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VENICE 2021 Competition

In Venice, a “green pass” is enough for cinema from all over the world

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- A safe and lively edition which will feature new films from Pedro Almodóvar, Paolo Sorrentino, Stéphane Brizé, the D'Innocenzo brothers, Pablo Larrain, Michel Franco, Jane Campion and Paul Schrader

In Venice, a “green pass” is enough for cinema from all over the world
The Hand of God by Paolo Sorrentino

“The pandemic has served to stimulate the creativity of all” said Alberto Barbera, director of the Venice Film Festival, during the presentation of the 78th edition, surprised “by an average quality higher than usual” and optimistic about the health of cinema despite the crisis in the industry. He then went on to list the films participating in a lively edition characterised by the “green pass.” This year too, the lineup includes films from all over the world — except for China, present with two short films only, and a more substantial Italian presence than usual, five of them in competition and three out. American cinema is back in force with the majors Warner, Universal and Disney, and the stars who were absent last year.

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While the presence of Parallel Mothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
by Pedro Almodóvar was already announced a few days ago, Barbera confirmed the return of Stéphane Brizé with Another World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
, the third chapter in a trilogy about the world of work, this time from the opposite point of view: that of the manager of a company. The film stars Vincent Lindon whose extraordinary talent is now confirmed, after his successes in Cannes. Another return is that of Jane Campion, with The Power of the Dog, featuring an unusual and complex performance from Benedict Cumberbatch. After The Bad Batch, Ana Lily Amirpour is back with Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, the portrait of a girl with strange powers, while the first Italian film in competition is America Latina [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
from the brothers Damiano & Fabio D'Innocenzo, a solo for Elio Germano after the ensemble, choral film Bad Tales [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo
film profile
]
. French director of Lebanese origins Audrey Diwan is in competition for the first time with L'événement, based on the novel by Annie Ernaux set in 1960s France, when abortion was still against the law. This will mark the third time in Venice for Argentine directors Gastón Duprat & Mariano Cohn with Official Competition [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, starring the heavenly trio of Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez. The second Italian film in competition is The Hole [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
film profile
]
by Michelangelo Frammartino, back 11 years after Le quattro volte [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
interview: Savina Neirotti
film profile
]
revealed him to the world. After New Order [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, here again comes Michel Franco, together with his favourite actor Tim Roth in Sundown. Xavier Giannoli adapts to the screen Lost Illusions [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Xavier Giannoli
film profile
]
, the eponymous novel by Balzac, with a first-rate cast that includes Gérard Depardieu, Jeanne Balibar and Cécile de France. Maggie Gillehaal makes her feature directorial debut with The Lost Daughter based on the novel by Elena Ferrante and starring Olivia Colman as a woman obsessed with the past. Another highly anticipated return is that of Pablo Larrain with Spencer, in which Kristen Stewart plays Princess Diana as she is about to get a divorce. According to Barbera, those who have been waiting a very long time (6 years of production) will not be disappointed with the ambitious, highly personal and original film Freaks Out [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gabriele Mainetti
film profile
]
by Gabriele Mainetti, eagerly awaited by critics.

The fourth Italian film in competition is Qui rido io by Mario Martone, a regular at the Mostra, about the father of Neapolitan comedy Eduardo Scarpetta, played by Toni Servillo. Coming from genre cinema is Filipino director Erik Matti, who will be presenting On the Job 2: The Missing 8. Coming from Poland is the political cinema of Jan P. Matuszynski in Leave No Traces [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan P Matuszyński
film profile
]
while Natasha Merkulova & Aleksey Chupov will explore the Stalinist regime in the Russian film Captain Volkonogov Escaped [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. Another welcome return to Venice is that of Paul Schrader with The Card Counter [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, about Guantanamo. The final Italian film is Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile
]
, a Netflix film also starring Toni Servillo. Closing the competition is Reflection [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
film profile
]
from Ukrainian director Valentyn Vasyanovych (his film Atlantis [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
film profile
]
won in Venice) and La Caja by Lorenzo Vigas, who won the Golden Lion a few years ago with From Afar.

As for the Out of Competition section, Dune [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Denis Villeneuve is one of the most anticipated titles of the season, and Barbera promises “a great spectacle to be discovered, with special effects like we’ve never seen before.” Another awaited premiere is that of The Last Duel [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Ridley Scott, based on a true story and set in the Middle Ages, centred on a woman who has been attacked and confronts herself to the institutions of the time, “a film which resonates with our contemporary #MeToo debates.”

Three Italian films are playing Out of Competition: Il bambino nascosto [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roberto Andò
film profile
]
by Roberto Andò, which will also close the festival, and centres on the particular relationship between a music teacher and a teenager on the run; Ariaferma [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile
]
, the third feature from Leonardo di Costanzo, shot in a real Sardinian prison and raising questions about the value of prison sentences; La scuola cattolica [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stefano Mordini
film profile
]
by Stefano Mordini, adapted from the eponymous book by Edoardo Albinati, which revolves around one of the most heinous news events in Italian history (the Circeo massacre).

Among the other European films are Les choses humaines [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yvan Attal
film profile
]
in which Yvan Attal adapts the eponymous novel and deconstructs an act of sexual violence and its judicial developments, with the director’s son, Ben Attal, in the role of the rapist; and Last Night in Soho [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Edgar Wright, a music which offers, according to Barbera, “an unexpected reinterpretation of the dark side of Swinging London that leads to a horror finale”.

Worth mentioning finally is the mini series Scenes From a Marriage, in which Israeli writer Hagai Levi (In Treatment) rewrites the masterpiece by Ingmar Bergman, in a work which “will not make you regret the original, with dialogues at the height of brilliance and depth,” and stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac; and Django & Django [+see also:
trailer
interview: Luca Rea
film profile
]
by Luca Rea, in which Quentin Tarantino talks about his love for Sergio Corbucci and Italian westerns.

Finally, the selection was also announced for the Biennale College Cinema section, as well as the Orizzonti section (read news).

The films:

Competition

Parallel Mothers [+see also:
film review
trailer
making of
film profile
]
- Pedro Almodóvar (Spain) (opening film)
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon - Ana Lily Amirpour (USA)
Another World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
 - Stéphane Brizé (France)
The Power of the Dog - Jane Campion (New Zealand/Australia)
America Latina [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Damiano & Fabio D'Innocenzo (Italy/France)
Happening [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Audrey Diwan (France)
Official Competition [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Gastón Duprat & Mariano Cohn (Spain/Argentina)
Il buco [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michelangelo Frammartino
film profile
]
- Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy/France/Germany)
Sundown [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Michel Franco (Mexico/France/Sweden)
Lost Illusions [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Xavier Giannoli
film profile
]
- Xavier Giannoli (France)
The Lost Daughter - Maggie Gyllenhaal (USA/UK/Greece/Israel)
Spencer [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Pablo Larraín (UK/Germany)
Freaks Out [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Gabriele Mainetti
film profile
]
- Gabriele Mainetti (Italy/Belgium)
The King of Laughter [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Mario Martone
film profile
]
- Mario Martone (Italy/Spain)
On the Job: The Missing 8 - Erik Matti (Philippines)
Leave No Traces [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jan P Matuszyński
film profile
]
- Jan P. Matuszynski (Poland/France/Czech Republic)
Captain Volkonogov Escaped [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Natasha Merkulova & Aleksey Chupov (Russia/Estonia/France)
The Card Counter [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Paul Schrader (USA/UK/China)
The Hand of God [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Paolo Sorrentino
film profile
]
- Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)
Reflection [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Valentyn Vasyanovych
film profile
]
- Valentyn Vasyanovych (Ukraine)
La caja - Lorenzo Vigas (Mexico/USA)

Out of Competition - Fiction

Il bambino nascosto [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Roberto Andò
film profile
]
- Roberto Andò (Italy/France)
Les Choses Humaines [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Yvan Attal
film profile
]
- Yvan Attal (France)
Ariaferma [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Leonardo Di Costanzo
film profile
]
- Leonardo Di Costanzo (Italy/Switzerland)
Halloween Kills - David Gordon Green (USA)
La scuola cattolica [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stefano Mordini
film profile
]
- Stefano Mordini (Italy)
Old Henry - Potsy Ponciroli (USA)
The Last Duel [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Ridley Scott (USA/UK)
Dune [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Denis Villeneuve (USA/Hungary/Jordan/United Arab Emirates/Norway/Canada)
Last Night in Soho [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Edgar Wright (UK)

Out of Competition - Series

Scenes from a Marriage - Hagai Levi (USA)

Out of Competition - Non-Fiction

Life of Crime 1984-2020 - Jon Alpert (USA)
Tranchées [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Loup Bureau (France)
Viaggio nel crepuscolo [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Augusto Contento (France/Italy)
Republic of Silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Diana El Jeroudi (Germany/France/Syria/Qatar)
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song - Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine (USA)
Deandré#Deandré Storia di un impiegato [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Roberta Lena (Italy)
Becoming Led Zeppelin [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Bernard MacMahon (UK/USA)
Django & Django [+see also:
trailer
interview: Luca Rea
film profile
]
- Luca Rea (Italy)
Ennio [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy/Belgium/China/Japan)
Ezio Bosso: Le cose che restano [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Giorgio Verdelli (Italy)

Out of Competition - Short Films

Plastic Semiotic - Radu Jude (Romania)
The Night - Tsai Ming-Liang (Taiwan)
Sad Film - Vasili (Myanmar/Netherlands)

Special Screenings

Ricostruire insieme - Biennale Architettura 2021 - Graziano Coversano (Italy) (medium-length film)
Inferno rosso. Joe D'Amato sulla via dell'eccesso - Manlio Gomarasca, Massimiliano Zanin (Italy)
GES-2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Nastia Korkia (Italy)
Pietro il grande - Antonello Sarno (Italy) (short film)
Le 7 giornate di Bergamo - Simona Ventura (Italy)
La Biennale di Venezia: Il cinema al tempo del COVID - Andrea Segre (Italy) (medium-length film)

Biennale College Cinema

Feature films

Al oriente - José María Avilés (Ecuador/Argentina)
La Tana [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
- Beatrice Baldacci (Italy)
Nuestros días más felices - Sol Berruezo Pichon-Rivière (Argentina)
La santa piccola [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Silvia Brunelli (Italy)
The Cathedral - Ricky D’Ambrose (USA)
Mon père, le diable - Ellie Foumbi (USA)

VR

Lavrynthos - Fabito Rychter, Amir Admoni (Brazil/Peru) (short film)

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