In its 74th year, the Venice Film Festival is once again debuting a slate of potential Oscar contenders from top directors, including George Clooney, Darren Aronofsky and Guillermo del Toro.
Festival director Alberto Barbera on Thursday unveiled the lineup for this year at the Cinema Moderno in Rome.
“I’m very satisfied,” Barbera said about the slate. “I have to say that I am 97 percent satisfied in the sense that there are only maybe two or three films that we wanted to have for the festival, and we couldn’t, because they will go to other festivals. So all the films that we saw and that we wanted to have are in the lineup of this year’s festival.”
As previously announced, Alexander Payne’s satire Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, will open the event in competition. The film is about a family that seeks a better life through shrinking. It also stars Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern and Jason Sudeikis.
Vying for the Golden Lion this year, to be award by a jury led by Annette Bening, are 21 world premieres.
Artist and activist Ai Weiwei will enter the competition with his documentary about the current refugee crisis, Human Flow.
Darren Aronofsky, who presided over the Venice jury in 2011, will bring his eagerly anticipated horror film Mother! to the fest. The pic, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris, centers around a relationship being tested after the arrival of unwelcome visitors.
Damon will be pulling double-duty at the festival as he will also star in George Clooney’s Suburbicon, written by Clooney and the Coen brothers, which focuses on a family’s moral descension after a home invasion goes very wrong. It also stars Coen favorites Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac.
Guillermo del Toro will debut his otherworldly Cold War era fairytale The Shape of Water, starring Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a dark comedy from Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), starring Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage and Frances McDormand, will also bow on the Lido.
Paul Schrader’s religious-themed thriller First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, will also premiere in Venice.
Abdellatif Kechiche will bring his 1980s coming-of-age story Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno to the fest, and Paolo Virzi will premiere his first full English-language pic, The Leisure Seeker, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.
Out of competition, the festival continues its relationship with Netflix with the world premiere of Our Souls at Night, with honorary Golden Lions going to the film’s stars Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.
Netflix also will premiere its first Italian production, the modern-day mafia saga Suburra. It also will screen the Errol Morris series Wormwood, starring Peter Sarsgaard and Molly Parker, the festival’s only non-world premiere.
Also out of competition, Stephen Frears will premiere Victoria & Abdul, starring Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard in a pic about the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and a young Indian clerk. And Fernando Leon De Aranoa’s Loving Pablo, starring Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Peter Sarsgaard, will debut.
James Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman, starring Sienna Miller, Alec Baldwin and Charles Grodin, will unspool at the fest, as will Abel Ferrara’s documentary Piazza Vittoria, which tells the story of the neighborhood in Rome where he lives.
Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy will premiere their feature film Woodshock, starring Kirsten Dunst and Pilou Asbaek.
Kitano Takeshi’s new yakuza film Outrage Coda will close the fest.
New this year, Venice is launching a VR competition with 22 films, with a jury headed by John Landis. The lineup includes La Camera Insabbiata by Laurie Anderson and Huang Hsin-Chien.
Venice’s Horizons section will open with Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Nico, 1988, a biopic about the Velvet Underground singer and Andy Warhol muse. The only American film in Horizons is the documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor by Nancy Buirski, which focuses on a white gang rape of an African-American woman in Alabama in 1944. Also in the lineup of the section is Anne Fontaine’s coming-of-age story Marvin, which stars Isabelle Huppert and Finnegan Oldfield.
The 74th Venice International Film Festival is set to run Aug. 30-Sept. 9. Read the full lineup below.
Human Flow, Ai Weiwei
Mother!, Darren Aronofsky
Suburbicon, George Clooney
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro
L’insulte, ZIad Doueiri
La Villa, Robert Guediguian
Lean on Pete, Andrew Haigh
Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, Abdellatif Kechiche
The Third Murder, Koreeda Hirokazu
Jusqu’a la Garde, Xavier Legrand
Ammore e Malavita, Manetti Brothers
Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
Hannah, Andrea Pallaoro
Downsizing, Alexander Payne
Angels Wear White, Vivian Qu
Una Famiglia, Sebastiano Riso
First Reformed, Paul Schrader
Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton
The Leisure Seeker, Paolo Virzi
Ex Libris – The New York Public Library, Frederick Wiseman
OUT OF COMPETITION FEATURES
Our Souls at Night, Ritesh Batra
Il Signor Rotpeter, Antonietta de Lillo
Victoria & Abdul, Stephen Frears
La Melodie, Rachid Hami
Outrage Coda, Kitano Takeshi
Loving Pablo, Fernando Leon de Aranoa
Zama, Lucrecia Martel
Wormwood, Errol Morris
Diva!, Franceso Patierno
Le FIdele, Michael R. Roskam
Diva!, Franceso Patierno
Il Colore Nascosto Delle Cose, Silvio Soldini
The Private Life of a Modern Woman, James Toback
Brawl in Cell Block 99, S. Craig Zahler
OUT OF COMPETITION DOCUMENTARIES
Cuba and the Cameraman, Jon Alpert
My Generation, David Batty
Piazza Vittorio, Abel Ferrara
The Devil and Father Amorth, William Friedkin
This Is Congo, Daniel McCabe
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, Stephen Nomura Schible
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The Story of Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton, Chris Smith
Happy Winter, Giovanni Totaro
Casa d’Altri, Gianni Amelio
Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D, John Landis
Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983), Jerry Kramer
Disappearance, Ali Asgari
Especes Menacees, Gilles Bourdos
The Rape of Recy Taylor, Nancy Buirski
Caniba, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
Les Bienheureux, Sofia Djama
Marvin, Anne Fontaine
Invisible, Pablo Giorgelli
Brutti e Cattivi, Cosimo Gomez
The Cousin, Tzahi Grad
The Testament, Amichai Greenberg
No Date, No Signature, Vahid Jalilvand
Los Versos del Olvido, Alireza Khatami
The Night I Swam, Damien Manivel, Igarashi Kohei
Nico, 1988, Susanna Nicchiarelli
Krieg, Rick Ostermann
West of Sunshine, Jason Raftopoulos
Gatta Cenerentola, Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Dario Sansone
Under the Tree, Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson
La Vita in Comune, Edoardo Winspeare
CINEMA NEL GIARDINO
Manuel, Dario Albertini
Controfigura, Ra di Martino
Woodshock, Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy
Nato a Casal di Principe, Bruno Oliviero
Suburra – The Series, Michele Placido, Andrea Molaioli, Giuseppe Capotondi
Tueurs, Francois Troukens, Jean-Francois Hensgens
VENICE CLASSICS DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
Light Years, Manuel Abramovich
Evviva Giuseppe, Stefano Consiglio
La Lucida Follia di Marco Ferreri, Selma Jean Dell’Olio
The Russian Revolution Through its Films, Emmanuel Hamon
The Prince and the Dybbuk, Elwira Niewiera
La Voce di Fantozzi, Mario Sesti
This Is the War Room!, Boris Hars-Tschachotin
SPECIAL DOCUMENTARY SCREENINGS
La Lunga Strada del Ritorno, Alessandro Blasetti
Barbiana ’65 La Lezione di Don Milani, Alessandro G. A. D’Alessandro
Lievito Madre, Le Ragazze del Secolo Scorso, Concita de Gregorio, Esmeralda Calabria
Beautiful Things, Giorgio Ferrero
Martyr, Mazen Khaled
Strange Colours, Alena Lodkina