Venice film fest returns with another blockbuster lineup

Paris: The Venice Film Festival returns Wednesday with an ultra-glitzy lineup, including the world premiere of sci-fi blockbuster “Dune” and Kristen Stewart’s turn as Princess Diana, cementing its status as a serious rival to Cannes.

After a low-key event last year due to the pandemic, La Mostra is raising the stakes once again in the battle for film fest supremacy with the sort of lineup that has drool running down the chins of red carpet gawkers and pretentious film critics alike.

The world’s oldest film festival has embraced Hollywood in recent years and its 78th edition, running September 1-11, is no exception.

“Dune” brings hot young things Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya to the Venice festival, while Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel” marks the bromantic return of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, writing and starring together for the first time since their Oscar-winning breakout “Good Will Hunting” in the 1990s.

But Venice still has serious arthouse chops, and the competition for the Golden Lion award features some of the era’s most revered filmmakers, including Spain’s Pedro Almodovar, Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino and New Zealand’s Jane Campion.

Almodovar opens the festival with the Penelope Cruz-starring “Parallel Mothers” and true to his provocative style, the poster was immediately banned on Instagram for featuring a lactating nipple. – AFP