The 74th Venice Film Festival unveils a dazzling array of Hollywood talent enriched by strong arthouse titles in this year’s line-up. Programming supremo Alberto Barbera claimed he was 97% pleased with his selection of films for the longest running (1932) and most classy of the global festivals, that takes place on the Lido from 30 August to 9 September 2017. The festival has recently been upping its game with a newly launched Film Market providing the launchpad for some promising award-season titles and Oscar potentials. All the films are world premiers and seasoned directors compete with debut filmmakers for the coveted Golden Lion, judged by Annette Benning’s jury including Rebecca Hall.
The festival often with a Alexanders Payne’s fantasy comedy, DOWNSIZING that follows Matt Damon’s shrinking man, Damon also also appears in George Clooney’s ’50s set urban thriller SUBURBICON starring Julianne Moore and Josh Brolin. Darren Aronofsky’s psycho horror MOTHER! with the World’s highest earning actress Jennifer Lawrence is the third Hollywood heavyweight in the programme.
The Competition line-up features more eclectic fare with three documentaries: refugee crisis-themed HUMAN FLOW -left – from Chinese maverick Ai Wei Wei’s and Frederick Wiseman’s EX LIBRIS an in-depth exploration of the New York Public Library and William Friedkin THE DEVIL AND THE FATHER AMORTH that explores the real story of an exorcism. Indie-wise MAKTOUB, MY LOVE is Abdellatif Kechiche’s follow up to Palme D’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour and Berlinale Golden Bear winner Andrew Haigh (45 Years) presents Steve Buscemi starrer LEAN ON PETE adapted from Willy Vlautin’s book about a boy and an also ran race horse. In the Asian corner is also Hirokazu Koreeda’s mystery drama THE THIRD MURDER, Vivian Qu’s ANGELS WEAR WHITE main pic – and festival closer OUTRAGE CODA a drama about the Japanese Yakuza from director Takeshi Kitano.
Mexico’s Guillermo del Toro brings his Coldwar horror pic THE SHAPE OF WATER, which stars English actress Sally Hawkins and Argentinian auteuse Lucrecia Mantel will be there with ZAMA (left – out of comp) her much-antipated biopic drama based on Don Diego de Zama, a legendary Spanish officer who settles in the Argentine during the 17th century; while LOVING PABLO is a biopic of Pablo Escobar starring Javier Bardem as the drug gangster.
Italian films features largely in the selection but often with a sterling British cast: from Paolo Virzi’s THE LEISURE SEEKER, with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland whose character is suffering Alzheimers. Andrea Pallaora’s HANNAH with Charlotte Rampling and Sebastiano Riso’s UNA FAMIGLIA. Western-Wise there is Australian director Warwick Thornton’s SWEET COUNTRY, starring Sam Neill and a ‘very bizarre’ musical thriller about love and the Camorra entitle AMMORE E MALAVITA from the Manetti Brothers.
Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI promises the same dark humour as his breakout hit and best film In Bruges,Other British titles include Stephen Frears’ VICTORIA AND ABDUL with Judi Dench; Deborah Haywood’s Derbyshire-set indie debut PINCUSHION that opens the ORIZZONTI section and MY GENERATION David Batty’s documentary about the Swinging Sixties scripted by Porridge writer Dick Clement and narrated by Michael Caine.
Venice will become the first major festival to introduce a competition strand dedicated to virtual reality with over 20 films judged by a separate jury which this year is headed by John Landis who presents a 3D version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and a documentary about its making.
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION 74
AI WEIWEI – HUMAN FLOW
Germany, Usa, 140’
DARREN ARONOFSKY – MOTHER!
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris
GEORGE CLOONEY – SUBURBICON
Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Noah Jupe, Oscar Isaac
GUILLERMO DEL TORO – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer
ZIAD DOUEIRI – THE INSULT
Adel Karam, Kamel El Basha, Camille Salameh, Rita Hayek
ROBERT GUÉDIGUIAN – LA VILLA
Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gérard Meylan, Jacques Boudet, Anaïs Demoustier, Robinson Stévenin
ANDREW HAIGH – LEAN ON PETE
Charlie Plummer, Steve Buscemi, Chloë Sevigny
ABDELLATIF KECHICHE – MEKTOUB, MY LOVE: CANTO UNO
France Italy, 180’
Shain Boumedine, Ophélie Baufle, Salim Kechiouche, Lou Luttiau, Alexia Chardard, Hafsia Herzi
KOREEDA HIROKAZU – THE THIRD MURDER
Fukuyama Masaharu, Yakusho Koji, Hirose Suzu
XAVIER LEGRAND – JUSQU’À LA GARDE
Denis Ménochet, Léa Drucker, Thomas Gioria, Mathilde Auneveux, Saadia Bentaïeb
MANETTI BROS. – AMMORE E MALAVITA
Giampaolo Morelli, Serena Rossi, Claudia Gerini, Carlo Buccirosso
SAMUEL MAOZ – FOXTROT
Israel, Germany Fr/Swiss 113’
Lior Ashkenazi, Sarah Adler, Yonatan Shiray
MARTIN MCDONAGH – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Abbie Cornish, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage
ANDREA PALLAORO – HANNAH
Charlotte Rampling, André Wilms
ALEXANDER PAYNE – DOWNSIZING
Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig
VIVIAN QU – JIA NIAN HUA (ANGELS WEAR WHITE)
China, France, 107’
Wen Qi, Zhou Meijun, Shi Ke, Geng Le, Liu Weiwei, Peng Jing
SEBASTIANO RISO – UNA FAMIGLIA
Micaela Ramazzotti, Patrick Bruel
PAUL SCHRADER – FIRST REFORMED
Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric Kyles
WARWICK THORNTON – SWEET COUNTRY
Sam Neill, Bryan Brown, Hamilton Morris, Thomas M. Wright
PAOLO VIRZÌ – THE LEISURE SEEKER
Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland
FREDERICK WISEMAN – EX LIBRIS, THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL | 30 AUGUST – 9 SEPTEMBER 2017