Lido Dreams: In Anticipation of Venice 2021

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Editor at Large Dominic Corry takes a look at what the Letterboxd community is most anticipating in the 78th Venice Film Festival.

With a heavyweight line-up announcement right on the heels of a historic Cannes (which Brian Formo amply covered for us), the 78th Venice International Film Festival is living up to its reputation as the fest that represents the mid-point between bold cinematic visions and big artistic swings from the studios. 

More so than Cannes, Venice (which launched fourteen years before its French counterpart) can be an effective launching pad for buzz around creatively ambitious films designed for wide audiences.

Which makes it the right place for the world premiere of Denis Villeneuve’s new adaptation of Dune, about as big a swing as we’ve seen from the studios in the superhero blockbuster era. Dune will need a lot of buy-in to warrant studio investment in a second film—an especially precarious possibility, as Villeneuve’s film only covers the first half of Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi classic. 

There’s no shortage of love for Villeneuve on Letterboxd, so it makes sense that more than 150,000 members have the film on their watchlist. We’ll get the sequel yet, Denis! 

Edgar Wright is another filmmaker who regularly features highly in Letterboxd rankings, so no surprises that he’s the next director with the most watchlist adds, for his highly anticipated new work Last Night In Soho. Much excitement in our community for the film that with its Brian De Palma/Giallo vibes and white hot cast (The Queen’s Gambit’s Anya Taylor-Joy, Olds Thomasin McKenzie, Terrence freaking Stamp), almost seems specifically designed to tickle the fancy of our members. 

Someone else there is no shortage of love for around here is Kristen Stewart, starring as Diana, Princess of Wales in Jackie director Pablo Larraín’s new film Spencer, which honestly seems like it could go either way. Jackie certainly underwent some critical reassessment following its successful premiere at the 2016 festival. Nevertheless, our watchlist data shows plenty of Letterboxd members are officially anticipating his new effort, and we’re up for the ride.

There are also premieres from celebrated auteurs such as Palme d’Or winner Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog, filmed in New Zealand during lockdown, and her first feature film in twelve years), Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers), Ana Lily Amirpour (Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon), and Paul Schrader (The Card Counter). 

And that’s really only scratching the surface. Go deeper here, and keep an eye on Festiville for all your Venice coverage. Biennale Cinema 2021, as it’s also known, will be held from September 1 to 11 on the Lido, with Bong Joon-ho serving as the President of the Jury—a first for South Korea.

Last year, Nomadland picked up the Golden Lion. The year before that, Joker. So, a field wide open to Director Bong and his jury. Andiamo!