Palme d’Or-winning director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s hotly anticipated new film, “The Truth,” starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke, will open the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival.
“The Truth,” which marks the director’s first work set outside his native Japan, will screen on the Lido on Aug. 28 in competition. Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2018 with “Shoplifters.”
It’s the first time since 2012 that Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera has not chosen a Hollywood film as the festival’s opening film. The past three openers have been “First Man,” “Downsizing” and “La La Land.”
In “The Truth” (French title “La vérité”), Deneuve plays movie star Fabienne, who “reigns amongst men who love and admire her.” When she publishes her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and their young child. “The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed,” according to a synopsis in the festival’s statement.
In thanking Venice for being selected to open the competition, Kore-eda said he shot the movie over 10 weeks last fall in Paris. “The cast is prestigious, but the film itself recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house,” he said. “I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy, and reconciliation.”
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera underlined that, for the first film he has directed abroad, Kore-eda “had the privilege of working with two major French film stars.”
“The encounter between the universe of Japan’s most important filmmaker today and two beloved actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche brought to life a poetic reflection on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and the complex profession of acting,” he said.
“The Truth” is produced by France’s Muriel Merlin with co-producers Miyuki Fukuma and Matilde Incerti. The film is a co-production between 3B productions Bunbuku & M.i Movies, France 3 cinema, with the participation of France Televisions, Canal Plus, Cine Plus, Le Pacte, Wild Bunch and Japan’s Gaga Corp.
IFC has North American distribution rights and Wild Bunch is handling international sales in other territories.
Although Barbera passed over Hollywood fare for this year’s opening film, the Brad Pitt space odyssey “Ad Astra” (Fox) and “Joker” with Joaquin Phoenix (Warner Bros.) are both expected to launch from the Lido, as are Noah Baumbach’s untitled new project (Netflix) and Tom Harper’s “The Aeronauts” (Amazon Studios), among other star-studded awards-season hopefuls.
Venice’s 76th edition runs from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.