Bold Stories And Frances McDormand Could Make Up For Poorly Diversified Venice Film Festival Lineup | Film News


One day away from one of the world’s most prestigious film festival, the 74th edition of the Venice film festival will take place from Wednesday August 30 to September 9. Known for driving its films onto the Oscar race every single year, Venice has premiered major winners such as Gravity, Birdman, Spotlight, Hacksaw Ridge and La La Land.


The year’s lineup is no less impressive and will showcase work from directors Darren Aronofsky, Martin McDonagh, George Clooney, the Cohen brothers and Guillermo Del Toro.


Without questioning the creative talent represented, this year’s festival seriously lacks diversity. Only one women filmmaker has been included in the official competition. Chinese filmmaker, Vivian Qd will lead the way with Angels Wear White, a dark feminist tale.


Set in a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are assaulted by a man in a motel. While Mia, the teenage only witness says nothing, fearing for her safety, one of the victim, Wen, finds that it is only the beginning of her troubles. In a world that offers them no safety, both Mia and Wen will have to find their own way out.



Out of competition, the festival will showcase the directorial debut of Rodarte‘s fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, Woodschock. Starring Kirsten Dunst, the film follows Theresa as she falls deeper into paranoia after taking a deadly drug. The sisters are no stranger to the magical world of films and were already credited for the beautiful ballet costumes of Black Swan back in 2010.


Four female directors will be represented in the Horizon section of the festival. French filmmaker of Adore and Chloe, Anne Fontaine will present her newest feature, Marvin following a young man running away from his home to become an actor.


Loving producer, Nancy Buirski‘s documentary The Rape Of Recy Taylor explores sexual violence in the Jim Crow South as courageous black woman fight to protect their bodies and dignity. 1944 gang raped victim, Recy Taylor speaks up, powering the coming Civil Rights Movement. Actress Cynthia Erivo will portray Rosa Parks.


The section will open with Susanna Nicchiarelli‘s biopic, Nico 1988, on the late German Velvet Underground singer. The film takes the form of a road movie set in Paris, Prague, Nuremberg, Manchester, the Polish country side and the Roman seaside and follows Nico, 48, getting off drugs and starting a soloist tour throughout Europe.


Out of competition, the works of filmmakers Antonietta De Lillo, Lucretia Martel and Sofia Djama will also be presented.


Fortunately, the festival’s jury slightly makes up for the poorly diversified official selection. American actress, Annette Bening will preside the jury, making her the first female to hold the post since 2006.


The jury will also include Baby Driver director, Edgar Wright, British actress Rebecca Hall; Hungarian filmmaker Ildiko Enyedi; Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco, French actress Anna Mouglalis; film critic David Stratton; Italian actress Jasmine Trinca; and Taiwan-born filmmaker Yonfan.


As previously announced, the festival will open with Payne’s Downsizing, starring Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig.


Darren Aronofsky‘s much awaited horror Mother will premiere. With a stellar cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris, the film follows a couple whose relationship is tested as uninvited guests arrive at their home.


Aronofsky made sure very little about the film was shared with the press before its release. He did admit that most people will not be able to look at him after seeing the film, it is “a very intense ride”.


The festival will also show extended footage of Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape Of Water, staring Sally Hawkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins.


It is the first time Del Toro competes in Venice and festival chief, Alberto Barbera has referred to the film as the director’s best film in a decade and is a much awaited return to Pan’s Labyrinth territory.


The official competition will also welcome British filmmaker for the first time, Martin McDonagh with the dark comic drama, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starring Frances McDormand as a mother determined to make the police find her daughter’s killer.



As in Cannes, Netflix will make an appearance on the Lido with Ritesh Batra’s Our Souls At Night. The film will screen out of competition and stars Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. The story follows a widow and widower who have lived next to each other for years without having any kind of relationship until one of them tries to make a connection. Both leads are also set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Golden Lion.


With women having directed 6 of the highest grossing indie films of 2017 (Detroit, The Beguiled, The Zookeeper’s Wife), it is truly unfortunate that such prestigious festival has chosen to showcase so little of them this year.


Fortunately they do pick the slacks and the stories they chose to tell look vibrant, intense, bold and definitely not to be missed. Even McDonagh‘s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could shine the light on talented women with McDormand‘s performance already eyed for the Oscar race.



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