The full lineup for the 2021 Venice Film Festival was announced earlier this week.
The 78th annual festival will see the premieres of many films from big names in the industry, including Edgar Wright and Ridley Scott.
The festival’s President Roberto Cicutto and artistic director Alberto Barbera announced the lineup, which showcases films from over 59 countries. It will run from 1-11 September, opening with Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers.
“We were surprised that the average quality of the movies was higher than usual. It’s as though the pandemic has stimulated creativity. For this reason, I feel I can be optimistic about the state of the health of cinema in general,” Barbera said during the announcement.
The competition category features 21 films this year. These include Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter, Pablo Larraín’s biopic Spencer (starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana), actor Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter and Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon.
Director Bong Joon Ho, whose 2019 film Parasite won Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, is to preside over the competition jury this year. The panel also includes Chloé Zhao—who directed later Best Picture winner Nomadland, as well as upcoming Marvel film The Eternals—Cynthia Erivo, Virginie Efira, Sarah Gadon, Saverio Costanzo, and Alexander Nanau.
The festival has taken a small step backward in women’s representation this year, with projects directed by women forming 26% of the line-up. Barbera insisted that this was an anomaly rather than a trend, saying that “It might seem like a step backwards but it’s just a partial point of view. Female directed-work represented 28% of the total last year […] So it’s just a slowdown”.
Highly anticipated premieres also fill the out-of-competition categories, of which there are four: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Special Screenings, and Series. These will include Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi blockbuster Dune, Scott’s medieval epic The Last Duel, and Wright’s psychological horror Last Night in Soho.
The lineup will also feature a new category, Horizons Extra, which acts as an extension of the festival’s Horizons sidebar.
Additionally, the Venice Film Festival’s organisers announced several features from its upcoming virtual reality sidebar, an exclusive experience that will feature 37 projects from 21 countries. The showcase began in 2016, and was the first time that a film festival had ever represented virtual reality as an art form.
Words by Amelia Hansford
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