Venice Film Festival to Feature the Coen Brothers, Damien Chazelle and Lady Gaga

Posted July 25, 2018 3:02 p.m. EDT

This year’s Venice Film Festival will include new movies by Paul Greengrass, Alfonso Cuarón and the Coen Brothers, the festival announced at a news conference Thursday. The 75th edition of the event opens on Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 8.

Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” — his first feature since the Oscar-winning “La La Land” — will open the festival. It stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, and tells the story of the astronaut’s race to become the first person to walk on the moon.

Other highly anticipated films in the lineup include “The Sisters Brothers,” a comedy Western starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal; Rick Alverson’s “The Mountain,” starring Jeff Goldblum as a doctor who performs lobotomies; and the British director Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo,” about a notorious massacre of political protesters in 19th-century England.

Those films are among 20 that will compete for the Golden Lion prize for best film. They will appear alongside television series, documentaries and a host of other movies that are not competing for that main prize.

Only one of the 20 films in the main competition is directed by a woman: Jennifer Kent’s “The Nightingale,” about an Irish woman in Australia who seeks revenge after seeing her husband killed.

Like the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs from Sept. 8 and overlaps the Venice event, the Italian festival is regarded as a bellwether for the Academy Awards. Three of the past four winners of the Academy Award for best picture had their premieres at Venice, including “The Shape of Water,” which won this year. “First Man” is among several films that will appear at both events.

The Venice lineup features several movies from Netflix, which boycotted this year’s Cannes Film Festival to protest a rule change that would have forced its films to play in movie theaters before they could be screened online in order to compete in the French event.

Netflix productions appearing at Venice include Greengrass’ “22 July,” about a 2011 terrorist attack in Oslo, in which the right-wing extremist Anders Breivik killed 69 people; the Coen brothers’ “Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” which had first been billed as a TV series; and Cuarón’s Mexican family drama, “Roma,” his first film since “Gravity.”

Netflix will also premiere Orson Welles’ final film, “The Other Side of the Wind.” It was filmed in the 1970s, but was not completed before his death in 1985. The release marks the culmination of decadeslong efforts to finish the movie.

Amazon Studios will also appear at the festival with Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the Italian horror classic “Suspiria,” starring Tilda Swinton. Guadagnino’s last film was the acclaimed gay romance “Call Me By Your Name.” HBO is presenting its first foreign-language production, an adaptation of “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first in the Neapolitan series of novels by Elena Ferrante.

One movie screening out of competition that is likely to get a lot of attention is Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born,” the first major role for Lady Gaga, who plays a country singer who overshadows her mentor.

The festival also features several notable documentaries, including Errol Morris’ “American Dharma,” about President Donald Trump’s onetime chief strategist, Stephen Bannon; Ron Mann’s “Carmine Street Guitars,” about the Greenwich Village shop of that name; and Frederick Wiseman’s “Monrovia, Indiana,” about small-town America. Wiseman won acclaim for his recent “Ex Libris,” about the New York Public Library.

Guillermo del Toro, the director of “The Shape of Water,” will preside over the jury that will award the Golden Lion.