The 73rd Venice Film Festival announced its star-packed lineup Thursday morning – though the casual filmgoer might be forgiven for mistaking the slate for the Toronto International Film Festival's.
The two closely scheduled events will share at least 10 films, with many of the splashier titles – including Denis Villeneuve's sci-fi entry Arrival, Tom Ford's dark drama Nocturnal Animals and Damien Chazelle's Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone musical La La Land – receiving their world premieres on the Lido, instead of in Toronto.
Of the shared films, only Antoine Fuqua's remake of The Magnificent Seven with Denzel Washington will bow at TIFF before Venice (it will play Toronto on Sept. 8, two days before acting as Venice's closing-night film).
In an echo of previous years, when Venice snagged the world premieres of Gravity, The Master and Birdman, the Italian fest appears to have once again booked several high-profile films that have yet to be claimed by TIFF (though this could change, as Toronto only unveiled part of its lineup this past Tuesday, with the rest of the slate to be revealed over the next few weeks).
These titles include Terrence Malick's long-awaited Imax documentary Voyage of Time; Ana Lily Amirpour's dystopian comedy The Bad Batch, starring Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey; Pablo Larrain's Jacqueline Kennedy biopic, Jackie (though TIFF will get Larrain's Pablo Neruda biopic, Neruda); Mel Gibson's war drama Hacksaw Ridge; Andrew Dominik's One More Time with Feeling, an experimental doc on Nick Cave; and Canadian director Philippe Falardeau's boxing drama The Bleeder, starring real-life couple Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts.
Venice is the world's oldest film festival, and will feature 55 films from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10 – directly abutting both TIFF (which runs Sept. 8 to 18) and the smaller, more industry-heavy Telluride Film Festival (which runs Sept. 2 to 5 in Colorado).
Together, the events act as the springboard to fall's awards season, with each vying to be the one that launches the eventual Oscar darlings – though all three fests can help a film in their own unique ways.
Last year, for instance, Venice was able to lay claim to unveiling the journalism drama Spotlight, which went on to win the Academy Award for best picture. There, the Michael Keaton film benefited from the attention of the European press, and the prestigious reputation of Venice's artistic director Alberto Barbera, a shrewd programmer blessed with industry foresight.
In Telluride, though, Spotlight caught the eye of industry heavies who wield influence over the awards race.
And in Toronto, the film enjoyed the wide platform TIFF typically offers, thanks to enthusiastic local audiences and the hordes of junket press that flood the city every year.