The Venice Film Festival continues in Italy, even with much of Hollywood at a standstill.
The annual celebration of cinema hosted by the Venice Biennale and directed by Alberto Barbera takes place from 30 August to 9 September. Though it has already lost Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers” from its opening night to its SAG-AFTRA talent, including star Zendaya, unable to accompany the world premiere due to strike stoppage orders, Venice has plenty of cinematic goodness in store for its 80th edition. (It’s also reminiscent of Venice’s resilience: it was the only major festival to host a fully in-person event during the 2020 pandemic even after Italy had been hit hard by Covid.)
Based on numbers from yesterday’s Toronto International Film Festival lineup, where some never-before-seen titles were labeled as North American or Canadian premieres rather than world premieres, some we can expect in Venice include: Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers,” Michel Franco’s “Memory,” Kitty Green’s “The Royal Hotel,” and Richard Linklater’s “Hitman.”
This year’s jury also boasts an elite line-up under the guidance of jury president Damien Chazelle, who previously opened the festival twice with ‘La La Land’ and ‘First Man’. Joining him are Jane Campion, Mia Hansen-Løve, Laura Poitras, Martin McDonagh, Saleh Bakri, Gabriele Mainetti, Santiago Miter and Shu Qi. Poitras won the Golden Lion last year for her Oscar-nominated documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed.
Instead of “Challengers”, Venice will instead open “Comandante”, directed by Edoardo De Angelis, on the Lido. The Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 survival drama “Society of the Snow” directed by JA Bayona will wrap up the festival to close it in September. Venice overlaps by two days with TIFF and entirely with Telluride, which will feature a mix of films from both and Cannes. Again, these festivals will be largely starless, so it falls to Venice to supply its wattage with a mostly international lineup of on-screen and behind-the-camera talent there in person.
However, Alberto Barbera was optimistic in kicking off the announcement on Tuesday morning. “The last week has been quite troubled. The announcement of the actors’ and writers’ strike surprised us all. It was difficult to get to the end of a program that had already been finalized. I must say that, fortunately now, on the consequences of this strike which has very good reasons we can agree, the impact is quite modest on our festival. The only film we missed compared to what we had planned was the opening film, a beautiful film by Luca Guadagnino,” he said, adding, “the American films that we have invited to the festival will be present” although the SAG actors were not on the red carpet.
See the Venice 2023 lineup below as it was announced by the festival. IndieWire will update the list below as the festival shares headlines live (you can watch that press conference Here).
Biennial College Cinema
“The year of the egg” (conducted by Claudio Casale)
“Firedream” (cond. Jose Pablo Escamilla)
“Arni” (cond. Dorka Vermes)