Italian Editor, Journalist
If the last edition of the Cannes Film Festival was dominated by important and consolidated “cinema masters,” the red carpet at the 73rd Venice Film Festival will be taken over by marvelous authors.
Looking at the lineup recently presented in Rome, next year’s festival could be defined as the best of Alberto Barbera, Venice’s artistic director. If the key challenge is always to combine “cinema d’auteur” with the legitimate tastes of the general public, this “Mostra” will potentially bring a perfect balance to the lagoon city.
A closer look at the main competition, with six American films, reveals a strong comeback by the big American players in an edition that can be defined as Euro-Atlantic. On one side of the Atlantic Ocean, there is Malick, Larrain, Villeneuve, Ford and Chazelle. On the other side, there is Konchalovsky, Wenders, Kusturica, Brize and Ozon.
In between these two titanic armadas there will be a lonely Asian director, Filipino Lav Diaz (The Woman Who Left), making the 73rd with one of the smallest Asian representations in recent history. But next year’s festival will not only lack Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Iranian filmmakers. Africa, with its vibrant Magreb cinematography, will be also out of the picture.
Compared to the recent Berlin and Cannes festivals, the Venice selection goes into another direction – one that prefers films based on literature (novels and theatrical plays) and history over socio-political stories. The world’s immigration and economic crises have been forgotten, at least for now. Instead, there is a more intellectual approach based on the past as source of inspiration and detector of contemporary conflicts.
Venice has always been synonymous with innovation.
As for the film that will kick off the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, it’s “La La Land” by Damien Chazelle with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, as well as two documentaries, Terrence Malick’s “Voyage of Time” and “Spira Mirabilis” by Italian directing duo Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti.
Meanwhile, among the futurist genres there will be 3D films “Les Beaux Jours D’Aranjuez” by Wim Wenders and a UFO story “Arrival” by Denis Villeneuve, another big risk taken by the festival’s art director Barbera.
Another unmissable film will be the TV series episodes of “The Young Pope” by the Italian Oscar-winning director Paolo Sorrentino with a stellar cast starring Jude Law, Diane Keaton and Cecile de France. Italy will have several films in competition, such as “Piuma” (Feather) and “Questi Giorni” (These Days). The younger generations will be the protagonists of contemporary stories about the difficulties of growing up.
The “European” surprise could come from “Brimstone,” a western thriller film conceived, written and directed by the Dutch film-maker Martin Koolhoven and starring Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Kit Harington and Carice van Houten. It is a triumphant tale of powerful womanhood and resistance against a violent past that refuses to fade. Just like at the Cannes this year, the red carpet in Venice is expected, for the joy of paparazzi and fans, to be one of the best ever, with a stunning Natalie Portman together with Emma Stone, Alicia Vikander and the Italian star Monica Bellucci.
Just as impressive will be the “battalion” of male stars such as Jude Law, Mel Gibson, Michael Fassbender, James Franco, Jim Carrey, Keanu Reeves, Jake Gyllenhaal, Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt.
As for the international jury that will be awarding the golden lions, its president will be British director Sam Mendes. Also on the jury will be American artist, singer, director and writer Laurie Anderson, British actress Gemma Arterton, Italian magistrate, writer, playwright and screenwriter Giancarlo De Cataldo, German actress Nina Hoss, French actress Chiara Mastroianni, American director Joshua Oppenheimer, Venezuelan Golden Lion director Lorenzo Vigas and the Chinese actress, director and singer Zhao Wei.
The Venice International Film Festival runs August 30 through September 10th, 2016. For more information on ticketing click here.