Venice Film Festival 2019: From opening film and jury members to competition entries, all you need to know

FP Staff

Aug 28, 2019 12:04:33 IST

It may be the oldest film festival in the world but at 76, the Venice International Film Festival is more relevant than ever. Kicking off its edition on 28 August, the festival in recent years has widely earned recognition to screen films which unusually stick out a place in Academy nominations several months later. The list of top 21st-century Academy Award winners making their world premieres in Venice includes Spotlight, Birdman and The Shape of Water, plus enormous global successes on the order of Gravity and La La Land.

Nevertheless, the Venice Film Festival will feature a highly-anticipated movies and plenty of star power. Here are some of the highlights about the festival.

The opening film

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth will open the 2019 Venice Film Festival. Starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke, this is Kore-eda's first non-Japanese project, and the follow-up to his Palme d’Or-winning film Shoplifters 21 films in the competition

Among the high-profile films debuting in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion Award, which last year went to Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, include: James Gray's space epic Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, Noah Baumbach's divorce drama Marriage Story, Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers comedy The Laundromat with Meryl Streep and Joker, an unconventional origin story about Batman's foe, starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Out of 21 competition entries, only two titles belong to women filmmakers. The entries are Shannon Murphy in her directing debut, with Babyteeth, starring Ben Mendelsohn, and The Perfect Candidate from Saudi Arabian director Haifaa Al-Mansour about a young Saudi female doctor who decides to run for office.

2019 Honorary Award

Veteran actor Julie Andrews, the star of classic movies such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, will be honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 76th edition of Venice Film Festival. Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar will also receive the Honorary Lion for Life's Work. Almodóva's recent work Pain and Glory was premiered at Cannes 2019.

Jury at the Biennale

Filmmaker Lucrecia Martel has been announced as the jury president of the 2019 Venice Film Festival. The director is the seventh woman to preside over the jury in the 76-year-long history of the festival. Martel will head the jury that awards the festival's coveted Golden and Silver Lions. The other jury members include Canadian historian and critic Piers Handling, British actress Stacy Martin, Mexican Director of Photography (DoP) Rodrigo Prieto, Japanese director Tsukamoto Shinya, and UK actress Stacy Martin among others.

Controversies

With only two women directors in the competition line-up, the issue of gender parity was bought up following the announcement Venice film festival.

Apart from the gender imbalance, Roman Polanski debuts his latest project An Officer and a Spy, his film about the Dreyfus affair starring Jean Dujardin and Louis Garrel. The director – who was expelled from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his continued avoidance of an arrest warrant over his 1978 conviction for child sex charges – has been given a competition slot.

Another controversial inclusion is Nate Parker, the actor and director who won the grand jury prize at Sundance in 2016 for his slavery drama The Birth of a Nation, before a rape allegation resurfaced, and the film went on to lose millions for Fox after it was bought for $17.5 million, writes The Guardian.

(Also read on Firstpost - Venice 2019: Greater transparency in selection process may help address gender parity at film festivals)

The closing film

 Venice Film Festival 2019: From opening film and jury members to competition entries, all you need to know

A still from The Burnt Orange Heresy. Image from Twitter

Elizabeth Debicki and Claes Bang-starrer The Burnt Orange Heresy will be bringing the curtains down on the 2019 Venice Film Festival. The heist thriller, also featuring rock legend Mick Jagger and veteran actor Donald Sutherland, is directed by Italian filmmaker Giuseppe Capotondi, who is making a comeback to the famed festival after a gap of 10 years. The movie will be screened out of competition at the festival, the organisers said in a statement.

Venice Film Festival 2019 will take place from 28 August to 7 September.

Updated Date: Aug 28, 2019 12:14:17 IST