The Venice International Film Festival will take place from August 30-September 9, 2023.
Last year, for the 79th festival, we rounded up favorite spots around Venice. Now, we’re celebrating the festival’s 80th birthday with a preview of honorees, jury members, and films.
We would still urge you to book a reservation at Ristorante al Covo, but here’s everything else you need to know to get ready for Venice 2023!
Some accomplished filmmakers have already been selected for special honors.
Leung is well-known at Venice – but not for playing a Marvel villain! Amazingly, he acted in three films that won the Golden Lion. Now, Leung will receive his own for “bringing compelling sensitivity to all his roles.”
A past recipient of Venice’s lifetime achievement award, American director William Friedkin will be dearly missed after his passing on August 7, 2023. As the festival organizers continued preparing to screen his films The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and The Exorcist, they credited Friedkin with “basically inventing the modern blockbuster.”
On the eve of the festival, guests are invited to attend a double feature of restored films in honor of celebrated Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, who passed away on January 16, 2023. Together, Orson Welles’ Portrait of Gina and Mario Soldati’s La provinciale will pay tribute to Lollobrigida’s charisma and artistry.
The International Juries
After Presidents for the International Juries were appointed in May, the complete list of members was released in July. They are all cinema luminaries, and many have been previously honored at Venice.
This year, the President of the Venezia 80 Competition Jury is Damien Chazelle. His film La La Land won the Academy Award® for Best Achievement in Directing in 2017, when Chazelle was just 32 years old. No director has earned the honor at a younger age.
The other members of the Venezia 80 Competition Jury are Saleh Bakri, Jane Campion (winner of a 2021 Silver Lion), Mia Hansen-Løve, Gabriele Mainetti, Martin McDonagh, Santiago Mitre, Laura Poitras (winner of the 2022 Golden Lion), and Shu Qi.
The other members of the Orizzonti Jury are Kaouther Ben Hania, Kahlil Joseph (co-director of Beyoncé’s Lemonade), Jean-Paul Salomé, and Tricia Tuttle.
The President of the “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film Jury is Alice Diop. Last year, her film Saint Omer won the Silver Lion (Grand Jury Prize) and the “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film, a prize commonly called the Lion of the Future.
The other members of the Lion of the Future Jury are Faouzi Bensaïdi, Laura Citarella, Andrea De Sica, and Chloe Domont.
This year, festival guests can watch over 70 new films and over 25 restored classics. We’ll describe the opening and closing films, as well as a few contenders for top prize, the Golden Lion.
The festival’s opening film is Comandante, directed by Edoardo De Angelis. Based on a true story, Comandante paints the portrait of a World War II naval captain who sank an enemy ship yet saved its drowning passengers.
The festival’s closing film is La sociedad de la nieve, directed by J. A. Bayona. Based on another true story, it follows survivors of a plane crash as they struggle against snow and ice in the Andes.
In an interview with Deadline, Venice festival director Alberto Barbera predicted that at least three contenders for the Golden Lion will also compete for Academy Awards®: Michael Mann’s Ferrari, David Fincher’s The Killer, and Bradley Cooper’s Maestro.
Mann’s biopic stars Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari, the famous racecar driver/designer. Fincher’s thriller stars Michael Fassbender as a self-conflicted hitman. Cooper’s biopic stars himself as composer Leonard Bernstein.
In addition, we’re eyeing new films from female directors. Sofia Coppola’s biopic Priscilla illuminates the life of Elvis from the vantage of his wife, played by Cailee Spaeny. Ava DuVernay’s documentary Origin is based on Isabel Wilkerson’s critique of social divisions in Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
Viva il Cinema!
As you can see, there’s a lot going on at the 80th Venice International Film Festival! We’ve only just begun to describe the amazing lineup. After reviewing it, let us know in the comments which film you are most eager to see.
We hope, by now, if not before, that you share our excitement for Venice 2023!