The Venice Film Festival 2021, which will be held between September 1 and 11, will host the presentation of the new films of Pedro Almodóvar, Jane Campion, Paolo Sorrentino, Denis Villeneuve, Paul Schrader, Pablo Larraín, the pair formed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat, Ridley Scott, Michel Franco, Ana Lily Amirpour and Edgar Wright, among others.
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1 The Spanish representation
As previously announced, the 78th Venice Film Festival will open with the world premiere of ‘Parallel Mothers’, the new film by Pedro Almodóvar, which will compete for the Golden Lion 33 years after the La Mancha filmmaker did it with’ Mujeres on the verge of a nervous breakdown. ‘ Beyond the blinding presence of Almodóvar, other outstanding Spanish productions will also be seen in Venice. During the Critics’ Week, ‘Eles Transportan a Morte’ will be premiered, a debut by Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado, presented as a classic adventure story with a critical discourse on colonization. And in the competitive Official Section the highly anticipated ‘Official Competition’ by Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn (authors of ‘The Illustrious Citizen’) will be seen, which proposes a satire of the cinematographic universe by Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez . Finally, in the Orrizonti Extra section, the film ‘Costa Brava’ will be presented by the young Lebanese filmmaker Mounia Akl, which has the Catalan Clara Roquet (director of ‘La libertad’) as co-writer.
2 Hollywood lands in Venice
After the resignation of the great American studios to show their most anticipated works at the last Cannes Film Festival, Venice is presented as a brand new showcase for great productions. To the already announced presence of the highly anticipated ‘Dune’ by Denis Villeneuve (Warner Bros), we must add titles such as ‘The Last Duel’ by Ridley Scott, with Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck (produced by Disney); Halloween Kills, the new installment in the ‘Halloween’ saga directed by David Gordon Green and starring Jamie Lee Curtis (Universal Pictures) and the psychological horror film ‘Last Night in Soho’ by Edgar Wright, with Anya Taylor-Joy ( also from Universal Pictures).
3 The authors
Like any great festival worth its salt, the Venice Film Festival (the oldest film competition in the world) will present an impressive roster of great authors. On the European side, Almodóvar will be escorted by figures such as the Italian Paolo Sorrentino (‘È stata la mano di dio’) and the French Stephane Brizé (‘Un autre monde’) and Xavier Giannoli (‘Illusions Perdues’). Also noteworthy are the presence of the North American Paul Schrader (‘The Card Counter’), the Mexican Michel Franco (‘Sundown’) and the Chilean Pablo Larráin (‘Spencer’).
4 The authors
The announcement of the Venice 2021 programming has brought us the bad news of a reduction in the female presence in directing films in the competitive Official Selection. Compared to the eight directors of last year, in this edition there are only five. The most prominent presence is that of the New Zealander Jane Campion, who will show in the Official Section in competition the Netflix production ‘The Power of the Dog’ with Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristen Dunst and Jesse Plemmons (Sorrentino’s film is also produced by Netflix ). Later, the British American Ana Lily Amirpour (‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon’), the American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (who makes her directing debut with ‘The Lost Daughter’), the French Audrey will also compete for the Golden Lion. Diwan (‘L`événement’) and the Russian Natasha Merkulova, who together with Aleksey Chupov directs ‘Captain Volkonogov Escaped’.
5 The stars
The Mostra will offer this year an impressive parade of Hollywood stars. To the aforementioned Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Ben Affleck, Anya Taylor-Joy and Benedict Cumberbatch, we must add the figures of Timothée Chalamet (‘Dune’) and Kristen Stewart, who will play Diana of Wales in Larraín’s ‘Spencer’ . Separate comment deserves the figure of Oscar Isaac, who will present three films in Venice: ‘Dune’, ‘The Card Counter’ (in which he will share the bill with Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe) and the HBO series ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ ( where he will recreate the famous marriage melodrama by Ingmar Bergman with Jessica Chastain). The Italian Toni Servillo, who will be seen in the films of Sorrentino and Mario Martone (‘Qui rido io’), will also have a multiple role. Other prominent names will be those of Tim Roth, Olivia Coleman, Kate Hudson, Tim Blake Nelson or Dakota Johnson, to which must be added the brand-new Spanish presences of Penélope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Javier Bardem, who plays the character of Stilgar in ‘ Dune ‘.
6 The Latin American presence
After the virtual absence of Latin American cinema in the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, Venice offers a wide representation from Central American countries and the Southern Cone. To the aforementioned ‘Official Competition’ by the Argentines Cohn and Duprat, ‘Sundown’ by the Mexican Franco and ‘Spencer’ by the Chilean Larraín, we must add, in the official competition, the new film by Venezuelan Lorenzo Vigas, which will present ‘La box ‘after winning the Golden Lion with’ From there ‘. For its part, in the Orizzonti section, the new feature films by Uruguayan Rodrigo Pla and Laura Santullo (‘The Other Tom’), Bolivian Kiro Russo (‘The Great Movement’) and Mexican Joaquín del Paso (‘El Paso hole in the fence ‘).
In the field of more radical cinema, it is worth highlighting the presence, in the official competition, of the Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Frammartino, who burst onto the international scene in 2010 with the extraordinary ‘Le Quattro Volte’, a poetic approach to the cycles of life from the perspective of semi-rural Italy. Now, more than a decade later, Venice will host the presentation of Frammartino’s new feature film: ‘Il buco’. The new short films by the Romanian Radu Jude, ‘Plastic Semiotic’, and the Taiwanese Tsai Ming-liang, ‘The Night’, will also be seen at the Mostra, while the Orizzonti section will present ‘Atlantide’, a hybrid of documentary and fiction Directed by Italian Yuri Ancarani, who caused a sensation at the 2016 Locarno Film Festival with his previous film, ‘The Challenge’, a detached yet incisive dissection of the opulent ways of life of the upper classes in Qatar.
8 The Mostra and the pandemic
With the Delta variant of the coronavirus hitting all of Europe hard, and with faith placed in the global vaccination process, the 2021 Mostra appears haunted by a certain uncertainty regarding its logistics. As the event organizers have announced, this year Venice will maintain the seat reservation system that was launched last year, although the mystery remains regarding the possible reduction in capacity that was fulfilled last year (but that, for example, it was not carried out at the last Cannes Film Festival). The evolution of the pandemic in the coming weeks will be decisive for the final configuration of an event as massive as the Mostra.
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