The 78th Venice Film Festival Report 1

By Moira Jean Sullivan

The 78th Venice Film Festival is being held 1-11 September with three main competitions – the Venice (Venezia) official Competition, Horizons (Orizzonti) or visionary film, and Lion of the Future (Luigi De Laurentiis) for a feature debut. President of the official competition jury is Bong Joon Ho for the official competition (South Korea).

Jane Campion will debut her latest film The Power of the Dog and her first completed feature film in 12 years. The film is set in Montana in the 1920's and stars Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Benedict Cumberbatch. "The Power of the Dog" is an adaptation from a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Dunst plays a widow who moves to Montana with her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to be with her husband George (Jesse Plemons) on his family ranch. His brother (Cumberbatch) is not happy with his new in-laws. The film was meant to debut at Cannes but the festival has a policy to only screen films that will debut in theatres in France so Venice is its launching pad.

Also competing for the Golden Lion is Spencer directed by Chilean director Pablo Larraine starring Kristen Stewart as Lady Diana Spencer, and Jack Farthing as Charles. The film is about their marital problems and bitter divorce. Spencer will receive wide release November 5 and is highly anticipated, and Stewart said she worked hard on researching the life of Diana for her role. Larraine made the critically acclaimed 2016 biopic Jackie of Jacqueline Onassis starring Natalie Portman which also debuted at Venice.

The Lost Daughter is also competing for the Golden Lion, the directorial debut of actor Maggie Gyllenhaal. The film is adapted from Elena Ferrante 2006 novel and stars Olivia Colman, Peter Sarsgaard and Dakota Fanning about a college professor whose childhood trauma is unlocked when she meets a younger mother and daughter on a beach.

Halloween Kills, the 12th film in the franchise will debut at Venice starring Jamie Lee Curtis who is being awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion this year. Also awarded a lifetime achievement Golden Lion is Italian actor Robert Benigni.

This is a year of debut films at festivals concerning Ingmar Bergman. Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac star in a screening of HBO TV series Scenes from a Marriage, a remake of the Ingmar Bergman miniseries from 1973. Bergman Island that debuted at Cannes directed by Mia Hansen Love is about two screenwriters that stay in the summer residence of Ingmar Berman, in of the rooms where Scenes From a Marriage was filmed.

© 2021 - Moira Jean Sullivan - Air Date: 09/01/21
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