Antonioni, Godard and Spielberg Films to Headline Venice Film Fest Classics

The lineup of restored classics include Golden Lion winner ‘Red Desert.’

Venice Classics will include a wide range of restored classics this year including the 1964 Michelangelo Antonioni Golden Lion winner Red Desert starring Monica Vitti and Richard Harris. Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 (1976) starring Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu will make its big comeback, as will Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) starring Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut.

Italian director Giuseppe Piccioni (Not of This World, Light of My Eyes) will chair the jury, to award the Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film and Best Documentary on Cinema.

Other highlights of the lineup include Kenji Mizoguchi’s Silver Lion Winner Sansho the Bailiff (1954), Milos Forman’s Black Peter (1963), Jean-Luc Godard’s Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1967),and John Landis’ Into the Night (1985).

Venice Classics has been a popular sidebar of the international festival since 2012, presenting world premieres of the best recent film restorations. Its jury, in addition to the chairman, is composed of 26 Italian students of cinema history.

Alongside the restoration, Venice Classics also premieres a new selection of documentaries about cinema and filmmakers. The complete list of Venice Classics documentaries will be announced with the full Venice lineup on July 27.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9.


Wanderers of the Desert, Nacer Khemir

Batch ’81, Mike De Leon 

Black Peter,Miloš Forman 

A Story from Chikamatsu, Kenji Mizoguchi

Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Steven Spielberg 

Dainah la metises, Jean Grémillon

Zéro de conduite – rushes, Jean Vigo

Red Desert, Michelangelo Antonioni

Two or Three Things I Know About Her, Jean-Luc Godard

The Ape Woman,by Marco Ferreri

Come and See,Elem Klimov

Into the Night, John Landis 

Under the Olive Tree, Giuseppe De Santis

1900, Bernardo Bertolucci

Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, Yasujirō Ozu

The Third Lover, Claude Chabrol

The Old Dark House, James Whale 

The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Raoul Walsh 

Sansho the Bailiff, Kenji Mizoguchi



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Venice Film Festival to Honor Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

The festival will screen the Netflix original film ‘Our Souls at Night.’

Jane Fonda and Robert Redford will be honored with Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement at the 74th Venice International Film Festival on Sept. 1 at the Palazzo del Cinema.

After the awards ceremony, the festival will screen the world premiere of Netflix film Our Souls at Night by Ritesh Batra, starring Fonda and Redford and produced by Redford and his company Wildwood Enterprises, organizers said Monday.

Our Souls at Night is a Colorado-set film about two neighbors who meet after decades of living in the same small town with very little contact.

Actress and producer Fonda also has an honorary Palme d’Dr, as well as two Academy Awards (for best actress in 1971 for Klute and in 1978 for Coming Home), three Golden Globes and an AFI Life Achievement Award.

Noted environmentalist, actor, director and producer Redford, in addition to founding the Sundance Institute, has won a Directors Guild of America Award, a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for best director for his feature film directorial debut Ordinary People. He has also won six Golden Globes and in 2012 won the Venice Film Festival’s Open Prize and Vittorio Veneto Award for The Company You Keep.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 9. 

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'Downsizing,' Starring Matt Damon, to Open Venice Film Festival

The film, directed by Alexander Payne, will be released by Paramount in December.

Alexander Payne’s Downsizing has been selected to open the Venice Film Festival, which runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 9.

The satire, written by Payne and his frequent collaborator Jim Taylor, stars Matt Damon as a man who decides to shrink himself in order to find a better life. The cast also includes Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Laura Dern and Jason Sudeikis.

The Venice berth is a first for Payne, whose films have played Cannes, Telluride, Toronto and Sundance, but not the Italian fest, where Downsizing‘s opening-night slot should position it for high-profile awards-season bid.

Paramount plans to release the film Dec. 22. The studio recently showed off footage from the film at the annual CineEurope international exhibitors convention in Barcelona.

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Annette Bening Named President of Venice International Jury

Festival director Alberto Barbera says it was time to “break with a long list of male presidents.”

Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, Being Julie, American Beauty, Bugsy) will head up the international competition jury of the upcoming Venice International Film Festival. 

Bening has been nominated for an Academy Award four times. She recently appeared in a critically-acclaimed performance in Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women. She will next appear in Michael Mayer’s The Seagull, Paul McGuigan’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, and Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself

“It was time to break with a long list of male presidents and invite a brilliant talented and inspiring woman to chair our international competition jury,” said festival director Alberto Barbera. “I am extremely happy that Annette Bening has accepted this role, which she will carry out by virtue of her stature, her intellect and the talents she has manifested over the course of her career, in Hollywood, Europe and on the stage.”

“Hers is a career marked by always interesting, often daring choices,” continued Barbera. “A sophisticated and instinctive actress, able to portray complex shadings of character, Annette Bening brings to her roles an understating, a warmth and a natural elegance that makes watching her films a wonderful and ever enriching experience.”

Added Bening: “I’m honored to be asked to serve as the President of the jury for this year’s Venice Film Festival. I look forward to seeing the movies and working with my fellow jury members to celebrate the best of this year’s cinema from all over the world.”

Bening, along with eight fellow jurors will award the following prizes: Golden Lion for best film, Silver Lion for best director, Silver Lion grand jury prize, Coppa Volpi for best actor and actress, award for best screenplay, special jury prize, and the Marcello Mastroianni award for best new young actor or actress. 

Last year Sam Mendes headed the jury, awarding the Golden Lion to Lav Diaz for The Woman Who Left. Tom Ford won the grand jury prize for Nocturnal Animals, and Emma Stone won best actress for La La Land. Stone later went on to win the best actress Academy Award for her role. 

The Venice film festival will run Aug. 30 – Sep. 9. The full lineup of the festival will be announced on July 27. 

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Toronto Film Fest to Shrink Movie Lineup by 20 Percent

“We’ve certainly been listening to those who told us … it’s hard to navigate the festival,” artistic director Cameron Bailey tells THR.

The sprawling Toronto Film Festival knows it has an annoying problem: It’s gotten too big for its own good.

And that’s overwhelming film buyers and sellers, publicists, journalists and some among the 400,000 ordinary film-goers that attend the annual September event. So fest organizers plan to take the high road and cut the 2017 lineup by 20 percent, or around 60 movies.

The hope is an event that aims at satisfying many masters, including Hollywood studios and an informal film sales market, becomes less cluttered and more easily curated. “We’ve certainly been listening to those who told us, on a professional level, it’s hard to navigate the festival,” Cameron Bailey, artistic director of TIFF, told the Hollywood Reporter.

“We want to make it a little easier for the media to find films, for the industry to do their work and for the business that happens at the festival to take place,” he added. A leaner lineup also aims to allow Toronto more room for new film voices and discovery beyond the red carpet mania and glitzy parties.

The “tighter curation” Bailey promises eyes a balance between red carpet Hollywood movies the media and ordinary audiences demand to see, indie films that are harder to discover and foreign-language titles from international markets with little distribution and marketing pull.

Expect fewer big-name titles in Toronto’s Special Presentations sidebar, where world premieres nabbed away from Telluride or Venice and which didn’t make it to Roy Thomson Hall can launch at the Princess of Wales, Elgin, Ryerson or Winter Garden theaters.

Toronto is also taking note of Oscar picture winners increasingly launching in Venice and Telluride, where breakout movies are quickly talked about on social media, leaving Toronto as less of the great discoverer it once was. TIFF’s traditional axis of convenience, which allows studio and other star-driven American movies to build buzz in Venice or Telluride before arriving here, in recent years has undermined its reputation as the official award season launchpad.

It’s not lost on TIFF programmers that recent Oscar picture winners like Gravity, Birdman and Spotlight world premiered on the Lido, as did this year’s Oscar front-runner, La La Land. So TIFF now boasts having the most must-see movies and red carpet moments for its industry and public audiences, rather than the first crack at seeing Oscar best picture contenders as a key selling point.

“Toronto is still the place that shows more award season contenders first, than anywhere else on the planet, so that’s still important for us, and we’re still wanting to make sure we have the year’s strongest films for our audiences,” Bailey said. “Some will have come days before from other festivals, some will premiere here,” he added.

Rethinking TIFF’s size also recognizes most star-driven titles arrive here each September already with U.S. deals attached, having been bought up in Cannes or Sundance, so film buyers already have fewer pickings. Film buyers privately say they can attend an industry screening, but often prefer to see how a movie plays in front of real people.

So if ordinary film-goers can’t get into sold-out theaters, especially during the event’s crowded first weekend, producers or publicists are left questioning the value of bringing acquisition titles to Toronto. “Our public audiences never had a problem with the wealth of choice we have, they like having lots of choices, but it’s sometimes hard for movies to stand out in the way we would like them to,” Bailey conceded.

However much it’s slimming down, TIFF still wants to be all flavors to all people. “That’s the gig. We are constantly taking on the challenge to offer the many different audiences that come to our festival films that we think they will want to see, that will excite them,” Bailey said.

“And whether that’s a Toronto resident that wants to see something new, or a long time patron that has their plan to see 20 or 30 films, or someone who’s coming to buy movies or someone coming to cover movies, those are a little different stakeholders. We have a team that’s charged with ensuring they get what they want,” he added.

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HBO, Sky Renew 'The Young Pope' for Season 2

Paolo Sorrentino’s first-ever TV show, starring Jude Law, is about to debut in Europe.

Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino’s first-ever TV show, The Young Pope, a production of HBO, Sky and Canal Plus starring Jude Law, has been picked up for a second season before its international debut. Wildside producer Lorenzo Mieli announced the news at the show’s Rome premiere.

The show, a Sky original, debuts on Sky Italia, Germany and Austria on its Sky Atlantic channel on Friday. It will also air on Canal Plus beginning Oct. 24, on Sky Atlantic in the U.K. and Ireland starting on Oct. 27, and on HBO in the U.S. early next year. 

The first two episodes of the 10-part series premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September to rave reviews.  Law stars as the fictional first American pope, an outrageously conservative figurehead who seems hell-bent on turning the world of the Vatican upside down. Diane Keaton, Silvio Orlando and James Cromwell also star. 

The show, which features a chain-smoking, irrational pope with an unconventional approach to religion, created early buzz out of Venice. “I’m sure someone somewhere is going to be offended by it, but that’s what storytelling is about. Opening discussions, openly, freely and diplomatically … I’m all for that,” said Law in a recent interview with Radio Times

Sorrentino said in Venice his goal was to tackle the topic with curiosity rather than to provoke, adding that the protagonist is the opposite of Francis, which was not accidental. “It’s possible that after a very liberal pope, there is someone that might have very different ideas. I think it’s an illusion that the church as a long-term idea towards modernity,” he said at the time. The show worked with consultants from the Catholic Church throughout the production process for season 1. 

The first season had a budget of approximately $45 million, making it Italy’s most expensive TV production ever. FremantleMedia sold the show globally in more than 80 countries. The Young Pope was produced by Wildside and co-produced by Haut et Court TV and Mediapro.

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi recently told THR that he was a big fan of the show, which is seen as representing the original production boom in Italian television.

Pre-Production for the second season is believed to start by the end of this year. The busy Sorrentino has also announced his next film project, a feature on Italy’s former prime minister and media mogul Silvio Berlusconi. 

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Venice Film Fest Hit 'White Sun' Unveils First Trailer (Exclusive)

A family divided by bloody war must come together to put their father to rest in this Nepalese drama from director Deepak Rauniyar.

Nepalese drama White Sun was one of the sleeper hits out of the Venice Film Festival this year.

The second feature from writer-director Deepak Rauniyar is a family drama set against the stunning, sky-high backdrop of the Himalayas and the violent history of Nepal, in which a war between royalists and Maoists cost 16,000 lives between 1996-2006.

The film kicks off with the sudden death of Chitra (Prakash Ghimire), the former mayor of a small mountain village. According to local tradition, his body must be carried down the mountain to be cremated near a river. His estranged son Chandra (Dayahang Rai), who left to fight with the Maoists, returns to find old battles still simmering under the surface.

The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive first trailer of White Sun, which just screened at the Busan Film Festival in Korea. The Match Factory is selling worldwide.

Check out the trailer below.

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Kit Harington-Natalie Portman Film to Skip Cannes to Avoid "Culture of Trolling"

Xavier Dolan won’t be submitting seventh film to Cannes to avoid critical mauling that greeted his recent Grand Jury Prize winner.

Xavier Dolan won’t submit his next movie, which stars Natalie Portman and Jessica Chastain, to the Cannes Film Festival to avoid personal attacks that masquerade as movie criticism.

In a post on his Instagram account, the Canadian director wrote that The Death and Life of John F. Donovan won’t be ready in time for Cannes. An unanticipated hiatus will now take completion of production from November 2016 to June 2017.

But Dolan also wrote “the culture of trolling, bullying and unwarranted hatred shouldn’t be an inextricable part of the cinematic or analytical adventure.” Dolan, who has brought five of his previous six movies to Cannes for a world premiere, has in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan his most star-studded project to date.

But the indie, which features Kit Harington as an American TV star in a pen-pal relationship exposed by a gossip columnist, reveals a harsh media treatment Dolan wants to avoid in Cannes, and which greeted his 2016 film It’s Only the End of the World before it earned the Grand Jury Prize on the Croisette.

“Since it appears we live in a time where they (critics) are unable to be disassociated, it is one’s right to choose different trajectories for his work, without necessarily acting out of frustration, or reprisal,” Dolan wrote on his Instagram account. The director has been a Cannes darling since first feature, I Killed My Mother, took top honors in the Directors’ Fortnight program in 2009.

That was before Dolan’s fifth feature, Mommy, in 2014 shared the third-place Jury Prize in Cannes. But It’s Only the End of the World, his sixth film, which stars Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux, received a critical mauling when screening in official competition.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan’s bypassing Cannes makes it more likely the film will debut in Venice, where his 2013 film Tom at the Farm had its world premiere, and then shift to Telluride and Toronto as launchpads.

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Venice Golden Lion Winner 'The Woman Who Left' Secures Italian Distribution

The 226-minute Lav Diaz film will hit theaters in Italy next year.

This year’s Venice Golden Lion winner, Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left, had many wondering whether it would see a life beyond the festival circuit. Running at almost four hours long and shot in black-and-white in Tagalog and English languages, while critically acclaimed, the extended running time presents a challenge for any theatrical distributor. One company in Italy is stepping up to the plate, Microcinema, to bring the film out in a wide release in early 2017.

In The Woman Who Left, a schoolteacher who was a wrongly imprisoned for 30 years plans revenge on her former lover. THR described it as “simple, solid, self-contained and succinct.”

Sam Mendes led the Venice jury that awarded Diaz with the main prize. He said he had hoped that the decision of the jury then would give life to some films beyond the festival. “We’re here to encourage people to come to the cinema and come to see original films,” he said.”I hope some of the choices we’ve made will lead audiences to see these films,” said Mendes, adding that he hoped that the jury’s choices would open up distribution for some of the movies awarded.

A member of the slow cinema movement, who has made some of the longest narrative films on record, Diaz’s latest film is considered to be one of his most accessible. When asked why his films tended to be so long, Diaz, also editor and cinematographer of his movies, told the assembled press in Venice that he is not beholden to any rules. “My cinema is free,” he said.

The Woman Who Left will be Diaz’s first theatrically distributed film in Italy. This year, he also won the Berlin Silver Bear for his eight-hour historical film A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery. In 2014, he won the Locarno Golden Leopard for the nearly six-hour film From What is Before.



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TIFF Director Cameron Bailey on Battling for Oscar Contenders: "Something Special Happens in Toronto"

Toronto’s artistic director talks competing against Venice and Telluride for world premieres and awards-season bragging rights.

If buzzy awards-season contenders like Lionsgate’s La La Land, A24’s Moonlight and Fox Searchlight’s Jackie launch in Venice or Telluride before continuing to Toronto for red carpet treatment, that’s fine with Cameron Bailey.

The Toronto Film Festival’s artistic director told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday he wants, above all else, a strong movie lineup that connects with TIFF audiences. “For me, the films we choose strike a chord with our audience. That’s really all we have a say in. What happens afterwards, what happens before, is not for us to control,” Bailey said.

The TIFF programming head said Toronto is still in the game to nab world premieres away from Telluride and Venice as the awards season gets underway, but scheduling a film for awards-season bragging rights isn’t everything. “To have a film like United Kingdom, or Lion — films that had profound responses from thousands of people here — that was terrific. They happened to premiere here,” Bailey said.

“But also Moonlight and La La Land had profound [audience] responses and they started somewhere else. To me, that’s not the most important thing,” he added as the festival’s 41st edition gets set to wrap on Sunday with a final awards ceremony. Bailey drew a contrast between Telluride, where a small film lineup is shown to industry-dominated audiences, and Toronto, where a film festival aimed at ordinary moviegoers takes place around red carpets and screaming fans.

“Nowhere else in the world does a public audience of thousands of people react to these films in such a strong way at the beginning of their public lives. Something special happens in Toronto that doesn’t happen anywhere else,” he said.

Bailey’s preference for receptive audiences over feuding with rival festivals for world premieres marks a change from 2014. TIFF that year issued an edict to the major studios to choose between bringing their movies to Telluride or Toronto for awards-season launches.

Hollywood wasn’t happy having to choose one festival over another. Telluride, Venice and Toronto has long marked an axis of convenience for American studios and distributors to build buzz elsewhere before arriving in Toronto to officially launch an Oscar campaign.

The problem for TIFF is, in an age of social media and online bloggers, the Telluride-Venice-Toronto festival cycle clouded the premiere status of movies booked into its lineup. “What we said is we want clarity,” Bailey said of that 2014 conversation with Hollywood producers.

Toronto and the major studios eventually reached a compromise that Bailey said clarifies the premiere status of movies screening here. “What matters to us is we have a lineup of the strongest films of the year, and we’re able in every year to present more films that go on to awards nominations and wins than any other festival in the year. And that’s been true for many years,” he said.

So if the next Oscar best picture winner launched in Telluride or Toronto, Bailey isn’t bothered, as long as it played in front of local festgoers. “If the public audiences respond well to films like La La Land, Lion, United Kingdom and Nocturnal Animals, that to us is what we’re aiming for,” he said.

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