Venice Film Festival 2020

venice film festival 2020

Venice Film Festival 2020

venice film festival 2020

Venice Film Festival 2020 was uncertain for quite some time. It wasn’t until July that the restrictions of the Italian borders were lifted and even today, most countries’ citizens are not allowed to enter the national territory. Fortunately, we live in a Cyber-age, and images, both still and videos, move just as effortless over boundaries as storm clouds.

The general situation, and especially the last week’s increase in Covid.cases in Italy and in other European countries, has forced the organizers to come up with new ideas to contain the disease and protect the public and the participants, actors, and directors, etc.

It will be a festival like one we haven’t seen before.

The number of participants has been moderated somewhat and there will be a few other changes to minimize any risk connected to the current pandemic:

  • The dates are September 2 – 12.
  • Venice Classics was included in the Il Cinema Ritrovato-festival in Bologna, at the end of August.
  • Venice 77 (The official competition), Orizzonti (Horizons), and Out of competition are confirmed and will be shown at the traditional Palace of Cinema at Lido. 
  • The total number of films is around 60.
  • Sconfini will not take place. 
  • Documentaries on cinema will not take place

venice film festival 2020This is how many films there will be.

Check out the titles here.

  • In the main competition 18 (2019 there were 21)
  • Out of competition 23 (2019 there were 24)
  • Orizzonti (Horizons) 19 (2019 there were 19)
  • Short films 12 (2019 there were 13)

So, the difference isn’t all that big. I think the main contrast to an ordinary year, will be the number of people… Both the film stars and the public. It will be a calm and tranquil event, compared to what’s normal.

Cate Blanchett

The Australian superstar will spread some starlight onto the festival, as the President of the Jury. Looking at the participant films, I don’t think last year’s heated debates about directors would arise. And Polanski is back in Paris, where he will have to contemplate over the sentence by a Judge to not restore his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Polanski sued in April 2019, asking the court to compel the Academy to make him a member in good standing again.

Though, some things are already moving. What is a great Festival without a mandatory scandal?

Le Sorelle Macaluso (The Macaluso sisters), a film by the Italian director Emma Dante, is scrutinized. It is claimed that a supposedly explicit screenshot, showing a young girl in underwear in a room full of pigeons, is the official poster for the Venice Film Festival 2020. The official poster of the festival is this one, though. They are always paintings, never photos.

Together with Mrs. Blanchett in the Jury, there will be the American actor Matt Dillon, as well as Veronika FranzJoanna Hogg, Nicola Lagioia, Christian Petzold, and Ludivine Sagnier

More options to visit the festival online.

venice film festival 2020Festival Scope will show 15 of the films in the sections Horizons, Out of Competition, and Biennale College Cinema free of charge. Not the main competition, but it’s a great way to get acquainted with some of the participants from home. You just create an account and you will be able to see the films. Here’s the link.

The films

The organizers have tried very hard to assure the quality of the festival. Although the times are what they are, and the overwhelming crisis has made it difficult to manage such a big event, the Venice film festival 2020 is definitely a valid manifestation. Some countries are more penalized by the pandemic. 

Obviously, the USA has fewer films on the list. And as the United States still is the major film producer in the world, that means a significant draw-back. But looking at the titles, I’d say that the festival board with the president, Alberto Barbera, has managed to compensate very well.

And many countries have had entries canceled or postponed. In short, the festival has a slightly more European weight. There are still many interesting names in the Venice film festival of 2020.

Majid Majidi (India), Nicole Garzia (France), Gianfranco Rosi (Italy-USA) Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan), (Nope, no relative to Akira). These excellent artists, as well as others certainly will not let us down.  

And some Americans are contributing even if we’ll have to wait and see if they will come over in person.

Security at the Venice film festival 2020.

There are quite a lot of special rules. To avoid any transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus the Venice film festival 2020 will be very different from previous years. And anybody who would like to attend will have to be prepared. Here’s a list of everything you should know before buying a ticket:Crowded Film Festival

  • The Red Carpet. There will be no possibility for the public to witness the access of delegations to the Main Hal at the Film Place at Lido. For photographers and other authorized personnel, there will be a strict protocol for distancing.
  • Access. The area of the Venice film festival 2020-area will be accessed through 9 road/lagoon gates. These gates will be equipped with a system for measuring body temperature. In case of temperature over 37,5° celsius (98,6°F), access will be denied.
  • Tickets. All tickets will have to be booked in advance online. No tickets will be sold through ticket offices. Here’s the link.
  • Printed materials. Most of the information concerning the festival will be given to the public in electronic format, reducing the distribution of printed materials.
  • Every second seat will be empty during screening. 
  • In all public areas, hand sanitizers are available. 
  • Mask wearing is mandatory inside and outside.
  • Testings. Guests and accredited guests from non-Schengen countries are requested to test for Covid-19 in accordance with the regulations for entering Italy. The test is to be carried out before departure. A second swab will be carried out in Venice by the Biennale, again only for those for whom testing is required.
  • Tracking of all participants. All participants – accredited, holders of passes, tickets, and season tickets – will be tracked while accessing the rooms or other functional areas within the buildings.

The films at the Venice film festival 2020

Venezia77, the main section

  • Amants, by Nicole Garcia (France)
  • The Disciple, by Chaitanya Tamhane (India)
  • Dorogie tovarišči, by Andrej Končalovskij (Russia)
  • Khōrshīd, by Majid Majidi (Iran)
  • Laila in Haifa, by Amos Gitai (Israel, France)
  • Miss Marx, by Susanna Nicchiarelli (Italy, Belgium)
  • Nomadland, by Chloé Zhao (USA)
  • Notturno, by Gianfranco Rosi (Italy, France, and Germany)
  • Nuevo orden, by Michel Franco (Mexico, France)
  • Padrenostro, by Claudio Noce (Italy)
  • Pieces of a Woman, by Kornél Mundruczó (Canada, Hungary)
  • Quo Vadis, Aida?, by Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, France)
  • Səpələnmiş ölümlər arasında, by Hilal Baydarov (Azerbaijan, Mexico, USA)
  • Śniegu już nigdy nie będzie, by Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert (Polonia, Germania)
  • Le sorelle Macaluso, by Emma Dante (Italia)
  • Supai no tsuma, by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Giappone)
  • Und morgen die ganze Welt, by Julia von Heinz (Germania, Francia)
  • The World To Come, by Mona Fastvold (Stati Uniti d’America)

Venice Film Festival 2020 – Out of competition


  • Assandira, by Salvatore Mereu (Italy)
  • The Duke, by Roger Michell (UK)
  • Dì yī lú xiāng, by Ann Hui (China)
  • The Human Voice, by Pedro Almodóvar  (Spain)
  • Lacci, by Daniele Luchetti (Italy)
  • Lasciami andare, by Stefano Mordini (Italy)
  • Nag-won-ui bam, by Park Hoong-jung (South Korea)
  • Mandibules, by Quentin Dupieux (France, Belgium)
  • Mosquito State, by Filip Jan Rymsza (Poland)
  • One Night in Miami, by Regina King (USA)
  • Run Hide Fight, by Kyle Rankin (USA)


  • City Hall, by Frederick Wiseman (USA)
  • Crazy, Not Insane, by Alex Gibney (USA)
  • Final Account, by Luke Holland (UK)
  • Fiori, fiori, fiori!, by Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
  • Greta, by Nathan Grossman (Sweden)
  • Hopper/Welles,by Orson Welles (USA)
  • Molecole, by Andrea Segre (Italy)
  • Narciso em férias,  by Renato Terra and Ricardo Calil (Brazil)
  • Paolo Conte, via con me, by Giorgio Verdelli (Italy)
  • Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, by Luca Guadagnino (Italy)
  • Sportin’ Life, by Abel Ferrara (Italy)
  • La verità su “La dolce vita”, by Giuseppe Pedersoli (Italy)

Venice Film Festival 2020 – Orizzonti / Horizons

  • Bùzhǐ bùxiū, by Wang Jing (China)
  • Dashte khamoush, by Ahmad Bahrami (Iran)
  • The Furnace,by Roderick MacKay (Australia)
  • Gaza mon amour, by Tarzan e Arab Nasser (Palestina, France, Germany, Qatar)
  • Guerra e pace, by Massimo D’Anolfi and Martina Parenti (Italy, Switzerland)
  • Jenayat-e bi deghat, by Shahram Mokri (Iran)
  • Lahi, hayop, by Lav Diaz (The Philippines)
  • Listen, by Ana Rocha de Sousa (UK, Portugal)
  • Mainstream, by Gia Coppola USA)
  • The Man Who Sold His Skin, by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland)
  • Mīla, by Christos Nikou (Greece, Poland, Slovenia)
  • Meel patthar, by Ivan Ayr (India)
  • Nowhere Special, by Uberto Pasolini (Italy, Romania, UK))
  • La nuit des rois, by Philippe Lacôte (Ivory coast, France, Canada)
  • I predatori,by Pietro Castellitto (Italy)
  • Sary mysyq, by Ádilhan Erjanov (Kazakstan, France)
  • Selva trágica, by Yulene Olaizola (Mexico, France, Colombia)
  • La troisième guerre, by Giovanni Aloi (France)
  • Zanka Contact,by Ismaël El Iraki (France, Marocco, Belgium)

Venice Film Festival

venice film festival

Venice Film Festival 2019

The Venice Film Festival 2019 is over. It started August 28 and ended September 7. 21 films competed for the Golden Lion, the two Silver lions and 5 other prizes in the main festival. 24 films were shown out of competition. 98 films participated in other festivals connected to the Venice International Film Festival, such as Horizons, Venice Classics (restored classical movies), Sconfini (Trespassing), International Critics’ Week, and Venice Days. 

The Mandatory scandal

When it became known that the direction of the Venice film festival 2019 had invited Roman Polanski to participate with his film A Gentleman and a spy – J’Accuse, a lot of criticism from inside the festival organization as well as from outside began.

venice film festival 2019
Alberto Barbera

In 1977 Polanski was arrested for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey. As a result of the plea bargain, Polanski should be guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, other 5 charges should be dropped. After Polanski had been told that the judge, Laurence J. Rittenband, planned to disregard the plea bargain and send him to jail instead of letting him serve his sentence as probation, he fled the US and have since then lived in Europe. And since he never turned up at the court sentencing, the charges are still pending.

Anyway, the director of the Venice film festival 2019, Alberto Barbera, defended his choice of artists and films, saying: I’m convinced that we must distinguish the artist from the man. “The history of art is full of artists who have committed crimes of different nature, but we have continued to admire their works. The same goes for Polanski, which I think is one of the last masters of European cinema still in business

venice film festival 2019
Lucrecia Martel

Then the president of the jury, Lucrecia Martel, right at the beginning of the festival stated that: “When we talk about a film we talk about the work of a human being. The worst thing we could do is to separate the man from his work. Anyone who thinks this is good, is wrong

And when the result was out about the winners, and everybody knew that the first price, The Golden Lion, didn’t go to Polanski but he had to settle for the second price, The Silver Lion, The grand jury prize. Then Martel stated: “I can not separate man from art. I think an important aspect of a man emerges in his work. The presence of Roman Polanski in the competition, after what he has done in the past, makes me so uncomfortable that I will not participate in the gala in honor of his film. It would not be fair to all the women I represent, the Argentine women, victims of rape “.

I, for one, would have given anything to be a little fly on the wall, and hear the discussion at the jury’s meetings.

All the winners of the 76th Venice Film Festival 2019

These are the winners of the 76th Venice International Film Festival, the main competition.

Chairman of the jury: Lucrecia Martel, members: Stacy MartinMary HarronPiers HandlingRodrigo PrietoShinya TsukamotoPaolo Virzì :

GOLDEN LION for Best Film to:
by Todd Phillips (USA)


by Roman Polanski (France, Italy)

Roy Andersson
for the film OM DET OÄNDLIGA (ABOUT ENDLESSNESS) (Sweden, Germany, Norway)

for Best Actress:
Ariane Ascaride
in the film GLORIA MUNDI by Robert Guédiguian (France, Italy)

for Best Actor:
Luca Marinelli
in the film MARTIN EDEN by Pietro Marcello (Italy, France)

for the film JI YUAN TAI QI HAO (No.7 CHERRY LANE) by Yonfan (Hong Kong SAR, China)

by Franco Maresco (Italy)

for Best Young Actor or Actress to:
Toby Wallace
in the film BABYTEETH by Shannon Murphy (Australia)

The three top films


Todd Philips

The winner, Joker, is a very good movie, no doubt on that one. 

But if I’m not completely wrong… And I’m not, it’s not the usual winner-type of a movie. Let’s look at the last five years of winners:

2014  A pigeon sitting on a branch reflects on existence by Roy Andersson

2015 I Look at you by Lorenzo Vigas

2016 The Woman Who Left by Lav Diaz

2017 The Shape of Water Guillermo del Toro. (This one is a Hollywood reasonably mainstream movie, but still kind of out on the water so to speak…)

2018 Rome by Alfonso Cuarón

Joaquin Phoenix

Joker does not at all fit into this list. And it probably has something to do with the conflict between Polanski as a representative of the old, male film-industry and Lucretia Martel.

It’s a very good film though. Todd Philips enlists Joaquin Phoenix and the result is a very dark and very convincing film. The fictional character debuted in 1940 in the first issue of the comic book series “Batman”, and it’s maybe the psychopath most told on the big screen.  The Joker of 1966, Cesar Romero, in the film by Leslie H. Martinson, the late Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (2008) by Christopher Nolan and Jared Leto in “Suicide Squad” (2016) by David Ayer are just a few of them.

Superheroes often have a double identity, but not in the case of Arthur Fleck’s Joker, a failed actor who is the son of a sick woman. He is Joker even if he doesn’t know he is. In life, he wears a mask with a false smile, but it is a metaphorical mask that is not part of the man destined to become a hero in spite of himself, having accidentally killed two imprudent white-collar workers in the subway.

I’m a great fan of Joaquin Phoenix, but I must say, in this film he’s better than he ever was. He has a depth and an essence to the character, to himself, that is seldom seen. His marked face is almost too true, even though the story is told straight forward in a theatrical way. A particularly successful soundtrack closes the circle, it is “Smile” in the Jimmy Durante version, which paradoxically underlines the most tragic moments of the opera. A perfect film from all points of view

It’s a documentary about Batman and Gotham City, through the eyes of his worst enemy. 

Robert de Niro takes on the role of Murray Franklin the talk show host, and he does it with the authority of the great movie star that he is. 

J’accuse (An officer and a spy)

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

At the press conference at the beginning of the festival, the whole production team was present, but without Polanski. The co-producer Luca Barbareschi tried to clear the air a little saying that, since the director wasn’t present, the rest of the crew would gladly answer any questions about the film but would leave out any comment about the direction of the film. He also said that this isn’t a court to judge in favor of this or that, but a wonderful festival of cinema. As such it should deal with the art, and no more.

Then he started thanking everybody for their contribution, as usual. Very interestingly, he then went on thanking God for his collaboration with Polanski in giving us this marvelous film. When the collaborators entered the room at the beginning, all the journalists took up spontaneous applause. 

The film is a masterpiece. It tells the story of Alfred Dreyfus (Louis Garrel) who was a Jewish captain in the French general staff, accused of selling military secrets to the Germans. He was convicted and exiled to the Devil’s Island off the South American coast, just like the film Papillon from 1973 with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Here too the main character is innocent and we actually get to follow the figure of Colonel Picquart, played by Jean Dujardin.

This is a smart move and we get to follow Picquart’s work to find the truth about the supposed Spy-affair, more than Dreyfus life on the island. Picquart has just been promoted to lead the office of military intelligence and discovers how disorganized and corrupt the whole office really is. To this, there’s a strong antisemite blanket covering the whole french military as well as the society. Picquart doesn’t oppose this but carries out his duties more of a conviction that it’s the right thing to do. 

There’s an obvious similarity between Polanski’s situation and that of Dreyfus in the film. And I don’t think it’s just a coincident that he choose this story for his newest film.  

Om det oändliga  (About endlessness)

Best Director venice film festival 2019
Roy Andersson

Roy Andersson

Not everybody likes the films of Roy Andersson, but he’s still a phenomenon without equals in the modern film industry. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival in 2014  with A pigeon sitting on a branch reflects on existence. And now he’s won again, not the Golden Lion but the prize for best director’s prize.  And I think this is extremely important for a man who’s brought something completely new into the business. 

Roy Andersson started out as a conventional filmmaker, but after having flopped and exceded the budget on his second film, he got “blacklisted” by the Swedish film society. Nobody wanted to work with him anymore and he had to live on commercials for 25 years. Doing these extremely short publicity films he developed a special technique, and his failure in film turned into a success in the commercial business … And he made some money. 

When he started making film again in 2000 the style was something no one had ever seen before. Andersson says he saw a painting of the Dutch painter Pieter Bruegel, and he was amazed how the image grew into the distance rather than from left to right or from top to bottom. 

In his films, all scenes are static, filmed with one fixed camera. The action then takes place in a prolonged depth-axel. Things happen upfront but also behind, in the background and even at the horizon. 

My family all hates his films. Andersson is not for everybody. But I think in a world of conformity, it’s very refreshing with someone who dares to stand out. And it brings hope to the film industry when you see that the medium still can evolve.   

The new entry follows the same tradition. It’s a series of paintings of man in the present and the past. Ironical and sharp in the telling, pale and beige in the style. The criticism of society and Andersson’s own reflections become obvious as if it was written out on the screen. It’s a very slow, very foggy and dusty, but extremely complex entry.   

Way to go Roy. 

Sunset lido di venezia