• Festivals

79th Venice Film Festival Unveils Lineup

There is something special about the Venice Film Festival, something that makes it unique and different, and it is not just its beautiful location. Venice, now in its 80th year – just like the Golden Globes – has always made it a point to celebrate and discover incredible talent. This year’s lineup is no exception.

The timing in the calendar year has allowed the Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica (as the festival is called in its native country) a complete absence of the business side that often dominates Berlin and Cannes. Venice highlights artistry above all, thus making it the true kickstarter for awards season. Here are the highlights of what we can expect to see on the Lido between August 31 and September 10.

Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, an adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel and reuniting him with his lead actor Adam Driver, will open the festival. In the film, Driver is a renowned professor of Hitler studies at a U.S. liberal arts college and Greta Gerwig plays his wife.


Also vying for a Golden Lion and surely garnering attention is Andrew Dominik’s Blonde starring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in this dark look at the icon’s life which was shot in 2019 and delayed because of Covid.


Todd Field is back with Tár, his first film in Venice in 15 years. Its lead, Cate Blanchett, who served as jury president two years ago during the pandemic, will undoubtedly add star power to the Lungomare. Alejandro González Iñárritu is bringing a comedy, Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths),  a sort of return for him in this genre, a fact that is already creating a buzz. Florian Zeller (director of The Father which won Anthony Hopkins a Golden Globe nomination) will show – the adequately titled companion piece – The Son. Laura Dern acts opposite Hugh Jackman. In an actor/director reunion, Luca Guadagnino is back with Timothée Chalamet for Bones and All. And speaking of reunions, Colin Farrell stars in his favorite director Martin McDonagh’s latest, The Banshees of Inisherin.


Brendan Fraser is unrecognizable as a 600-pound grieving man in the aptly titled The Whale by Darren Aronofsky, a Venice veteran. Joanna Hogg is making the transition from Sundance to Venice with The Eternal Daughter, while her leading lady Tilda Swinton is, of course, a regular on the Lido, having attended numerous times and in various roles, as star and judge and special award recipient.


We also cannot wait to see the documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed by Laura Poitras about photographer Nan Goldin’s battle against the notorious big-pharma Sackler family.

Out of 23 competition films, Poitras is one of the five female directors, alongside Alice Diop (Saint Omer), Susanna Nicchiarelli (Chiara), Rebecca Zlotowski (Other People’s Children), and the aforementioned Joanna Hogg. The same number – five – are the Italian productions, including Il Signore delle Formiche by Gianni Amelio, L’Immensità by Emanuele Crialese and Monica by Andrea Pallaoro.

Koji Fukadas Love Life, Romain Gavras’ Athena, Vahid Jalilvand’s Beyond the Wall, Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 and Jafar Panahi’s No Bears round out the films being screened for Golden Lion consideration.


Not in competition but highly anticipated is Paul Schrader’s new thriller Master Gardener, with Sigourney Weaver and Joel Edgerton. Schrader will also be the recipient of this year’s Golden Lion lifetime award. Other non-competitors include When the Waves Are Gone by previous winner Lav Diaz, Dead for a Dollar by veteran filmmaker Walter Hill, Oliver Hermanus’ Living, Kim Ki-duk’s Call of God, Bill Pohlad’s Dreamin’ Wild, Paolo Virzi’s Siccita and Ti West’s Pearl. The Hanging Sun by Francesco Carrozzini is scheduled to close the festival.


And expect screaming fans crowding the Excelsior Hotel landing dock when Harry Styles disembarks to promote Don’t Worry Darling directed by Olivia Wilde, who is once again proving herself as talented behind the camera as she is in front of it.


Julianne Moore will serve as the president of this year’s Venice jury. She will be joined by Mariano Cohn, Leonardo di Costanzo, Audrey Diwan, Leila Hatami, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Rodrigo Sorogoyen.