Venice Film Festival unveils selections for September fete - GulfToday

Venice Film Festival unveils selections for September fete

Venice film festival

A view of the Sala Grande cinema at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. AP

"The World to Come,” the Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren comedy-drama "The Duke,” Gia Coppola’s "Mainstream,” and the Shia LaBeouf and Vanessa Kirby drama "Pieces of a Woman” are among the films set to premiere at the Venice International Film Festival in September, the first major event of its kind since the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of large gatherings worldwide, organizers said Tuesday.

The selections for the 77th edition, which launches Sept. 2 on the Venice Lido, are more global and less packed with star-studded Hollywood features than in years past as a result of the ongoing virus outbreak, festival director Alberto Barbera acknowledged.

"This year, to borrow Bob Dylan’s words, the program contains multitudes: of movies, of genres, of points of view,” Barbera said at a Tuesday morning news conference. "There will be auteur films, comedies, documentaries, horror flicks, gangster movies, and so on."

Barbera noted that almost half of the competition film selections this year are directed by women. The festival has had notoriously poor gender parity in the past.

The films this year, Barbera said, "were selected exclusively on the basis of their quality and not as a result of gender protocols. This is an unprecedented percentile which we hope augurs well for a future cinema that is free of any sort of prejudice and discrimination.” 


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The festival will implement various modifications due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, including a slightly slimmed-down official competition, a reduced number of sections and the addition of two outdoor screening venues, in addition to its traditional venues. Organizers said they will also be adhering to safety measures established by local authorities.

"Until a short while ago, even the certainty of maintaining the late-summer appointment with Venice’s Festival was anything but a given,” Barbera said.
And it will be a decidedly different festival than in the past couple of years.

"A few spectacular movies will be missing, blocked by the lockdown which still affects the programming of the most-awaited Hollywood releases. A few cast members of the invited movies won’t be able to attend because of the ongoing limitations on intercontinental travel,” Barbera said.

Attendees are also likely to be mostly European this year due to continuing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Italy was an early epicenter of the virus outbreak.

But the show will go on.

"The decision to hold the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival is experienced like a sign of confidence in - dnd concrete support of - the world of film and the audiovisual industry,” Barbera said.

COVID-19 has massively disrupted the film festival circuit, a major launching pad not only for awards contenders but also for films looking for buzz and distribution. Cannes and Telluride were cancelled and others like Venice and the Toronto International Film Festival have had to get creative and scale back where possible in order to proceed.

Associated Press

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