Mike Leigh’s Peterloo to have World Premiere In Competition in Venice


‘Best programme ever’: Mike Leigh, Coens and Cuarón set for Venice film festival

Oscars launchpad to premiere big-hitters including Peterloo, Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Roma

If the star wattage at this year’s Cannes film festival felt a little dim, the dazzle from the premieres at the Venice film festival will probably shine all the way to Hollywood. The festival, which in recent years has established itself as an Oscars launchpad, unveiled on Wednesday a roster of high-profile world premieres that look set to dominate the awards season.

Mike Leigh’s Peterloo, a drama about the 1819 massacre, stars Maxine Peake and Rory Kinnear and will have its first screening on the Lido. Leigh has prior form at Venice: Vera Drake won the Golden Lion in 2004. His previous film, Mr Turner, premiered to great acclaim at Cannes in 2014, but failed to receive Bafta and Oscar nominations.

Another British director, Paul Greengrass, will join Leigh in Venice with 22 July, a painstaking dramatisation of Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 terrorist attacks in Norway, which killed 77 people, including teenagers at a summer camp. The film, which is seen through the eyes of a survivor, marks a return to docudrama for the director after Jason Bourne in

Yorgos Lanthimos’s royal comedy The Favourite – another Film4 production, as is Peterloo – also premieres. The irreverent take on the court of Queen Anne stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman, the latter two of whom featured in Lanthimos’s The Lobster.

Alfonso Cuarón’s first film since Gravity, which opened Venice in 2013, will also premiere. Roma, reportedly another visually groundbreaking spectacle, is a black-and-white tribute to the Mexico of the director’s youth, and his first native language movie since 2001’s Y Tu Mamá También.

That film was one of the highest-profile casualties of the dispute between Netflix and the Cannes film festival this year. Venice’s embrace of the streaming service means a high proportion of its premieres are courtesy of Netflix, including The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the new venture from the Coen brothers, which began life as a TV series but has morphed into a movie. The project, which stars Tim Blake Nelson, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson and Tom Waits, is a period western anthology film.

Meanwhile, Luca Guadagnino returns to Venice with Suspiria, his remake of the Dario Argento horror, starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. The director premiered A Bigger Splash on the Lido in 2015, where it received a warmer reception from international critics than those from Guadagnino’s homeland. Since then, his stock has risen considerably after the acclaim for Call Me By Your Name, which premiered at Sundance in 2017 and received a best picture nomination this year.

László Nemes’s first film since the Oscar-winning Holocaust drama Son of Saul will also screen in competition. Sunset, the director’s second film, is set in Budapest just before the first world war. Jennifer Kent’s follow-up to The Babadook will also be seen. The Nightingale is a gothic drama about a young convict seeking revenge on a soldier, along with the help of an Aboriginal tracker, in Tasmania in 1825.

A number of French directors have also opted for Italian premieres, including Olivier Assayas, who re-teams with Juliette Binoche for Double Vies, and Jacques Audiard, whose English-language debut, The Sister Brothers, is billed as a darkly comic western and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix. Audiard and Assayas are more commonly associated with Cannes, where they have scored big hits.

Big out-of-competition premieres include the previously announced A Star is Born, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut starring Lady Gaga, as well as the police brutality drama Dragged Across Concrete, starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, and a recently completed version of Orson Welles’s 70s-shot drama The Other Side of the Wind, starring John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich.

Special screenings include a premiere of an adapation of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend, Frederick Wiseman’s latest documentary, Monrovia, Indiana, and American Dharma, a dialogue between film-maker Errol Morris and Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon.

The lineup was greeted with some ecstasy on Twitter, with some deeming it the “best programme ever”.

The festival’s 75th edition will open on 29 August with First Man, a Neil Armstrong biopic starring Ryan Gosling. Gosling and the director Damien Chazelle opened the festival two years ago with La La Land, which progressed to win six Oscars.

It was beaten in the best picture category by Moonlight – and the latest effort from Barry Jenkins, the director of that film, is missing from the lineup. If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from the James Baldwin book of the same name, was one of the key titles revealed on Tuesday to be screened in Toronto a week and a half after Venice. Joining it in Canada are world premieres of a Steve McQueen heist movie called Widows and films from Claire Denis, Nicole Holofcener, Trevor Nunn, Mia Hansen-Løve and Michael Winterbottom.

Some of those films are yet expected to turn up at the Telluride film festival, which occurs between Venice and Toronto (with some overlap, so that some key Venice films may in fact premiere in Telluride). Titles not at Venice but billed as international premieres at the Toronto international film festival, all but guaranteeing a Colorado premiere, include The Front Runner, the Jason Reitman drama starring Hugh Jackman as the disgraced 1980s presidential candidate Gary Hart, and Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy as a real-life down-on-her-luck author who forged letters from literary greats.