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Venice Film Festival 2023: 23 Films Competing for Golden Lion

The Venice Film Festival, celebrating its 80th edition, is set to begin with an arrangement of 23 movies competing for the coveted Golden Lion award. The festival, renowned for its glamorous red carpet events and high-profile premieres, is scheduled to run from Wednesday through September 9.

The current year’s celebration guarantees a mix of compelling narratives, established and emerging talents, and a touch of controversy.

Venice Film Festival 2023: 23 Films Competing for Golden Lion

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Movies and Directors in the Competition

  • “BASTARDEN” by Nikolaj Arcel (Denmark) featuring Mads Mikkelsen.
  • “DOGMAN” by Luc Besson (France) with Caleb Landry Jones.
  • “THE BEAST” by Bertrand Bonello (France/Canada) with Lea Seydoux and George MacKay.
  • “HORS-SAISON” by Stephane Brize (France) with Guillaume Canet and Alba Rohrwacher.
  • “ENEA” by Pietro Castellitto (Italy) featuring Pietro Castellitto.
  • “MAESTRO” by Bradley Cooper (USA) with Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, Sarah Silverman.
  • “PRISCILLA” by Sofia Coppola (USA/Italy) with Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi.
  • “FINALMENTE L’ALBA” by Saverio Costanzo (Italy) featuring Lily James and Rebecca Antonaci.
  • “COMANDANTE” by Edoardo De Angelis (Italy) with Pierfrancesco Favino.
  • “LUBO” by Giorgio Diritti (Italy, Switzerland) featuring Franz Rogowski.
  • “ORIGIN” by Ava DuVernay (USA) with Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor and Jon Bernthal.
  • “THE KILLER” by David Fincher (USA) with Michael Fassbender and Tilda Swinton.
  • “MEMORY” by Michel Franco (Mexico, USA) featuring Jessica Chastain and Peter Sarsgaard.
  • “IO CAPITANO” by Matteo Garrone (Italy/Belgium) featuring Seydou Sarr and Moustapha Fall.
  • “EVIL DOES NOT EXIST” by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan) with Hitoshi Omika, Ryo Nishikawa, Ryuji Kosaka.
  • “GREEN BORDER” by Agnieszka Holland (Poland/France/Czech Rep/Belgium) featuring Jalal Altawil and Maja Ostaszewska.
  • “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING” by Timm Kroger (Germany/Austria/Switzerland) featuring Jan Bulow and Olivia Ross.
  • “POOR THINGS” by Yorgos Lanthimos (England) with Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe.
  • “EL CONDE” by Pablo Larrain (Chile) featuring Jaime Vadell.
  • “FERRARI” by Michael Mann (USA) with Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz.
  • “ADAGIO” by Stefano Sollima (Italy) with Pierfrancesco Favino and Toni Servillo.
  • “KOBIETA Z…” by Malgorzata Szumowska and Michal Englert (Poland/Sweden) featuring Malgorzata Hajewska-Krzysztofik and Joanna Kulig.
  • “HOLLY” by Fien Troch (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxembourg/France) with Cathalina Geeraerts and Felix Heremans.

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The festival’s usual star-studded atmosphere is dimmed this year by an ongoing strike in Hollywood that has compelled several major actors and writers to abstain from publicity work.

This strike, one of the main work debates in the industry in over sixty years, has prompted the shortfall of various Hollywood luminaries from the Venice Film Festival. For instance, Emma Stone, who stars in “Poor Things,” and Bradley Cooper, director and star of “Maestro,” are among the absentees.

Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz, stars of the biopic “Ferrari,” have been granted an exemption from the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG-AFTRA) due to the film’s production outside the traditional studio system. Nevertheless, they might choose to show solidarity by not attending.

While Hollywood’s strike looms over the occasion, controversy surrounding the inclusion of certain directors also makes headlines. Filmmakers Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, both figures associated with past controversies, find themselves in the spotlight.

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The festival’s decision to include their works in the out-of-competition section has raised discussions about the intersection of personal and artistic responsibility.

Polanski, a fugitive from the US over a decades-old conviction, continues to face allegations. The festival maintains he won’t be attending. French director Luc Besson, recently cleared of rape allegations, competes with his film “Dogman.”

The festival is not without its moments of solidarity and awareness. A Ukrainian Day is set to occur on September 6, dedicated to supporting Ukraine and its struggling film industry.

This initiative comes as part of the Biennale foundation’s efforts to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people during their ongoing challenges.

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