “Everest,” out of competition; with Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman,” in competition, in 2014; and with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” out of competition, in 2013. Last year, “Spotlight” launched from Venice before going on to win two Oscars, including for best picture.

“La La Land” is already considered an early awards-season contender.

The festival described the film as “a modern take on the classic Hollywood romance, which is heightened by spectacular song-and-dance numbers, as two dreamers struggle to make ends meet while they pursue their passions in a city known for destroying hopes and breaking hearts.”

“Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a dedicated jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail piano gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.”

 

More Film

  • Child's Play

    Film Review: 'Child's Play'

    Something happened to horror movies in the 1980s, the origins of which can be traced a few years earlier, to “Halloween” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”: The villains in brutally violent slasher movies became the heroes — or, at least, the characters audiences found themselves rooting for — which in turn created the opportunity for [...]

  • Radiohead - Thom YorkeRadiohead in concert

    Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Release Solo Album Accompanied by Paul Thomas Anderson Film

    Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s new solo studio album, “Anima,” will be released digitally on June 27 on XL Recordings, he announced today. The album’s digital release will be accompanied by a “one-reeler,” also entitled “Anima,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood”) and set to three tracks from the new [...]

  • HKIFFS and Heaven Pictures

    Hong Kong Festival, China's Heaven Pictures Launch 'Back to Basics' Film Project Support

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) and China’s Heaven Pictures announced that they will award six Asian filmmakers RMB1 million ($145,000) in a joint project to demonstrate how high-quality films can still be made inexpensively. The six films that emerge from the new initiative, titled “Back to Basics (B2B): A Love Supreme,” will [...]

  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan in conversation at

    Shanghai: How Nuri Bilge Ceylan Sees the World so Differently

    At a masterclass on Thursday, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave the initial impression of being an austere and unwilling participant. Wearing heavy glasses, keeping his coat on, and responding to questions rather than offering a class, his manner suggested that he was difficult. In China as the head of the Shanghai International Film [...]

  • SpiderMan Far From Home

    Hollywood Takes on Italy's Vacation-Heavy Summer Season With Blockbusters

    With upcoming movies such as “Toy Story 4,” “Men in Black: International” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” Hollywood studios are finally taking the plunge this year and slotting their blockbusters in Italian cinemas during the summer, a time when residents traditionally hit the beach en masse. For decades, the studios withheld their [...]

  • Easy Money

    Netflix Orders 'Snabba Cash' Series Based on Hit Movie Franchise from SF Studios

    Netflix has ordered a six-part original series based on the hit Swedish crime franchise “Snabba Cash” from SF Studios. Based on Jens Lapidus’s bestselling novels, the series is set in Stockholm’s gritty criminal underground ten years after the events depicted in the “Snabba Cash” (“Easy Money,” pictured) movie trilogy. The society has become even more [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content