Yes, that’s really Bradley Cooper | Netflix

ACTORS AND WRITERS are currently taking to the picket lines to protest unfair wages, but it looks like no one told the Venice Film Festival – which has just revealed a star-studded lineup for its 2023 showcase event. Yes, in a manner akin to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand to avoid danger, it appears the festivals organisers are taking the same approach and going ahead with proceedings anyway – regardless of who shows up.

One of the three big European film festivals (along with Cannes and Berlin), Venice offers an insight into what award season could hold. With ‘Golden Lion’ winners often taking home some highly coveted Oscar’s hardware in the following years academy awards. Previous winners include Nomadland, The Shape of Water, Joker, Roma and Brokeback Mountain, which all had differing success in award season, but prove the Venice judges have an eye for quality.

If the SAG-AFTRA strike persists, actors will not be able to attend this year’s Venice Film Festival, as a red-carpet appearance would constitute promoting a film, which is banned. So, while plenty of A-listers and recognisable names are behind the films in the lineup, it looks like this year will have decidedly less Hollywood glitz and sartorial glamour gracing the scenic environs of the Lido di Venezia.

Despite the strikes, this year’s festival is expected to be as exciting as ever. With a range of 2023’s most anticipated films premiering, and plenty of star power appearing on screen (if not off it), the 80th Venice Film festival will be one to remember.

Read on for everything you need know about 80th Venice Film Festival, from all the major premieres to a breakdown on the strikes’ impact.

What is the Venice Film Festival?

For those less familiar with the relentless struggle that is keeping up with the movie industry’s busy calendar: no, the Venice Film Festival is not the same as the Cannes Film Festival. While the two share a penchant for showcasing some of the years’ most anticipated films, Venice is less inclined to feature strictly arthouse European films, and more open to Hollywood movies and streaming hits – which Cannes usually, rather pretentiously, eschews.

The Venice Film Festival is widely recognised as one of the most prestigious cultural events of the year. The festival was first organised in 1932 and has since become an annual event that neither the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 or the advent of Italian Fascism in the 1930s could stop.

In essence, Venice is split into two fields of competition and out-of-competition films – the system speaks for itself. The competition films go head-to-head for several prizes, including your run-of-the-mill best actor and best director awards, but also the Golden Lion, which might just be the most distinguished prize in the industry.

The competition is presided over by a jury typically made up of high-profile directors and actors. This year, it’s headed by Damien Chazelle, who directed Whiplash, Babylon and La La Land. The jury also includes directors Martin McDonagh, Jane Campion, and last year’s Golden Lion winner, Laura Poitras.

Zendaya’s Challengers will not be premiering in Venice | Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

When is the Venice Film Festival?

The 80th Venice Film Festival is scheduled to run from August 30th to September 9th. Beginning with Edoardo de Angelis’ Comandante on opening night, and closing with Juan Antonio Bayona’s Society of the Snow. Most screenings will be held at the Lido di Venezia’s iconic cinema, the Palazzo del Cinema. Smaller showings are to be held at the less BeReal-worthy but equally historic, Palazzo del Casinò.

How will the strikes impact the Venice Film Festival?

We always knew the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes were going to interrupt the film industry, but now that they actually are, we’re feeling slightly unprepared. As part of the ongoing strikes, members of the guilds are unable to promote any films they appear in. Unfortunately, that includes red carpet appearances and attending premieres. As a result, this year’s Venice Film Festival is expecting a less than spectacular turn out. Cue the disappointed sighs from anyone hoping to see their favourite celebs red-carpet attire on top of the perfect backdrop – the picturesque docks of Venice.

The Venice Film Festivals lineup almost survived the strikes unscathed, but suffered a brutal blow with the events original opening film pulled from the roster at the last moment. Luca Guadagnino’s R-rated Challengers, starring Zendaya as a tennis coach embroiled in a spicy love triangle, will not be premiering in Venice as a result of the actors’ strike. With MGM deciding it would prefer the film to be released with its celebrity-laden casts promotional support. Instead, we’ll have to wait until its theatrical release next year to witness Zendaya’s latest fiery romance.

What films are premiering at the Venice Film Festival?

Leading the bill is Bradley Cooper’s Maestro. A biographical drama following prodigal composer and jack-of-all trades Leonard Bernstein. Cooper directs and stars in the film, with a producing team that includes Oscar winners Stephen Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Todd Phillips – it’s difficult to imagine a better group of mentors. Cooper is a strong contender to take home the Oscar for best actor next year for his role in Maestro, so its debut in Venice is sure to have a large following.

Sofia Coppola returns with just her third movie in the last ten years. Priscilla is another biographical drama based on the 1985 memoirs of Priscilla Presley, with Australian heartthrob Jacob Elordi portraying the King of Rock himself – too bad we probably won’t be seeing him sipping prosecco in Venice.

The Killer directed by celebrated filmmaker David Fincher, the brain behind blockbusters like Fight Club, Se7en, The Social Network and Gone Girl, will also premiere in Venice. While for the more art-inclined film enthusiasts, Yorgos Lanthimos’ surrealist fantasy Poor Things starring Emma Stone, Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe, also features in the lineup.

Read on below for all the major films in the lineup.

Emma Stone leads an all-star cast in Poor Things | Searchlight Pictures
The Killer stars Michael Fassbender as an international assassin | Paramount Pictures


Comandante, Edoardo de Angelis (opening film)

The Promised Land, Nikolaj Arcel

DogMan, Luc Besson

La Bête, Bertrand Bonello

Hors-Saison, Stéphane Brizé

Enea, Pietro Castellitto

Maestro, Bradley Cooper

Priscilla, Sofia Coppola

Finalmente L’Alba, Saverio Costanzo

Lubo, Giorgio Diritti

Origin, Ava DuVernay

The Killer, David Fincher

Memory, Michel Franco

Io Capitano, Matteo Garrone

Evil Does Not Exist, Ryusuke Hamaguchi

The Green Border, Agnieszka Holland

Die Theorie Von Allem, Timm Kroger

Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos

El Conde, Pablo Larrain

Ferrari, Michael Mann

Adagio, Stefano Sollima

Woman Of, Malgorzata Szumowska, Michal Englert

Holly, Fien Troch

A barely recognisable Adam Driver plays Enzo Ferrari in his latest biopic | Neon

Out of Competition: Fiction

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

Daaaaaal!, Quentin Dupieux

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, William Friedkin

Aggro Dr1ft, Harmony Korine

Hit Man, Richard Linklater

The Palace, Roman Polanski

Snow Leopard, Pema Tseden

Society of the Snow, J.A. Bayona (closing film)

Out of Competition: Non-Fiction

Hollywoodgate, Ibrahim Nash’at

Amor, Virginia Eleuteri Serpieri

Ryuichi Sakamoto Opus, Neo Sora

Frente a Guernica Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi

Enzo Jannacci Vengo Anch’io, Giorgio Verdelli

Menus Plaisirs – Les Troisgros, Frederick Wiseman

Priscilla will recount the memoirs of Priscilla Presley | A24


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