The good news maybe first. At the top of the program for the 79th Venice Film Festival is a film title that has already had the same annoyed eye rolls in industry circles as the summer transfer circus surrounding Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich.
The very free Marilyn Monroe biopic “Blonde” by Australian director Andrew Dominik, with the Cuban actress Ana de Armas in the title role, who is also doing well as an action actress, will celebrate its world premiere at the Lido after endless legal disputes.
The bestseller adaptation leads the Netflix field of participants, which also includes Noah Baumbach’s film adaptation of the Don De Lillo classic “White Noise” with Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig and Lars Eidinger for the opening on August 31, as well as works by Alejandro G. Iñárritu – the Mexican production “Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” – and Romain Gavras.
Festival director Alberto Barbera, whose contract expires in 2024, was unable to repeat a coup like last year’s blockbuster “Dune”. Nevertheless, the competition shows that Venice can not only keep up with Cannes in terms of star power, but also remains competitive as a showcase for art house cinema.
With Luca Guadagnino (again with Timothée Chalamet), Olivia Wilde (with Florence Pugh and Harry Styles), Joanna Hogg, “Three Billboards” director Martin McDonagh and the French director Rebecca Zlotowski, directors are represented at the Lido, on their films the industry is eagerly awaiting.
Special attention is being paid to the new film by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who was arrested ten days ago and has made a production in his home country without a filming permit for the fifth time – and, as many fear, this will probably be the last time for a long time. Barbera calls “No Bears” Panahi’s most unusual film since he had to shoot under tightened restrictions.
It will also be a good opportunity for the festival to position itself politically. Another Iranian entry in the competition is “Beyond the Wall” by Vahid Jalilvand. In the sideline “Orizzonti” the Ukrainian director Antonio Lukich will also present his second film, “Luxembourg Luxembourg”.
On the other hand, one has to wait longer for “She Said”, Maria Schrader’s film adaptation of Harvey Weinstein’s research, which many were already expecting in Venice. The German industry is only represented at the Lido with Alex Schaad’s science fiction love story “Aus meine Haut” (with Mala Emde and Jonas Dassler), in the “Critic’s Week” series.