Five Italian films compete at the 79th Venice Film Festival which opens Tuesday and runs until Sept. 10, with the participation of great international names and some interesting debuts.
“Festivals are not a bubble closed off to contemporary reality,” artistic director Alberto Barbera said last month unveiling the program of the new edition, which this year includes initiatives in support of Ukraine and filmmakers persecuted around the world.
The annual film festival – the only major international event that did not cancel its physical edition due to the coronavirus pandemic – has also removed after two years the barriers it set up to shield its world-famous catwalk from the crowd of excited fans, ready to welcome again a flurry of celebrities.
Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise kicks off the festival’s competition, starring Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, and marking Baumbach’s return to Venice after 2019's Marriage Story.
Twenty-three films are vying for the top prize, the Golden Lion, which will be assigned by a jury led by US actress Julianne Moore at the festival’s close.
Five Italian titles are running in the competition, including Lord of the Ants, by Gianni Amelio, a movie about the controversial Braibanti case which sparked a controversy in Italy in the 60s, with the conviction of an intellectual for plagiarism.
Italian filmmaker Emanuele Crialese also returns to the festival with L’immensità, a story about motherhood starring Penelope Cruz. Internationally-acclaimed Italian director Luca Guadagnino presents his Bones and All, a portrait of the victims of the American dream, shot in the US with his favorite star Timothee Chalamet.
The other two Italian movies in competition are Monica, by Andrea Pallaoro, starring trans actress Trace Lysette, and Chiara by Susanna Nicchiarelli, which shines a light on the story of Santa Chiara.
Among the highly-anticipated titles, Ana de Armas debuts as Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s Blonde ; Brendan Fraser stars in Darren Aronofsky’s new film The Whale, while Cate Blanchett plays an orchestra conductor in Tár, by director Todd Field.
The only debut in competition is Saint Omer, directed by Alice Diop, who comes from the world of documentaries.
As part of the initiatives dedicated to Ukraine, a Ukrainian Day will be held on Sept. 8 to show solidarity with the war-torn country and support its artists, with special focus on the condition of the film industry.