Venice becomes first major film festival to return after coronavirus lockdown | Movie


Helen Mirren, Shia LaBeouf and Greta Thunberg are among the big names expected to be on display at the 2020 Venice Film Festival, as it prepares to be the first major festival to host a physical event in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic . Inevitably, the lineup has a thinned out feel, with many films delayed or held up, meaning there isn’t much to do with Venice’s traditional dose of Hollywood glamor.Festival director Alberto Barbera announced the main title list on Tuesday, which included films by Alex Gibney, Chloe Zhao and Luca Guadagnino. Zhao’s film Nomadland is arguably the most popular: Following her indie hit The Rider, Zhao adapted Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction about older Americans forced into the road by the economic crisis, Frances McDormand acting as a producer and taking the lead role. In a sign of the pressure on film festivals, Nomadland will simultaneously premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, and will subsequently fill the prestigious Centerpiece screening at the New York Film Festival.

While the US studio’s product is slim in the field, a slew of international writers have had their films selected, including Russian veteran Andrei Konchalovsky, Israeli filmmaker Amos Gitai and former Golden Lion winner Gianfranco Rosi. Guadagnino, director of Call Me By Your Name, will present Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, a documentary about Salvatore Ferragamo, the founder of the famous shoe brand, and Gibney’s film is Crazy, Not Insane, a profile of Dorothy Otnow Lewis, a pioneering forensic psychiatrist and serial killer investigator. Thunberg is the subject of another documentary, Greta, directed by Nathan Grossman.

Australian actor Cate Blanchett has been named chairman of the competition jury. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

The British contribution is led by The Duke, directed by Roger Michell of Notting Hill, which stars Jim Broadbent and Mirren in a story inspired by the actual theft of the Duke of Wellington’s portrait by Goya from the National Gallery in London in 1961. Nowhere Special, which stars James Norton as window cleaner in Belfast and is directed by The Full Monty producer Uberto Pasolini, was shortlisted for the Orizzonti section, while Final Account, a documentary being created by A decade of collecting testimonies from Holocaust writers is screened out of competition after the death of its director Luke Holland.

The festival is expected to continue with a reduced number of delegates and social distancing protocols in place, as well as more screenings in outdoor venues. The associated film market will be put online, as will the festival’s ambitious virtual reality competition, which has been operating since 2017 on the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio in Venice.


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