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VENICE 2017 Official Selection

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Venice gives Cannes a run for its money with an exceptional line-up

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- Alberto Barbera has announced the films to be shown in competition, all in their world premieres, with a smattering of stars on the red carpet

Venice gives Cannes a run for its money with an exceptional line-up
Hannah by Andrea Pallaoro

The director of the 74th edition of the Venice Film FestivalAlberto Barbera, is satisfied with the programme for this year’s competition, which has sniffed out several Oscar winners in recent years, including Gravity [+see also:
trailer
making of
film profile
]
, Birdman, Spotlight,
 and La La Land. "99% satisfied because there are a few more films I wanted to include but couldn’t”. All the films being shown at the festival between 30 August and 9 September will be shown in their world premieres (with the exception of Errol Morris’ series), and the red carpet on the Lido will be walked by a myriad of international stars. The dominant theme of this year’s festival is contemporaneity, “which film has a sensitive radar for”, together with the theme of family crisis. There is a heavy presence of Italian films, with “films that are all very different, from Paolo Virzì’s American film which is taking on the international market, to the extreme opposite by the Manetti Bros., with their marginal and provocative film. It is a diversity that characterises this season, bringing us face to face with new and original themes that cannot be attributed to Italian films of recent years". 

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No fewer than 21 films are being shown in competition this year, with a big reshuffling of names, with 15 of the directors participating in the festival for the first time. The opening film, as previously announced, is Downsizing by Alexander Payne, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig, a cross between a sci-fi and environmental film and a potential Oscar candidate. The line-up continues with documentary Human Flow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on the migration crisis, produced by Germany and the USA. Then there’s the eagerly-awaited Mother! by Darren Aronofsky, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Suburbicon by George Clooney, which will hit US theatres on 27 October, stars Julianne Moore and Matt Damon, and is based on an old screenplay by the Coen brothers, which Clooney added a political subtext to. Then there’s The Shape of Water by much-loved Mexican fantasy director Guillermo del Toro, starring British actress Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon,which “is a mix of Beauty and the Beast and Creature from the Black Lagoon", says Barbera. Meanwhile, with The House by the Sea [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Robert Guédiguian
film profile
]
Robert Guédiguian returns to his native Marseilles with a family story. Next up are “trial” films The Insult [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ziad Doueiri
film profile
]
 by Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri and Sandome no satsujin by Japanese director Koreeda Hirokazu, a reflection on how impossible it is to get at the truth. Then there’s Lean on Pete [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by British director Andrew Haigh, starring Charlie Plummer and Steve Buscemi, which is based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, a British production set in America. 

There are great expectations for the latest film by Abdellatif KechicheMektoub, My Love: Canto Uno [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the first instalment in a diptych or triptych, based on Francois Bégaudeau’s book La blessure, la vraie, a saga centering around a screenwriter who returns to his hometown. Then there’s debut piece Custody [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Xavier Legrand
film profile
]
 by Xavier Legrand, which stars Denis Ménochet, among others, and shows "surprising maturity from the writer of a short film which went on to become France’s Oscar candidate". Then there’s a co-production between Israel, Germany, France and Switzerland, Foxtrot by Samuel Maoz, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice with his debut piece Lebanon.

One of the four Italian films in the running is a neomelodic film about the Camorra, True Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marco and Antonio Manetti
film profile
]
 by the Manetti Bros. Andrea Pallaoro is the director of the second, Hannah [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a co-production with Belgium and France, starring an outstanding Charlotte Rampling, "a rigorous and austere film, like the director’s previous piece Medeas [+see also:
film review
trailer
festival scope
film profile
]
, which was selected for Orizzonti in 2013", as pointed out by the director. The third film is an ensemble film, about wombs for rent, Una famiglia [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastiano Riso
film profile
]
 by Sebastiano Riso, the director of the acerbic Darker Than Midnight [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. The cast features Micaela Ramazzotti and Patrick Bruel. The fourth and final Italian film is Paolo Virzì, a road movie entitled Ella & John – The Leisure Seeker [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Paolo Virzì
film profile
]
, which is based on the book by Michael Zadoorian and stars Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

Also eagerly awaited are Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Martin McDonagh (the director of In Bruges [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), a British production shot on American soil with a star-studded cast featuring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. From China comes Angels Wear White [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Vivian Qu
film profile
]
, by filmmaker Vivian Qu, on the female condition, and Paul Schrader is back with First Reformed starring Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, a film that he believes represents his work. Then there’s Australian film Sweet country by Aborigine director Warwick Thornton, winner of the Caméra d'or Cannes with Samson and Delilah, and last but not least, for the first time in competition at Venice, great documentary maker Frederick Wiseman, with Ex libris – The New York Public library.

There is also a rich selection of out-of-competition titles, including special events such as the short film Casa d'altri, filmed by Gianni Amelio in Amatrice one year on from the earthquake; Thriller, starring Michael Jackson, fully restored and rendered in 3D by director John Landis; and Our Souls at Night, a project starring Robert Redford (who will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, together with Jane Fonda) that was entrusted to Indian director Ritesh Batra.

Also among the out-of-competition titles is Il signor Rotpeter by Antonietta De Lillo, based on Kafka; the return of Stephen Frears with Victoria and Abdul [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, starring Judi Dench in the role of the titular monarch; La Mélodie [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Rachid Hami, about a music teacher (played by Kad Merad, of Welcome to the Sticks [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) in the Parisian suburbs; Loving Pablo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Spaniard Fernando León de Aranoa, about the infamous Pablo Escobar, played by Javier Bardem; and Zama [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Lucrecia Martel
film profile
]
by Lucrecia Martel, based on a book by Antonio Di Benedetto

As was the case at Cannes, Netflix will have a strong presence at Venice, with the series Wormwood, helmed by US documentarian Errol Morris, and the Italian series Suburra, the prequel to the film of the same name. And then there’s Diva! [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 by Francesco PatiernoThe Racer and the Jailbird [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Michael Roskam
film profile
]
 by Belgium’s Michaël R Roskam and Emma [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Silvio Soldini. Finally, Outrage Coda, the third instalment in a trilogy by Takeshi Kitano, will bring the Mostra to a close.

Competition

DownsizingAlexander Payne (United States) (opening film)
Human Flow
 [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Ai Weiwei (Germany/United States)
Mother! - Darren Aronofsky (United States)
Suburbicon - George Clooney (United States)
The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro (United States)
The Insult [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Ziad Doueiri
film profile
]
 - Ziad Doueiri (France/Lebanon)
The House By the Sea [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Robert Guédiguian
film profile
]
 - Robert Guédiguian (France)
Lean on Pete [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Andrew Haigh (United Kingdom)
Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Abdellatif Kechiche (France/Italy)
The Third Murder - Hirokazu Koreeda (Japan)
Custody [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Xavier Legrand
film profile
]
 - Xavier Legrand (France)
True Love [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Marco and Antonio Manetti
film profile
]
 - Manetti Bros. (Italy)
Foxtrot [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Samuel Maoz
film profile
]
 - Samuel Maoz (Israel/Germany/France/Switzerland)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
Martin McDonagh (United Kingdom)
Hannah [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
Andrea Pallaoro (Italy/Belgium/France)
Angels Wear White [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Vivian Qu
film profile
]
 - Vivian Qu (China/France)
Una famiglia [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sebastiano Riso
film profile
]
 - Sebastiano Riso (Italy)
First Reformed - Paul Schrader (United States)
Sweet Country - Warwick Thornton (Australia)
The Leisure Seeker [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
Q&A: Paolo Virzì
film profile
]
 - Paolo Virzì (Italy)
Ex Libris - Frederick Wiseman (United States)

Out of Competition - Fiction

Casa D’altri - Gianni Amelio (Italy) (short film)
Michael Jackson’s Thriller - John Landis (United States) (short film)
Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller - Jerry Kramer (1983) (United States) (medium-length film)
Our Souls at Night - Ritesh Batra (United States)
Il Signor Rotpeter - Antonietta de Lillo (Italy) (medium-length film)
Victoria & Abdul [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Stephen Frears (United Kingdom)
La mélodie [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Rachid Hami (France)
Outrage Coda - Takeshi Kitano (Japan) (closing film)
Loving Pablo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
Fernando León de Aranoa (Spain/Bulgaria)
Zama [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Lucrecia Martel
film profile
]
- Lucrecia Martel (Argentina/Brazil/Spain/France/Mexico/Netherlands/Portugal/United States/Lebanon)
Wormwood - Errol Morris (United States) (series)
Diva! [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 - Francesco Patierno (Italy)
The Racer and the Jailbird [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Michael Roskam
film profile
]
 - Michaël R. Roskam (Belgium/France/Netherlands)
Emma [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Silvio Soldini (Italy/Switzerland)
The Private Life of a Modern Woman - James Toback (United States)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 - S. Craig Zahler (United States)

Out of Competition - Non-Fiction

Cuba and the Cameraman - Jon Alpert (United States)
My Generation [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: David Batty
film profile
]
 - David Batty (United Kingdom)
Piazza Vittorio [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Abel Ferrara (Italy)
The Devil and the Father - William Friedkin (United States)
This is Congo - Daniel McCabe (Congo)
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda - Stephen Nomura Schible (United States/Japan)
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The Story of Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton - Chris Smith (United States/Canada)
Happy Winter [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 - Giovanni Totaro (Italy)

Cinema nel Giardino

Manuel [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 - Dario Albertini (Italy)
The Stand-in [+see also:
trailer
interview: Rä di Martino
film profile
]
 - Rä Di Martino (Italy/France/Morocco/Switzerland)
Woodshock - Kate Mulleavy, Laura Mulleavy (United States)
Nato a Casal di Principe - Bruno Oliviero (Italy/Spain)
Suburra – La serie - Michele Placido, Andrea Molaioli, Guiseppe Capotondi (Italy) (series)
Above the Law [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: François Troukens
film profile
]
 - François Troukens, Jean-François Hensgens (Belgium/France)

Special Screenings

La lunga strada del ritorno - Alessandro Blasetti (Italy)
Barbiana ’65 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
  La Lezione di Don Lorenzo Milani -
Alessandro G. A. D’Alessandro (Italy)
Levito Madre [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
– Le Ragazze del Secolo Scorso
 - Concita de Gregorio, Esmeralda Calabria (Italy)

Biennale College - Cinema

Beautiful Things [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Giorgio Ferrero (Italy)
Martyr - Mazen Khaled (Lebanon)
Strange Colours - Alena Lodkina (Australia)

(Translated from Italian)

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