55 titles are announced in the festival’s four official line-ups, the International Competition, Orizzonti, Out of Competition, and Venice Classics (restored titles). More play in the festival’s two independent strands, International Critics’ Week and Venice Days.
From a NZ perpective – indeed a southern hemisphere perspective – there’s little direct involvement. Ex-pat director Andrew Niccol (The Host, In Time, Gattaca) premieres his western Good Kill in competition. The film was announced earlier this week for a Special Presentation title at Toronto, where it will play alongside Toa Fraser’s The Dead Lands.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman will open the festival. The closing film will be The Golden Era, from Hong Kong veteran Ann Hui, who’ll also preside over the Orrizonti jury.
Venice is the world’s oldest international film festival, but still made its first appearance two years one of this year’s honorees, 84-year old documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.
Wiseman is a three-time winner of Emmy awards for News Documentary Programming. Seven of his films have played previous editions of Venice, and his latest film, National Gallery, is currently playing the NZIFF having premiered in Cannes in April.
The festival will also honour editor Thelma Schoonmaker.
Schoonmaker has been Martin Scorsese’s editor throughout his career. She has won most of her major awards for titles he directed: Oscars for Raging Bull, The Aviator and The Departed, BAFTAs for Raging Bull and Goodfellas.
The 71st Venice Biennale runs 27 August – 6 September.