New works from the Coen brothers, Paul Greengrass and Alfonso Cuaron are set to world-premiere at the Venice Film Festival, part of an impressive lineup that is heavy on award hopefuls, embraces Netflix wholeheartedly and promises high-wattage star power on the Lido.
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera unveiled six Netflix originals on the festival’s slate at a news conference in Rome on Wednesday, saying that “we cannot refuse to come to terms with the reality of the new production landscape.” Titles from the streaming giant include Joel and Ethan Coen’s new Western, “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”; Greengrass’ “22 July” (formerly titled “Norway”), about the 2011 terrorist attack in and around Oslo that killed 77 people; Cuaron’s “Roma,” the Oscar-winning director’s return to Spanish-language filmmaking; and the restoration and completion of Orson Welles’ unfinished “The Other Side of the Wind.”
Besides the Netflix films, the lineup for Venice’s 75th edition features prestige projects from both traditional Hollywood studios and indie players, and confirms the festival’s now-strong reputation as an important awards-season springboard. Multiple-Oscar-winners “Gravity,” “Spotlight” and “The Shape of Water” all launched from the Lido in recent years.
As previously revealed by Variety, Universal’s “First Man,” directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong, will open the festival Aug. 29. Warner Bros.’ remake of “A Star Is Born,” directed by and starring Bradley Cooper alongside Lady Gaga, will also world-premiere in Venice, out of competition.
“First Man” and “A Star is Born” lead a robust U.S. contingent that includes Mel Gibson-Vince Vaughn police brutality movie “Dragged Across Concrete” (out of competition), directed by S. Craig Zahler, from Lionsgate, and competition title “Vox Lux,” in which Natalie Portman plays a turn-of-the-century pop star, directed by Brady Corbet, from indie Bold Films.
Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” stars Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh, and represents an attempt to get inside the tortured painter’s head, Barbera said.
Other titles from the U.S. include French helmer Jacques Audiard’s English-language debut, “The Sister Brothers,” a darkly comic Western starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix; and Yorgos Lanthimos’ period piece “The Favourite,” with Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. “The Favourite,” set in 18th-century England and laced with the signature black humor of the Greek filmmaker of “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” is from Fox Searchlight.
Amazon Studios is launching Luca Guadagnino’s grisly remake of suspense classic “Suspiria,” starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Barbera called it Guadagnino’s most ambitious film yet.
Netflix was the big winner among the new players with its six selected titles, in stark contrast to its shutout from Cannes because of an ongoing dispute over its films’ lack of theatrical release in France.
The Coen brothers’ “Buster Scruggs” was originally conceived as a TV series but has been turned into an episodic film starring Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco and Liam Neeson. It was produced for Netflix by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures. “Roma,” a black-and-white film from “Gravity” director Cuaron, is an autobiographical family drama set in 1970s Mexico City. Greengrass’ “22 July” focuses on the bombings and shootings carried out by a Norwegian right-wing extremist, whose victims were mostly teenagers.
Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind” stars John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich. The unfinished project about a movie director on the comeback trail first went into production nearly half a century ago. A Netflix documentary on Welles, “They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” is also screening as a special event.
And the streaming service’s “Sulla Mia Pelle” (which translates as “On My Skin”), by Italian director Alessio Cremonini, opens the Horizons sidebar.
British director Mike Leigh will be bowing political costumer “Peterloo” in competition. Oscar-winning German helmer Florian Von Donnermarck (“The Lives of Others”) is in competition with psychological thriller “Work Without Author,” set against the backdrop of Germany’s recent history. Hungarian helmer Laszlo Nemes’s “Sunset,” the followup to his dazzling debut “Son of Saul,” which won the 2016 foreign-language Oscar, is also in the running for a Golden Lion. “Sunset” is set in Budapest in 1913 when the city was considered to be the cultural capital of Europe.
As Variety previously reported, HBO will unveil “My Brilliant Friend,” its TV series based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s four “Neapolitan novels.” The show, produced by Wildside and Fandango for HBO, Rai Fiction, and TimVision, marks HBO’s first foray into foreign-language production, as well as the TV series debut of Italian filmmaker Saverio Costanzo.
Director Terrence Malick is heading to Venice for a special screening of an extended version of his film “The Tree of Life,” Barbera said. At slightly more than three hours, the 2011 film stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain and Sean Penn.
The festival also features a competitive virtual-reality section.
“The Shape of Water” helmer Guillermo Del Toro will preside over this year’s jury.
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL— IN COMPETITION
“First Man,” Damien Chazelle (U.S.)
“The Mountain,” Rick Alverson (U.S.)
“Doubles Vies,” Olivier Assayas (France)
“The Sisters Brothers,” Jacques Audiard (France, Belgium, Romania, Spain)
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Ethan and Joel Coen (U.S.)
“Vox Lux,” Brady Corbet (U.S.)
“Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron (Mexico)
“22 July,” Paul Greengrass (Norway, Iceland)
“Suspiria,” Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
“Werk Ohne Autor,” Florian Henkel Von Donnersmark (Germany)
“The Nightingale,” Jennifer Kent (Australia)
“The Favourite,” Yorgos Lanthimos (U.S.)
“Peterloo,” Mike Leigh (U.K., U.S.)
“Capri-Revolution,” Mario Martone (Italy, France)
“What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire?”, Roberto Minervini (Italy, U.S., France)
“Sunset,” Laszlo Nemes (Hungary, France)
“Freres Ennemis,” David Oelhoffen (France, Belgium)
“Neustro Tiempo,” Carlos Reygadas (Mexico, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweeden)
“At Eternity’s Gate,” Julian Schnabel (U.S., France)
“Acusada,” Gonzalo Tobal (Argentina, Mexico)
“Killing,” Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan)
OUT OF COMPETITION
“The Other Side Of The Wind,” Orson Welles (U.S.)
“They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead,” Morgan Neville (U.S.)
“My Brilliant Friend,” Saverio Costanzo (Italy, Belgium)
“Il Diario Di Angela – Noi Due Cineasti,” Yervant Gianikian (Italy)
“Una Storia Senza Nome,” Roberto Andò (Italy)
“Les Estivants,” Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (France, Italy)
“A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper (U.S.)
“Mi Obra Maestra,” Gaston Duprat (Argentina, Spain)
“A Tramway in Jerusalem,” Amos Gitai (Israel, France)
“Un Peuple et Son Roi,” Pierre Schoeller (France, Belgium)
“La Quietud,” Pablo Trapero (Argentina)
“Dragged Across Concrete,” S. Craig Zahler (U.S.)
“Shadow,” Zhang Yimou (China)
“A Letter to a Friend In Gaza,” Amos Gitai (Israel)
“Aquarela,” Victor Kossakovsky (U.K., Germany)
“El Pepe, Una Vida Suprema,” Emir Kusturica (Argentina, Uruguay, Serbia)
“Process,” Sergei Loznitsa (The Netherlands)
“Carmine Street Guitars,” Ron Mann (Canada)
“Isis, Tomorrow. The Lost Souls Of Mosul,” Francesca Mannocchi, Alessio Romenzi (Italy, Germany)
“American Dharma,” Errol Morris (U.S., U.K.)
“Introduzione All’Oscuro,” Gaston Solnicki (Argentina, Austria)
“1938 Diversi,” Giorgio Treves (Italy)
“Your Face,” Tsai Ming-Liang (Chinese Taipei)
“Monrovia, Indiana,” Frederick Wiseman (U.S.)
“Sulla Mia Pelle,” Alessio Cremonini (Italy)
“Manta Ray,” Phuttiphong Aroonpheng (Thailand, France, China)
“Soni,” Ivan Ayr (India)
“The River,” Emir Baigazin (Kazakistan, Poland, Norway)
“La Noche de 12 Anos,” Alvaro Brechner (Spain, Argentina, France)
“Deslembro,” Flavia Castro (Brasil, France, Qatar)
“The Announcement,” Mahmut Fazil Coskun (Turkey, Bulgaria)
“Un Giorno All’Improvviso,” Ciro D’Emilio (Italy)
“Charlie Says,” Mary Harron (U.S.)
“Amanda,” Mikhael Hers (France)
“The Day I Lost My Shadow,” Soudade Kaadan (Syria, Lebanon, France, Qatar)
“L’Enkas,” Sarah Marx (France)
“The Man Who Surprised Everyone,” Evgeniy Tsiganov, Natalya Kudryashowa (Russia, Estonia, France)
“Through The Holes,” Garin Nugroho (Indonesia, Australia)
“As I Lay Dying,” Mostafa Sayyari (Iran)
“La Profezia Dell’armadillo,” Emanuele Scaringi (Italy)
“Stripped,” Yaron Shani (Israel, Germany)
“Jinpa,” Pema Tseden (China)
“Tel Aviv on Fire,” Same Zoabi (Luxembourg, France, Israel, Belgium)