Venice Film Festival 2021

July 28th, 2021
Author: Meredith Taylor

Venice has upped its game programme wise in recent years and now looks to challenge Cannes with its glittering line-up. The 78th edition opens on September 1st with mainstream film as well as arthouse fare including the hotly anticipated Princess Diana drama Spencer starring Kristen Stewart and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune. Star power is boosted by Adam Driver, Matt Damon, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Olivia Colman and Jamie Leigh Curtis

This year’s jury is headed by Oscar-winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite) presiding over Oscar winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland), French actress Virginie Efira (Benedetta), Italian director Saverio Costanzo (Hungry Hearts), Canadian actress and producer Sarah Gadon (Enemy), Romanian documentary maker Alexander Nanau (Collective), and British actress and singer-songwriter Cynthia Erivo (Widows).

Other major movies picking Venice for their world debut include David Gordon Green’s latest horror outing Halloween Kills starring Jamie Lee Curtis; Ridley Scott’s period drama The Last Duel starring Adam Driver, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer; and Edgar Wright’s hotly anticipated Last Night in Soho with Anya Taylor-Joy. All three will screen out of competition.

In the running for the 2021 Golden Lion for best film are Jane Campion’s star-studded literary adaptation The Power of the Dog featuring Kirsten Dunst and Benedict Cumberbatch, Ana Lily Amirpour’s latest Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal, whose directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, starring Oscar winner Olivia Colman, will also premiere in competition at the 78th Venice Festival.

Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco is back in the main competition after his New Order won the Silver Lion Grand Jury prize in Venice last year, Sundown, an English-language features sees him working again with Tim Roth, and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Paul Schrader will be there with The Card Counter, starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish and Willem Dafoe.

Venice 2021 has proved of late to be somewhat of a springboard for the Academy Awards. But Italian cinema has also garnered kudos from the ‘La Mostra’ which features this year no less that five Italian titles in competition, including America Latina from brothers Damiano and Fabio d’Innocenzo, Il Buco from director Michelangelo Frammartino, Freaks Out from Gabriele Mainetti, and Mario Martone’s Qui Rido Io.

Oscar winner Paolo Sorrentino will also be on the lido with his latest The Hand of God,a rites of passage football themed drama set in Naples during the 1980s where Diego Maradona joined the city’s team.

The closing film on September 11th will also be Italian — Roberto Ando’s Il Bambino Nascoto

Other buzz worthy titles include Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song from director Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine. TV wise there’s Scenes From a Marriage starring Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac reunited after A Most Violent Year (2014) an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s celebrated classic 1973 feature.

The Horizons section this year features a lot of new directors. Most notable here is British director Harry Wootliff whose premiere True Things, has a glittering cast of Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke, and Matt Dillon starring Land of Dreams from Iranian director Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari, starring Matt Dillon. The sidebar closes with Rhino from the contraversal Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov. As if there wasn’t enough films the Horizons now includes an ‘Extra Section’ that explore new avenues in world cinema, ie ‘experimental’ fare.

Last year Venice successfully managed to be the first major international festival to hold an in-person edition since the pandemic broke in the February. The 2021 festival acknowledges that coronavirus is still rampant in Europe with the variants taking hold.

The full lineup of the 2021 Venice Film Festival is below.


Madres Paralelas, dir: Pedro Almodóvar
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, dir: Ana Lily Amirpour
Un Autre Monde, dir: Stéphane Brizé
The Power of the Dog, dir: Jane Campion
America Latina, dirs: Damiano D’Innocenzo, Fabio D’Innocenzo
L’Evénement, dir: Audrey Diwan
Competencia Oficial, dirs: Gaston Duprat, Mariano Cohn
Il Buco, dir: Michelangelo Frammartino
Sundown, dir: Michel Franco
Illusions Perdues, dir: Xavier Giannoli
The Lost Daughter, dir: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Spencer, dir: Pablo Larraín
Freaks Out, dir: Gabriele Mainetti
Qui Rido Io, dir: Mario Martone
On the Job: The Missing 8, dir: Erik Matti
Leave No Traces, dir: Jan P Matuszynski
Captain Volkonogov Escaped, dirs: Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov
The Card Counter, dir: Paul Schrader
The Hand Of God, dir: Paolo Sorrentino
La Caja, dir: Lorenzo Vigas
Reflection, dir: Valentyn Vasyanovych


Il Bambino Nascosto, dir: Roberto Ando
Les Choses Humaines, dir: Yvan Attal
Ariaferma, dir: Leonardo Di Costanzo
Halloween Kills, dir: David Gordon Green
La Scuola Cattolica, dir: Stefano Mordini
Old Henry, dir: Potsy Ponciroli
The Last Duel, dir: Ridley Scott
Dune, dir: Denis Villeneuve
Last Night In Soho, dir: Edgar Wright


Life of Crime 1984-2020, dir: Jon Alpert
Tranchées, dir: Loup Bureau
Viaggio Nel Crepuscolo, dir: Augusto Contento
Republic of Silence, dir: Diana El Jeiroudi
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song, dirs: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine
Deandré#Deandré Storio Di Un Impiegato, dir: Roberta Lena
Django & Django, dir: Luca Rea
Ezio Bosso. Le Cose Che Restano, dir: Giorgio Verdelli


Le 7 Giornate Di Bergamo, dir: Simona Ventura
La Biennale Di Venezia: Il Cinema Al Tempo Del Covid, dir: Andrea Segre


Scenes From a Marriage (Episodes 1-5), dir: Hagai Levi


Land of Dreams, dirs: Shirin Neshat, Shoja Azari
Costa Brava, dir: Mounia Akl
Mama I’m Home, dir: Vladimir Bitokov
Ma Nuit, dir: Antoinette Boulat
La Ragazza Ha Volato, dir: Wilma Labate
7 Prisoners, dir: Alexandre Moratto
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic, dir: Teemu Nikki
La Macchina Delle Immagini Di Alfredo C, dir: Roland Sejk


Les Promesses, dir: Thomas Kruithof
Atlantide, dir: Yuri Ancarani
Miracle, dir: Bogdan George Apetri
Pilgrims, dir: Laurynas Bareisa
Il Paradiso Del Pavone, dir: Laura Bispuri
The Falls, dir: Chung Mong-Hong
El Hoyo En La Cerca, dir: Joaquin Del Paso
Amira, dir: Mohamed Diab
A Plein Temps, dir: Eric Gravel
107 Mothers, dir: Peter Kerekes
Vera Dreams of the Sea, dir: Kaltrina Krasniqi
White Building, dir: Kavich Neang
Anatomy of Time, dir: Jakrawal Nilthamrong
El Otro Tom, dirs: Rodrigo Pla, Laura Santullo
El Gran Movimento, dir: Kiro Russo
Once Upon a Time in Calcutta, dir: Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Rhino, dir: Oleg Sentsov
True Things, dir: Harry Wootliff
Inu-Oh, dir: Yuasa Masaaki


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