80th Venice International Film Festival; when is it, what is the Golden Lion and what films are being screened

Considered the art-house compatriot to the Cannes Film Festival, this year’s full lineup of films for the Venice International Film Festival has been announced
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The 80th Venice International Film Festival will open on August 30, 2023, and will run until September 9 2023, but the shadow of the ongoing Hollywood strikes has already affected parts of the festival, including the original opening night film of the festival (more below.) Nonetheless, organisers of the Biennale de Venezia have still managed to curate an eclectic selection of films, many of which make their premieres at the event in a little under a month.

Though some consider Venice to be a rival to Cannes, there is a remarkably different approach both film festivals have regarding the films they curate; while Cannes is seen as a glitzy, glamorous affair on the French Riviera, the Venice festival has more of a focus on art-house movies and international cinema, rather than focusing on big Hollywood blockbusters.

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But much like Cannes, the Venice International Film Festival has a host of awards including the coveted Golden Lion for Best Film, the Silver Lion - Grand Jury Prize, the Silver Lion for Best Director, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor, the Special Jury Prize, the Award for Best Screenplay, and the "Marcello Mastroianni" Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress.

This year’s features vying for the Golden Lion (the festival’s equivalent to Cannes Palm d’Or) include welcome returns for Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) and Michael Mann’s latest feature, “Ferrari.” We would also be remiss not to be excited that Bradley Cooper’s latest directorial feature will also premiere at the festival, but whether he will be on hand for the screening of “Maestro” is yet to be confirmed (again - see below), nor if David Fincher, also debuting his new film, will be on hand either.

We’ve seen the rise and fall of Elvis Presley through his eyes, by virtue of Baz Luhrmann’s stunning “Elvis” biopic, but we imagine an entirely different affair as Sofia Coppola takes the life of the King of Rock from the perspective of his former wife with her new film “Priscilla,” also playing in competition at the event. 

Out of competition is a very eccentric collection of movies and filmmakers this year; Harmony Korine, having recently worked with Travis Scott for his musical film “Circus Maximus,” is set to premiere his new movie “Aggro Dr1ft” which, coincidentally, also features Scott in the starring role. New works from Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Japanese cyberpunk director Shinya Tsukamoto (who directed the art-house classic “Tetsuo: The Iron Man”) also are some of the highlights from this year’s lineup.

Have the SAG-AFTRA strikes had an effect on the festival?

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Yes, it has - the opening night film of the 80th Venice International Film Festival was set to be “Challengers” by Luca Guadagnino and starring Zendaya. However, due to some of the rules installed during the strike action, leading Zendaya to not go over to Venice to promote the film, it was ultimately replaced with another film to open the festival.

That may also be the case regarding a number of Hollywood films or those that are being released by major film studios in the US. There is however a rule that truly independent features can be waived from strike action - so the overarching effect on the festival is purely dependent on the film studios and their films involved. 

What are the opening and closing night films a the 80th Venice International Film Festival?

After “Challengers” was pulled, organisers announced that the opening night film instead will be Edoardo De Angelis' “Comandante” -  a historical drama starring Pierfrancesco Favino as Salvatore Todaro, a World War II submarine commander who after sinking an armed merchant ship, proceeds to save the 26 shipwrecked Belgians onboard in a perilous yet humanitarian mission.

The closing night film is Spanish director J.A. Bayona's “La Sociedad de la nieve” (Society of the Snow). Set in 1972, the film is the true story of the Uruguayan rugby team, who charted a plane to Chile that crashed in the Andes, leaving the 29 survivors stranded. Enzo Vogrincic, Matías Recalt, Agustín Pardella, Esteban Kukuriczka and Tomas Wolf star.

What other films have been confirmed for the 80th Venice International Film Festival?

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The full lineup, including films in competition for the festival, is as follows:

In Competition

  • Comandante - Edoardo De Angelis
  • The Promised Land - Nikolaj Arcel
  • Dogman - Luc Besson
  • Le Bête - Bertrand Bonello
  • Hors-Saison - Stéphane Brizé
  • Enea - Pietro Castellitto
  • Maestro - Bradley Cooper
  • Priscilla - Sofia Coppola
  • Finally Dawn - Saverio Costanzo
  • Lubo - Giorgio Diritti
  • Origin - Ava DuVernay
  • The Killer - David Fincher
  • Memory - Michel Franco
  • Io Capitano - Matteo Garrone
  • Evil Does Not Exist - Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
  • The Green Border - Agnieszka Holland
  • The Theory of Everything - Timm Kröger
  • Poor Things - Yorgos Lanthimos
  • El Conde - Pablo Larrain
  • Ferrari - Michael Mann
  • Adagio - Stefano Sollima
  • Woman Of, Małgorzata Szumowska - Michal Englert
  • Holly - Fien Torch

Out of Competition - Fiction

Director Harmony Korine attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Neon And Vice Studio's "The Beach Bum" at ArcLight Hollywood on March 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)Director Harmony Korine attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Neon And Vice Studio's "The Beach Bum" at ArcLight Hollywood on March 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Director Harmony Korine attends the Los Angeles Premiere Of Neon And Vice Studio's "The Beach Bum" at ArcLight Hollywood on March 28, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
  • Society of the Snow, J.A. Bayona – Closing Film
  • Coup de Chance - Woody Allen
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar - Wes Anderson
  • The Penitent - Luca Barbareschi
  • L’Ordine Del Tempo - Liliana Cavani
  • Vivants - Alix Delaporte
  • Welcome to Paradise - Leonardo di Costanzo
  • Daaaaaali! - Quentin Dupieux
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial - William Friedkin
  • Making of - Cédric Kahn
  • Aggro Dr1ft - Harmony Korine
  • Hit Man - Richard Linklater
  • The Palace - Roman Polanski
  • Snow Leopard - Pema Tseden

Out of Competition — Nonfiction

  • Amor - Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri
  • Frente A Guernica (Uncut Version) - Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
  • Hollywoodgate - Ibrahim Nash’at
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto — Opus - Neo Sora
  • Enzo Jannacci Vengo Anch’io - Giorgio Verdelli
  • Menus Plaisirs - Frederick Wiseman

Out of Competition — Series

  • D’argent et de sang - Xavier Giannoli, Fredéric Planchon
  • I Know Your Soul - created by Jasmila Zbanic and Damir Ibrahimovic, directed by Alen Drjević and Nermin Hamzagic

Horizons

  • A Cielo Aperto - Mariana Arriaga, Santiago Arriaga
  • El Paraiso - Enrico Maria Artale
  • Behind the Mountains - Mohamed Ben Attia
  • The Red Suitcase - Fidel Devkota
  • Tatami - Guy Nattiv, Zar Amir Ebrahimi
  • Paradise Is Burning - Mika Gustavson
  • The Featherweight - Robert Colony
  • Invelle - Simone Massi
  • Hesitation Wound - Selman Nacar
  • Heartless - Nara Normande, Tião
  • Una Sterminata Domenica - Alain Parroni
  • City of Wind - Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir
  • Explanation for Everything - Gábor Reisz
  • Gasoline Rainbow - Bill Ross, Turner Ross
  • En Attendant La Nuit - Céline Rouzet
  • Housekeeping for Beginners - Goran Stolevski
  • Shadow of Fire - Shinya Tsukamoto
  • Dormitory - Nehir Tuna

Horizons Extra

  • Bota Jonë - Luàna Barjami
  • Forever Forever - Anna Buryachkova
  • The Rescue - Daniela Goggi
  • Day of the Fight - Jack Huston
  • In the Land of Saints and Sinners - Robert Lorenz
  • Felicità - Micaela Ramazzotti
  • Pet Shop Boys - Olmo Schnabel
  • Stolen - Karan Tejpal
  • L’Homme D’Argille - Anaïs Tellene

Who is on the competition jury for the 80th Venice International Film Festival?

Damien Chazelle attends the UK Premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Babylon" at BFI IMAX Waterloo on January 12, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)Damien Chazelle attends the UK Premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Babylon" at BFI IMAX Waterloo on January 12, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
Damien Chazelle attends the UK Premiere of Paramount Pictures' "Babylon" at BFI IMAX Waterloo on January 12, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Leading the competition jury is the acclaimed Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle, known for his films "La La Land" and "First Man," both of which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Joining him are esteemed Oscar-winning filmmakers Jane Campion and Laura Poitras, Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri, French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve, Italian filmmaker Gabriele Mainetti, Irish filmmaker Martin McDonagh, Argentine filmmaker Santiago Mitre, and Chinese actress Shu Qi.

The Orizzonti (Horizons) jury, responsible for recognizing outstanding achievements in new trends and experimental cinema, is headed by Italian filmmaker Jonas Carpignano as president. The jury also includes talented individuals such as Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania, American filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, French filmmaker Jean-Paul Salomé, and British festival director and programmer Tricia Tuttle.

Lastly, the Lion of the Future ("Luigi de Laurentiis") jury, dedicated to awarding the best debut feature film, is led by the accomplished filmmaker Alice Diop, who won the Best Debut Feature prize at the 79th Venice Film Festival for her work "Saint Omer." The jury also consists of esteemed members like Moroccan director and actor Faouzi Bensaïdi, Argentinian filmmaker Laura Citarella, Italian filmmaker Andrea De Sica, and American writer and director Chloe Domont. Together, these talented and diverse juries play a crucial role in recognizing and celebrating excellence in the world of cinema at the Venice Film Festival.

How can I get tickets to screenings at the Venice International Film Festival?

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Tickets to the screenings mentioned this weekend as part of the 80th Venice International Film Festival are available through the festival’s official website.

That information also includes how much tickets and subscriptions to this year’s event will cost based on screening times and locations; 5pm and 10pm screenings look to be your cheaper option if you were to see a film at the Sala Grande, and then balloon for prime-time, early evening screenings.

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