Venice buzz: will male directors dominate the competition again?

Screen | 7/16/2019 | Jeremy Kay
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Word of mouth is building around the titles close to securing a competition slot at the Venice Film Festival next month. The buzz is dominated by films by male directors, with films by female directors looking to be heading for the sidebars. But the announcement is not due until July 25 and there is still time for this to change.

The festival was criticised for only selecting one film by a female director in competition for 2018, Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale. Lucretia Martel has been appointed jury president this year, only the seventh woman to head the Venice jury in its history.

Firm - Favourites - Include - James - Gray

At present, firm favourites in the running include James Gray’s sci-fi Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt, Roman Polanski’s French-language An Officer And A Spy, based on the 1895 Dreyfus Affair, John Crowley’s Donna Tartt adaptation The Goldfinch starring Nicole Kidman, and Noah Baumbach’s untitled comedy drama about a divorcing couple starring Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern. Netflix has worldwide rights to the latter on which the word is it is one of Baumbach’s best.

Warner Bros is releasing The Goldfinch in the US on September 13 and Disney has set a September 20 release date for Ad Astra, a Fox import, so autumn festival berths seems assured.

Officer - A - Spy - Emmanuelle - Seignier

An Officer And A Spy stars Emmanuelle Seignier and Jean Dujardin and is based on the novel by Robert Harris who has also written the screenplay. Playtime is handling international rights to the Franco-Italian collaboration to which Rai Cinema has Italian rights.

Baumbach’s untitled film is one of a handful of prestige US films from Netflix that could be heading to Venice. Two in particular seem most likely: Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers drama The Laundromat with Gary Oldman and Meryl Streep, and Fernando Meirelles’ The Pope, which stars Jonathan Pryce as Pope Francis...
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