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Things to know about the Venice Film Festival 2023

From the movies in competition to the stars expected on the red carpet

Things to know about the Venice Film Festival 2023 From the movies in competition to the stars expected on the red carpet

From Wednesday 30 August to Saturday 9 September, the world's oldest film festival returns with an edition, the 80th full of interesting films directed by great directors and featuring both new faces and many stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Emma Stone and Léa Seydoux. Despite possible cancellations and difficulties related to the strike by members of SAG-AFTRA, the US film and television actors' and radio artists' union, which has paralysed Hollywood since 13 July, the 2023 Venice International Film Festival promises not to disappoint cineastes thanks to a packed programme that brings the best of contemporary cinema to the lagoon with a balanced mix of auteur titles, interesting and experimental projects and established auteurs such as David Fincher and Wes Anderson.


Here are 5 things you should know about the Venice Film Festival 2023.


The schedule 

23 films are competing for the Golden Lion, including 7 American films, 6 Italian and 10 from the rest of the world. Add to that the out-of-competition titles and all the others scattered in different categories, addressing a wide variety of themes, formats, genres, directors and actors that will make this edition unique. It begins on 30 August with Pierfrancesco Favino directed by Edoardo De Angelis in Comandante and ends on 9 September with Juan Antonio Bayona's The Snow Company. In between, Saverio Costanzo with Finally Dawn, Matteo Garrone with Io capitano and the New Year's Eve 2000 party in a lavish Swiss castle in Roman Polanski's The Palace vie for the attention and favour of critics and viewers; The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, the highly anticipated short film inspired by Roald Dahl and directed by Wes Anderson; Harmony Korine directed by Travis Scott in Aggro Dr1ft; Michel Franco's Memory starring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard as two former schoolmates who reunite, intertwining past and present.


Most anticipated titles

Among the most anticipated films are The Killer, David Fincher's new noir starring Michael Fassbender as a lone assassin; Bradley Cooper's Maestro, dedicated to the life of conductor Leonard Bernstein and starring Carey Mulligan, Cooper himself, Matt Bomer and Maya Hawke; and Michael Mann's Ferrari, starring Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz and Shailene Woodley, which tells the story of former racing driver Enzo Ferrari, who tries his luck at the Mille Miglia in the summer of 1957 after the company he and his wife Laura founded has folded due to bankruptcy. There is also a lot of hype surrounding Priscilla, Sofia Coppola's latest, starring Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi as Priscilla and Elvis Presley. A lot of curiosity is also focused on Yorgos Lanthimos' sci-fi Poor Things, which already seems to smell like a masterpiece and is based on the novel of the same name by Alasdair Grey. In the film, Emma Stone plays a young woman who is brought back to life by scientist Godwin Baxter (Willem Dafoee) and then escapes with lawyer Duncan Wedderburn (Mark Ruffalo). The first images of the actress in a steampunk version are fabulous!



This year, Caterina Murino, the godmother of Venice 80, will preside over the opening night in the Sala Grande on Wednesday 30 August and the closing night on Saturday 9 September, when the official awards will be presented. Born in Cagliari in 1977, the actress made her debut in 2002 in Chilean writer Luis Sepulveda's first film, Nowhere, after studying at the Theatre Workshop of Francesca De Sapio's Film and Theatre School and several advertising campaigns. Since then, Murino has divided her time between France and Italy, between film and television projects. Her most famous role? That of the Bond girl alongside Daniel Craig in 2006's Casino Royale, but her latest work sees her working alongside Vincent Cassel and Rossy De Palma on the set of the film The Opera!


The stars

In a tweet on 9 August, the director of the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica, Alberto Barbera, announced the presence of "all directors except Bradley Cooper" at the Laguna. With the actors, it's too early to know." The reason for the absence of the actor, who is attending Venice 80 with his film Maestro, in which he is both director and leading actor, is solidarity with the strike by Sag Aftra actors and writers, which is likely to result in a less star-studded red carpet than previous editions. We should take comfort in the few names that have made their commitments, such as Adam Driver and Patrick Dempsey, who will be coming to the Lido to promote Ferrari; Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard, who are starring in Memory, directed by Michel Franco; Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi, who play Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola's latest film; Mad Mikkelsen, the star of Bastards, and Olga Kurylenko for the premiere of Of Blood and Money, directed by Xavier Giannoli. And the Italians? Stand by for Pierfrancesco FavinoToni ServilloPietro Castellitto, Benedetta Porcaroli,Alba Rohrwacher and Micaela Ramazzotti, who makes her Venice debut as director of Felicità.


The awards

The winners of this year's Venice Film Festival 2023 will be decided by a jury headed by Oscar-winner Damien Chazelle and including director Jane Campion and Italian director Gabriele Mainetti. Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement will be awarded to Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Italian director Liliana Cavani, known for her directorial work with a very young Charlotte Rampling in the iconic film The Night Porter. Cavani will also be in the lagoon to present her new film L'ordine del tempo, based on the book of the same name by Carlo Rovelli.