• Festivals

Line-Up for Venice Film Festival 2022

The 79th Venice Film Festival (more exactly “Mostra dell’Arte Cinematografica” in Italian) will open in the splendid setting of Venice, organized by the Venice Biennale and once again directed by Alberto Barbera. The legendary festival will take place on the Lido of Venice from August 31 to September 10, 2022.

“The festival intends to promote the knowledge and dissemination of international cinema in all its forms of art, entertainment and industry, in a spirit of freedom and dialogue,” states its official announcement. The Venice Film Festival has always been a magnet for pure art, an event in search of authentic talents (without ever forgetting a pinch of the inevitable glamour). Exploration and discovery have traditionally prevailed over trade and market, unlike in other prestigious European festivals such as Cannes or Berlin. The festival will present retrospectives and tributes to prominent personalities, as a contribution to a better knowledge of the history of cinema.

Twenty-three feature films will be in competition this year, including five Italian and five American, and a myriad of others scattered through the different sections of Venezia 79, an event that promises to be full of interesting themes, films, authors, stars.

Director Gianni Amelio is back in competition with Il Signore delle formiche [The Lord of the Ants], a drama about the Braibanti case (an accusation of plagiarism that scapegoated the diverse in society), starring  Giorgio Lo Cascio and Elio Germano, while Susanna Nicchiarelli will showcase  La vita di Chiara [Chiara’s Life], with  Margherita Mazzucco, telling the life of St. Clare of Assisi, no longer leaving her just a background figure in the story of Saint Francis.

Luca Guadagnino (the director of the hugely successful Call Me by Your Name, which was not coincidentally also launched in Venice) is back with Bones and All, a film set in the USA and written in the English language, about cannibalistic group of  teenagers in the Midwest. Italian Andrea Pallaoro – who works mainly in the US – will compete with Monica, also shot in English (it is a USA/Italy co-production), a portrait of a woman caring for her terminal mother, with transgender actor Trace Lysette and Patricia Clarkson. Emanuele Crialese will show L’immensità  (an Italy/France co-production), starring Penélope Cruz.


Prominent among the Americans will be Darren Aronofsky with his new film The Whale, starring Brendan Fraser, as will Noah Baumbach with his Venice opener White Noise, with Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Don Cheadle among the many of the ensemble cast. Andrew Dominik will show Blonde, with Ana De Armas portraying Marilyn Monroe, and Todd Field will show Tar, starring Cate Blanchett.

Worth noting is the entry of the highly anticipated new film by Mexican Alejandro González Inárritu (Birdman, The Revenant), Bardo, Falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades [Bardo, False Chronicles of Many Truths], a Mexican production filmed in Spanish, marking a return to his homeland for the Oscar-winning director.


Also in competition is Laura Poitras’ documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, about the epidemic of opioids in America and the downfall of a pharmaceutical dynasty, the Slacker family. To round up the competition there are films from Argentina (Argentina, 1985), Iran (Bears Don’t Exist by Jafar Panahi, and Beyond the Wall by Jenny Phillips and Bestor Cram), France (Saint Omer, by Alice Diop, Athena by Romain Gavras, and The Children of Others by Rebecca Zlotowski), Japan (Love Life by Kōji Fukada), and the United Kingdom (Florian Zeller‘s The Son, the second in his trilogy of plays that also includes to The Father and The Mother).

Finally, the festival will show Oliver Stone’s much-awaited documentary on nuclear energy, simply titled Nuclear. Stone will attend the second half of the festival.


These and others will compete for the Leone d’Oro award and other prizes for actors, directors and screenwriters. The jury this year will be headed by American actress Julianne Moore (who has often attended Venice during her career as an actress). Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement will be awarded to American screenwriter and director Paul Schrader and French actress Catherine Deneuve.

As already mentioned, Venice 79 will showcase countless films in many other out-of-competition categories, such as “Orizzonti”, an international competition dedicated to films representing new aesthetic and expressive trends, or “Immersive Venice,” projects in Virtual Reality having their world premiere, with 360 videos and linear or interactive 3DOF and 6DOF works. Then there’s “Venezia Classici”, a selection of the best restorations of classic films, “Orizzonti Extra” (works characterized by intentions of innovation and creative originality) and workshops such as “Biennale College Cinema” (research and experimentation for the development and production of feature films).

With his typical frankness, the festival’s director Alberto Barbera has expressed his enthusiasm for the event (as expected) and at the same time some more complicated feelings. “This year’s lineup is made up of lights and shadows,” Barbera told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. “The films selected are in some cases excellent. But the number of productions this year is exorbitant compared to our market and the absorption capacity of the platforms. 250 titles are maybe too many.” Then he lobbed a hand grenade, which we hope will remain unexploded: “There is a risk of a bubble destined to burst at the crucial moment of confrontation with the public.”

Then, addressing the hot current issues in the world, Barbera added, “We will dedicate a day to Ukraine, with three films from this country at war. We’ll give full support to the three Iranian directors who were arrested in their country [Panahi, Rasoulof, Al-Ahmad]. But the selection of Jafar Panahi’s film [Bears Don’t Exist] is not a political gesture on our part: his arrest came after we selected his film, which we chose on virtue of its quality. I’d also like to remember the Turkish producer Çigdem Mater, who was arrested for making a documentary about Gezi Park. We are witnessing an alarming resurgence of attacks on freedom of expression. Either in an explicit way, as in Iran and Turkey, or in a more subtle and sneaky way: in fact, little is said about censorship in China, which aggressively prevents authors from addressing issues that the government party doesn’t like. Unfortunately, this happens in many countries. We would like to talk about it at the festival through some effective initiatives.”