The venice scores star-studded lineup despite strikes. Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA writers and actors strike, the Venice Film Festival released a star-studded and A-list-heavy line-up of films that will premiere at the 2023 Biennale on Tuesday, including the films contending for this year's Golden Lion.
James K.Jul 26, 2023251 Shares41890 Views
The Venice scores Star-Studded lineup despite strikes. Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA writers and actorsstrike, the Venice Film Festival released a star-studded and A-list-heavy line-up of films that will premiere at the 2023 Biennale on Tuesday, including the films contending for this year's Golden Lion.
With major US performers unable to undertake promotional work due to the strike, there were concerns that this year's Venice lineup might look very different than it would have just two weeks ago.
But such suspicions were unfounded, as Venice festival director Alberto Barbera presented a lineup that includes some of the year's most anticipated films, including new films from Bradley Cooper, Sofia Coppola, Yorgos Lanthimos, Michael Mann, and Ava DuVernay.
Luca Guadagnino's Challengers, a ménage à trois tennis drama starring Zendaya, Josh O'Connor, and Mike Faist, was scheduled to start the 2023 Venice Film Festivalin an out-of-competition slot but was canceled last week after MGM confirmed that the R-rated tennis drama would be released on April 26, 2024.
Instead, the festival will start on August 30 with Edoardo De Angelis' Italian period drama Comandante, which stars Pierfrancesco Favino (The Traitor).
On September 9, the 2023 Venice Film Festival will come to a close with the survival thriller Society of the Snow, which J.A. Bayona and Netflix produced.
Barbera stated that the program for the 80th festival had already been finalized before the strike but that the strike's impact on the final lineup "has been quite modest," with only the Challengers withdrawing.
“The other American movies we had invited have been confirmed and will be present,” he said. He noted that the SAG-AFTRA strikes will mean some “actors and actresses” will not attend but that talent from independent films will be able to come, meaning that the red carpet “will not be empty.”
The competitive lineup appears to be impressive. Maestro, Bradley Cooper's second directorial effort following the blockbuster success of A Star is Born, which premiered in Venice in 2018, will grace the Lido this year, though it's unclear whether Cooper, who also stars as legendary conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, alongside Carey Mulligan as Bernstein's wife Felicia Montealegre, will be able to attend if the SAG-AFTRA strike continues.
Another Netflix film, David Fincher's The Killer, will compete in Venice. Michael Fassbender, Arliss Howard, and Tilda Swinton star in the thriller.
With her latest feature, Origin, Ava DuVernay will become the first African American woman to compete on the Lido. The film chronicles the true-life odyssey of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson as she searches for the origins of injustice.
The film's all-star cast includes Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Niecy Nash-Betts, Connie Nielsen, and Jon Bernthal. Regina King's well-received and multi-Oscar-nominated biopic One Night in Miami was screened in Venice in 2020, although it was out of competition.
El Conde, a fourth Netflix film by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larran (Spencer, Jackie), also received a place in the competition. The title suggests that Chilean tyrant Augusto Pinochet has survived as a vampire, but after 250 years of wickedness, he has decided to change.
Venice Scores Star-Studded Line-Up Despite Strikes (Full Line Up)
Poor Things, a steampunk rom-com period drama starring The Favourite's Emma Stone as a woman brought back to life by a 19th-century scientist, returns to the Lido with Yorgos Lanthimos, the Greek king of disturbing surrealism who scored his biggest crossover hit in Venice with 2018's The Favourite.
The cast of the film includes Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael, and Margaret Qualley.
Searchlight stated on Tuesday that the picture's release date will be pushed back from September to December this year, evidently hoping that the Poor Things actors will be able to promote the film by then, whether or not they are allowed to walk the Venice red carpet.
Sofia Coppola's Priscilla, a look at Priscilla Presley's one-of-a-kind romance with the King of Rock and Roll, based on Presley's biography "Elvis and Me," will also compete for the Golden Lion this year. Cailee Spaeny plays Priscilla, and Jacob Elordi plays Elvis.
A24 distributed the movie in the United States, and Fremantle's The Apartment produced it. Ferrari, Michael Mann's eagerly awaited biopic based on Brock Yates' biography of Italian race car driving hero Enzo Ferrari, has been set to debut in Venice.
Adam Driver stars as Enzo, along with Shailene Woodley and Penélope Cruz.
SAG-AFTRA may grant special permission to specific films to allow performers to do promotional work, according to Barbera.
Other competitive titles include Michel Franco's Memory, starring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, and Io Capitano, an Italian art house maestro Matteo Garrone's (Gomorrah) coming-of-age adventure film on the refugee crisis.
The drama is about two young men, played by Seydou Sarr and Moustapha Fall, who leave Dakar, Senegal, in pursuit of a better life in Europe, arrives as Italy and the rest of the EU debate new regulations to manage asylum seekers, making the film especially pertinent and compelling for a Venice premiere.
Stefano Sollima, another Italian, has also gained a Venice competition seat with Adagio, which includes Italian superstar Favino and Toni Servillo.
Venice has chosen Woody Allen's Coup de Chance, the controversial director's first French-language film, over the competition. Lou de Laage, Valerie Lemercier, Melvil Poupaud, and Niels Schneider star in the film. The film will be released in France on September 27th via Metropolitan.
If hosting Allen wasn't enough to cause controversy, Venice is doubling down by allowing Roman Polanski to screen his new film, The Palace, in an out-of-competition slot. Venice premiered Polanski's An Officier and a Spy in 2019 (and awarded the picture the runner-up Jury Prize Silver Lion), so the Polish director is no stranger to controversy.
The film, depicting a crazy 1999 New Year's Eve in a posh Swiss hotel, was co-written by Polanski with EO filmmakers Jerzy Skolimowski and Ewa Piaskowska. International actors in the film include John Cleese, Luca Barbareschi, Oliver Masucci, Fanny Ardant, and Mickey Rourke.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, a short film based on a collection of stories by Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will have its out-of-competition premiere in Venice while Wes Anderson is there.
Benedict Cumberbatch, Rupert Friend, Dev Patel, and Ralph Fiennes star in the picture, which Barbera describes as "pure Wes Anderson."
In opposition, Luc Besson, a different director who has recently come under scrutiny due to scandal, will release DogMan, a drama starring Caleb Landry Jones, in what could be his comeback film.
Finally, Dawn (Finalmente l'alba), written and directed by Saverio Costanzo (My Brilliant Friend), and starring Lily James, Rebecca Antonaci, Alba Rohrwacher, and Willem Dafoe, will also compete in Venice this year, as well as The Promised Land, a Danish period drama directed by Nikolaj Arcel and starring Mads Mikkelsen.
Hors-Saison by Stephane Brize, starring Alba Rohrwacher and Guillaume Canet, and La Bete by Bertrand Bonello, starring Lea Seydoux and George MacKay, both made the competition cut.
As did the mafia drama Enea, directed by Pietro Castellitto, the immigrant drama The Green Border, directed by Agnieszka Holland, and Evil Does Not Go Away, directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who also directed Drive My Car.
The Polish play Woman Of, a transgender story from Never Gonna Snow Again directorsMalgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert, is also sure to draw attention.
Aggro Dr1ft from Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine and Daaaaaali! from French director Quentin Dupieux, whose 2014 picture Reality showed at Venice's Horizons section, both received out-of-competition slots.
His most recent film is about a French journalist and his friendship with legendary Surrealist artist Salvador Dali, and it has an all-star French cast that includes Pierre Niney, Anas Demoustier, Gilles Lellouche, and Alain Chabat.
In an out-of-competition slot, veteran director William Friedkin will bring The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, his first picture in six years, to Venice. Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, and Jake Lacy star in the film.
The Lido will also host the world premiere of Richard Linklater's Hit Man, an action comedy starring Glen Powell of Top Gun: Maverick as an investigator who impersonates a hitman to catch those trying to organize assassinations.
Damien Chazelle, who screened La La Land and First Man in competition at Venice, leads this year's international jury, which also includes directors Jane Campion, Martin McDonagh, and Laura Poitras.
Behind the Mountains, a Tunisian drama from director Mohamed Ben Attia, The Red Suitcase, Nepalese filmmaker Fidel Devkota's debut feature, and Tatami, a new film co-directed by Israel' Guy Nattiv and Iranian actress-turned-director Zar Amir Ebrahimi (Holy Spider), which tells the true story of an Iranian Judo champion who refused to fight an Israeli competitor.
The feature film follow-up to last year's Horizons short film winner Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir (Snow in September), City of Wind, will have its world premiere alongside Hesitation Wound from director Selman Nacar, Simone Massi's Invelle, The Featherweight from director Robert Kolodny, and Heartless, a Brazilian feature from directors Nara Normande and Tiao.
Bill and Turner Ross of the United States will exhibit their feature debut, Gasoline Rainbow, in Horizons.
Housekeeping for Beginners by Goran Stolevski of North Macedonia, En Attendant La Nuit by Celeine Rouzet of France, and Shadow of Fire by Shin'ya Tsukamoto (Killing, Kotoko) of Japan will also be shown in the sidebar.
The Horizons Extra segment will comprise the Ukrainian film Forever Forever, directed by Anna Buryachkova, the drama Bota Jone, directed by Luana Bajrami, and the boxing drama Day of the Fight, directed by actor Jack Huston and starring Ron Perlman, Joe Pesci, and John Magaro.
In the Land of Saints and Sinners, starring Liam Neeson, an Irish-set thriller from director Robert Lorenz, Olma Schnabel's Pet Shop Boys, starring Willem Dafoe, Jack Irv, and Peter Saarsgard, and the Indian feature Stolen from director Karan Tejpal, have all landed Horizons Extra slots.
Felicita by Micaela Ramazzotti and Anais Tellenne's play L'Homme D'Argile are also on the bill.
In addition to two episodes of the Bosnian drama I Know Your Soul, co-created by Oscar-nominated director Jasmila Zbanic (Quo vadis, Aida? ), Venice will screen 10 episodes of the French TV series D'Argent et de Sang, starring Vincent Lindon and Niels Schneider.
Out of competition, the experimental work Amor by Italian artist Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri, the documentary Hollywoodgate by German director Ibrahim Nash'at, which looks at the first year in Afghanistan under the new Taliban rule, and Ryuichi Sakamoto Opus, a look at the late, Oscar-winning composer of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, and The Revenant by his son, Neo Sora, will be screened.
Menus Plaisirs - Les Troisgros, a documentary on life in a three-star Michelin restaurant from acclaimed documentary director Frederick Wiseman (City Hall, Welfare), has also been selected for the Venice Film Festival.
With an official selection that included Harrison Ford's blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Wes Anderson's star-studded Asteroid City, and Todd Haynes's May December, as well as a doubling down on international auteurs, with new films from Ken Loach (The Old Oak), Wim Wenders (Perfect Days), and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Perfect Days), Venice had hoped to outshine Cannes with its 80th edition
In recent years, Barbera has more than held his own. Darren Aronofsky's The Whale, starring eventual best actor Oscar winner Brendan Fraser, Todd Field's Tár, Martin McDonagh's The Banshees of Inisherin, and plenty of splashy scandals, including Andrew Dominik's drama Blonde, starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe, and Olivia Wilde's Don't Worry, Darling, which featured the infamous "spit-gate" incident between stars Chris Pine and Harry Styles.
However, generating the same amount of enthusiasm will be difficult if Hollywood's A-list is on strike and off the red carpet.
The complete schedule for the 2023 Venice International Film Festival is listed below.