Venice Film Festival kicks off with Netflix film and superstars

Photo: Janick Nolting

Hugh Jackman and Cate Blanchett, Lars von Trier and Harry Styles: this year’s Venice Film Festival again promises Hollywood glamour, pop and art house at the same time.

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With award-worthy productions and many Hollywood stars, the start at the end of August film Festival in Venice. A look at the program promises some candidates who could clear up at the Golden Globes or Oscars. Invited guests include pop star and actor Harry Styles and his partner, director Olivia Wilde, whose new film Don’t Worry Darling is premiering in Venice. Film fans can also hope for performances by Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Lars von Trier, Adam Driver or Cate Blanchett – among many others.

Nina Hoss and Lars Eidinger from Germany are in the program of the film festival. The latter plays a role in the competition entry “White Noise” by Noah Baumbach, which opens the 79th Venice Film Festival on Wednesday (31 August) in the evening. Eidinger himself will not come to Italy, said a spokeswoman for Netflix.

White Noise is based on a novel by Don DeLillo. It tells the story of a family in the Midwest whose everyday life is thrown upside down after a chemical spill occurs in their hometown. The film adaptation is not the only Netflix production that runs prominently in Venice – as it did last year.

The Netflix biopic “Blonde” about Marilyn Monroe (director: Andrew Dominik) with Ana de Armas and Adrien Brody is eagerly awaited, which will certainly provide glamor in the lagoon city. Two other major productions from the streaming provider are also running in the competition: “Bardo” is the new film by Mexican Oscar winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“Birdman”, “The Revenant”). And Romain Gavras, the son of the film director Constantin Costa-Gavras, is responsible for “Athena”.

New series by Lars von Trier in the program

The list of other top-class films is long. Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby and Anthony Hopkins have roles in The Son, the follow-up to Florian Zeller’s acclaimed drama The Father. Following Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet stars in Luca Guadagnino’s new coming-of-age horror film, Bones and All. A cinema version of the series “The Kingdom Exodus” by Lars von Trier will also be presented to the festival-goers.

US director Todd Field directs his attention to Germany with “Tár”. In it, Cate Blanchett embodies a fictional conductor and the first woman ever to become chief conductor of a major German orchestra. Nina Hoss can also be seen here. Parts of the film were shot in Dresden, musicians from the Dresden Philharmonic were involved.

As the only German film, “Aus meine Haut” will celebrate its world premiere in Venice – albeit during the so-called Critics’ Week, an independent and parallel section of the film festival. Alex Schaad’s debut film brings together German character actors such as Jonas Dassler, Mala Emde and Edgar Selge. Schaad wrote the screenplay with his brother, actor Dimitrij Schaad, known from the “Kangaroo Chronicles”.

Former Lions winners in the competition

Two filmmakers who already have a Golden Lion in their closet are also there: In “The Whale” Darren Aronofsky tells the story of an obese man (Brendan Fraser) who wants to get close to his daughter again. And Iranian director Jafar Panahi – who is still in jail after his arrest was reported in Iran in mid-July – is represented with Khers Nist (No bears), one of two Iranian films in the competition.

Along with the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlinale, the Italian festival is one of the three most important in the world, and it captivates with its unique backdrop. Before heading to the island of Lido to watch the film, the filmmakers will celebrate the unofficial opening party at the Hotel Danieli, an old Venetian palace on the Grand Canal.

This year 23 films compete for the Golden Lion, which is awarded at the end of the festival on September 10th. Among them are five works by female directors. She can’t wait, wrote jury president Julianne Moore on Instagram before the festival began.

Text: dpa/ Editor: JN

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