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‘Spencer,’ ‘The Last Duel’ set for Venice Film Festival

Kristen Stewart
Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, will be among the films premiering at the 78th Venice International Film Festival in September.
(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

The Venice International Film Festival unveiled a starry lineup of world premieres for September — including Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, and Ridley Scott’s medieval drama “The Last Duel,” featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver.

The oldest film festival in the world is kicking off its 78th edition Sept. 1 on the Lido with the premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Madres paralelas,” starring Penelope Cruz. “Spencer” and “Madres paralelas” are among 21 features premiering as part of the official competition, which has often helped guide eventual Oscar best picture nominees and even winners.

Kristen Stewart, whose casting was scrutinized over the summer, embodies Lady Diana Spencer in the first image from Pablo Larraín’s biopic “Spencer.”

Other films competing for the Golden Lion include Ana Lily Amirpour’s fantasy “Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon,” with Kate Hudson and Craig Robinson; Maggie Gyllenhaal’s adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s “The Lost Daughter,” starring Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson; Paul Schrader’s crime drama “The Card Counter,” with Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish, and Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God.”

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Edgar Wright’s stylish psychological thriller “Last Night in Soho,” with Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, will also have its premiere in Venice out of competition before heading to the Toronto Film Festival.

Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” with Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons; Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of “Dune,” starring Timothée Chalamet, and “Halloween Kills” were all previously announced as part of the slate. Campion’s film, about brothers in 1920s Montana, is another competition title and one of two Netflix films debuting at the festival.

Oscar-winning “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho will serve as jury president at the Venice International Film Festival. He’s the first Korean to do so.

Last year, Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” premiered at the scaled-down but still in-person festival and was awarded the Golden Lion. This year, Zhao will help decide who gets that prize as a member of the main jury led by fellow Oscar winner Bong Joon-ho, who directed “Parasite.”

Following on the heels of the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival is expected to mostly return to its full glamour in September. The festival runs through Sept. 11.


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