Venice Film Festival: discover the 21 films in the running for the Golden Lion


Chaired this year by Bong Joon-ho, the festival jury will decide between the feature films of an edition that has kept all its promises. With its adaptation of Balzac’s novel, The lost illusions, Xavier Giannoli could well appear on the prize list this Saturday.

The last Paolo Sorrentino, the last Pedro Almodovar, the first Maggie Gyllenhaal,… No less than 21 feature films are in the running to win the prestigious Golden Lion, which rewards each year the best film of the official selection of the film festival of Venice. Which one will fly to seventh heaven on Saturday evening with the famous winged leonine statuette? Overview of the competition for the supreme award.

Madres paralelas , by Pedro Almodovar (Spain)

The 71-year-old filmmaker returns to his favorite subjects, parentage and female figures, for a film that aims to help Spain heal the wounds of the Civil War. Her favorite actress Penelope Cruz plays Janis, a photographer pregnant with an archaeologist and married friend, who has promised to help her find the burial place of her great-grandfather, who disappeared during the civil war. Janis’ life is turned upside down when she meets Ana, a young girl who gives birth the same day in the same maternity hospital.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon , by Ana Lily Amirpour (United States)

“Mona Lisa”, a young Korean girl endowed with telepathic powers, escapes from a mental institution in Louisiana and is rescued in La NouvelleOrleans at a colorful stripper played by Kate Hudson, surprising in this role against the job. Mona Lisa does not take long to form a strong bond with Charlie, the lonely little boy of her landlady. This surprising mix of fairy tale and video game punctuated by techno and metal music is signed by the American of Iranian origin Ana Lily Amirpour.

Spencer , by Pablo Larraín (Germany / United Kingdom)

Funny, whimsical and fragile: American actress Kristen Stewart plays Princess Diana, who died 24 years ago. Does this icon, dissected in many documentaries, series and films, still have something to reveal? In almost two hours, the Chilean filmmaker responds in the affirmative by universalizing the intimacy of this woman who can no longer breathe, stifled by the corseted protocol of the Windsor but refusing to give up her freedom.

Another world , by Stéphane Brizé (France)

The third episode in a trilogy on the world of work, this film starring Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain takes the point of view of a boss who must make dramatic decisions.

The dog’s share , by Jane Campion (Australia / New Zealand)

Adapted from the eponymous novel by Thomas Savage, this stifling camera in a world of cowboys takes the viewer to a ranch in Montana in the early 20th century.e century, where the life of hardened bachelor Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) is turned upside down by the arrival of his brother’s new wife, Rose (Kirsten Dunst), and his son from a previous marriage. With small touches, this film produced by Netflix depicts a corseted society on the verge of implosion.

America Latina , by Fabio and Damiano D’Innocenzo (Italy-France)

The Italian twins wrote and directed this film halfway between thriller and love story, with Elio Germano in particular, award for interpretation at Cannes in 2010.

The event , by Audrey Diwan (France)

The Franco-Lebanese director adapts Annie Ernaux to tell Anne, a carefree student in France in the early 1960s, where abortion is not yet legal. Anne discovers that she is pregnant, but the young woman, from a working-class background, wishes to continue her studies of letters. Doctors, friends, partner, teacher: she won’t find anyone to help her.

Competencia Oficial , by Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn (Spain / Argentina)

In this comedy full of self-deprecation on the faults of cinema, Penélope Cruz plays Lola, a famous director who has to work with two brilliant actors but who are opposed to everything: Félix, Hollywood star, sexy, charismatic and so sure of himself, obviously played by Antonio Banderas. And Ivan, a renowned, literate and deceptively humble theater actor, whose role was entrusted to Argentine actor Oscar Martinez. This trio must prepare for the shoot and rehearse together, not easy when you share so little, except an oversized ego.

He Buco , by Michelangelo Frammartino (Italy / France / Germany)

Based on a true story, He buco (“The hole”) follows young cavers who in 1961 set out to explore a deep cave in southern Italy. This refined film without dialogue is also a poetic allegory on the random march of progress in Italy’s economic boom.

Sundown , by Michel Franco (Mexico / France / Sweden)

Tim Roth plays a rich man who seeks to get away from his settled life while on vacation. Charlotte Gainsbourg is part of the cast.

Leave No Traces , by Jan P. Matuszynski (Poland / France / Czech Republic)

Leave No TracesŻeby nie było śladów in Polish – tells the true story of the beating of a young activist in Warsaw by the communist militia during the martial law era (1980-1983).

Lost illusions , by Xavier Giannoli (France)

In this adaptation of Balzac’s novel, Lucien (Benjamin Voisin) is a young poet unknown in 19th century France.e century that wants to forge a destiny. He left his native province to try his luck in Paris, on the arm of his protectress. He will love, suffer, but survive his illusions. Also in the cast, Cécile de France and Gérard Depardieu.

The Lost Daughter , by Maggie Gyllenhaal (United States / Greece / United Kingdom / Israel)

American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her debut behind the camera in this adaptation of an Elena Ferrante novel, Stolen doll, with Olivia Colman in the role of a woman oscillating between reason and madness.

Freaks Out , by Gabriele Mainetti (Italy / Belgium)

In Rome during World War II, a circus troupe sinks into despair after the disappearance of their Jewish director. This fairy tale packed with special effects is an optimistic firework display about resilience and the celebration of difference.

Who rido io , by Mario Martone (Italy / Spain)

Italian star Toni Servillo plays the famous Neapolitan actor Eduardo Scarpetta (1853-1925) in this biopic by Mario Martone. Eduardo Scarpetta, author of the masterpiece Misery and Nobility, also gave birth to a dynasty of actors including Eduardo De Filippo, Peppino De Filippo and Titina De Filippo, who will mark the Neapolitan theater and cinema of the XXe century.

On the Job: The Missing 8 , by Erik Matti (Philippines)

Following On the Job (2013), this film follows in the footsteps of a journalist investigating the mysterious disappearance of his colleagues and an inmate temporarily released to carry out assassinations.

Captain Volkonogov escaped , by Natalia Merkoulova and Alexeï Tchoupov (Russia / Estonia / France)

In 1938, Fyodor Volkonogov, a model officer in the Soviet security services, was tasked with making innocent people confess by all means, including torture, to crimes they did not commit. With or without a confession, the outcome is always the same: death. Until the day when he himself is the subject of suspicion. He then decides to embark on a quest for redemption to obtain forgiveness from the families of his own victims.

The Card Counter , by Paul Schrader (United States / United Kingdom / China)

A poker player (Oscar Isaac) is haunted by his past as a soldier in Iraq, where he was implicated in human rights violations at Abu Ghraib prison.

God’s hand , by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)

In this largely autobiographical film that will be released on Netflix, Paolo Sorrentino (Youth, The New Pope) tells the story of the childhood of a young Neapolitan, shattered by the accidental death of his parents, poisoned by carbon monoxide. This ode to Naples is also the pretext for a gallery of portraits of colorful characters.

Reflection , by Valentyn Vasyanovych (Ukraine)

The protagonist, a surgeon in civilian life, is captured by Russian forces present in eastern Ukraine, and experiences a veritable descent into hell: humiliations, violence and torture. Released during a prisoner exchange, he struggles to find his marks.

La Caja , by Lorenzo Vigas (Mexico / United States)

A teenager from Mexico City heads north to collect his father’s ashes, but is swept away into the sordid world of low-cost textile workshops. With this punchy film, the Venezuelan filmmaker, the first Latin American to have won a Golden Lion, addresses the exploitation of labor, disappearances in Mexico, fatherhood and violence against the women.

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