Wed. Jun 3rd, 2020

71st Venice Film Festival Lineup: Or, How to Buck the Oscars and Play What You Want


The 71st Venice Film Festival has revealed its lineup and in true form defies the likes of Telluride, Toronto and the New York Film Festival by not merely being a showcase for American Oscar contenders but by being a festival of the cinéaste. While Oscar hopeful Birdman is the festival opener you won’t see the likes of Big Eyes, Suite français or A Most Violent Year. One of our intrepid members, Cricket, notes: if you go back and look at the last decade (which is the period when Venice got more into the awards game), you’ll see it’s not that realistic to expect a slew of awards bait or prestige titles. Aside from ’07 and ’08, they haven’t had more than two films per year to receive Oscar nominations in the top eight categories: 2004 (Vera Drake), 2005 (Good Night, and Good LuckBrokeback Mountain), 2006 (The QueenChildren of Men), 2007 (Assassination of Jesse JamesMichael ClaytonIn the Valley of ElahI’m Not ThereAtonement), 2008 (The Hurt LockerRachel Getting MarriedThe Wrestler), 2009 (A Single Man), 2010 (Black Swan), 2011 (The Ides of MarchTinker Tailor Soldier Spy), 2012 (The Master), 2013 (GravityPhilomena).

He adds: “I think a film like Big Eyes would be more out of place in competition than most of the titles here. (Burton has only competed at a major Euro fest once, in Cannes for Ed Wood.) That said, I actually think Venice is kind of underrated. Telluride and TIFF steal its Oscar thunder and it’s always seen as second fiddle to Cannes. But I believe The Hurt Locker was the first BP winner to debut in Venice, and Brokeback Mountain and Gravity came really close. In that regard, it’s more than NYFF, equal to Toronto (which only has Crash) and one less than Cannes — in the last ten years. Telluride is the champ, though.”

The Weinstein Company’s big push, The Imitation Game wouldn’t/couldn’t premiere in competition here because the film’s composer, Alexandre Desplat, is also the head the festival’s jury. Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman, appears to be headed for Telluride.

The other main jury members are: Chinese actress and director Joan Chen ; German director Philip Groning; Austrian director Jessica Hausner; Indian novelist Jhumpa Lahiri; English costume designer Sandy Powell; British actor Tim Roth; Palestinian director Elia Suleiman; and Italian actor/director Carlo Verdone.

Besides jury president Ann Hui, the Horizons jury comprises: Israeli actress Moran Atias; Swedish actress and director Pernilla August; American writer-director David Chase; Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun; Italian director Roberto Minervini; and Turkish critic Alin Tasciyan. The festival runs August 27th-September 6th.


“The Cut,” Fatih Akin (Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Canada, Poland, Turkey)
“A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” Roy Andersson (Sweden, Germany, Norway, France)
“99 Homes,” Ramin Bahrani (U.S.)
“Tales,” Rakhshan Bani E’temad (Iran)
“La rancon de la gloire,” Xavier Beauvois (France)
“Hungry Hearts,” Saverio Costanzo (Italy)
“Le fernier coup de marteau,” Alix Delaporte (France)
“Manglehorn,” David Gordon Green (U.S.)
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro González Iñárritu (U.S.) OPENER
“Three Hearts,” Benoit Jacquot (France)
“The Postman’s White Nights,” Andrei Konchalovsky (Russia)
“Il Giovane Favoloso,” Mario Martone (Italy)
“Sivas,” Kaan Mujdeci (Turkey)
“Anime Nere,” Francesco Munzi (Italy, France)
“Good Kill,” Andrew Niccol (U.S.)
“Loin des Hommes,” David Oelhoffen (France)
“The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer (Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Norway, U.K.)
“Nobi,” Shinya Tsukamoto (Japan)
“Red Amnesia,” Wang Xiaoshuai (China)

“Words with Gods,” Guillermo Arriaga, Emir Kusturica, Amos Gitai. Mira Nair, Warwick Thornton, Hector Babenco, Bahman Ghobadi, Hideo Nakata, Alex de la Iglesia (Mexico. U.S.)
“She’s Funny That Way,” Peter Bogdanovich (U.S.)
“Dearest,” Peter Ho-sun Chan (Hong Kong, China)
“Olive Kitteridge,” Lisa Cholodenko (U.S.)
“Burying the Ex,” Joe Dante (U.S.)
”Perez,” Edoardo De Angelis (Italy)
“La zuppa del demonio,” Davide Ferrario (Italy)
“Tsili,” Amos Gitai (Israel, Russia, Italy, France)
“La trattativa,” Sabina Guzzanti (Italy)
“The Golden Era,” Ann Hui (China, Hong Kong) CLOSER
“Make Up,” Im Kwontaek (South Korea)
“The Humbling,” Barry Levinson (U.S.)
“The Old Man of Belem,” Manoel de Oliveira (Portugal, France)
“Italy in a Day,” Gabriele Salvatores (Italy, U.K.)
“In the Basement,” Ulrich Seidl (Austria)
“The Boxtrolls,” Anthony Stacchi, Annable Graham (U.K)
“Nyphomanic Volume II (long version) Director’s Cut,” Lars Von Trier (Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium)

“Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar (Jordan, U.A.E. Qatar, U.K.)
“Line of Credit,” Salome Alexi (Georgia, Germany, France)
“Cymbeline,” Michael Almereyda (U.S.)
“Senza Nessuna Pieta,” Michele Alhaique (Italy)
“Near Death Experience,” Benoit Delepine, Gustave Kervern (France)
“Le Vita Oscena,” Renato De Maria (Italy)
“Realite,” Quentin Dupieux (France, Belgium)
“I Spy/I Spy,” Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala (Austria)
“Hill of Freedom,” Hong Sangsoo (South Korea)
“Bypass,” Duane Hopkins (U.K.)
“The President,” Moshen Makhmalbaf (Georgia, France, U.K. Germany)
“Your Right Mind,” Ami Canaan Mann (U.S.)
“Belluscone, una storia siciliana,” Franco Maresco (Italy)
“Nabat,” Elchin Musaoglu (Azerbaijan)
“Heaven Knows What,” Josh Safdie, Ben Safdie (U.S., France)
“These Are the Rules,” Ognjen Svilicic,” (Croatia, France, Serbia, Macedonia)
“Court,” Chaitanya Tamhane (India)



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