The 2019 Venice Film Festival will open August 28 with the world premiere of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s highly-anticipated new drama “The Truth,” starring Ethan Hawke opposite French legends Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve. The drama is Kore-eda’s first film set outside his home country of Japan. The director’s last effort, “Shoplifters,” won the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
“The Truth” stars Deneuve as legendary French actress Fabienne and Binoche as her daughter, Lumir. Fabienne publishes a memoir about her life just as Lumir and her husband (Hawke) arrive in Paris to visit her, setting off a tense reunion between the mother and daughter that turns confrontational.
“The cast is prestigious, but the film itself recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house,” Korea-eda said in a statement to Venice, while also noting he shot the movie 10 weeks in Paris. “I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy, and reconciliation.”
Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera added, “The encounter between the universe of Japan’s most important filmmaker today and two beloved actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche brought to life a poetic reflection on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and the complex profession of acting.”
The decision to open Venice with “The Truth” marks the first time the prestigious film festival will not open with a Hollywood production since 2012. Hollywood studios have often used Venice’s opening night to launch some of their big Oscar contenders to varying degrees of success. The last three Venice openers were “First Man,” “Downsizing,” and “La La Land.” While the 2019 edition will start with an international title, U.S. films are still expected to make a big splash in the Lido thanks to “Ad Astra,” “Joker,” Noah Baumbach’s untitled Netflix drama, and more.
The 2019 Venice Film Festival kicks off August 28 and runs through September 7. IFC Films will release “The Truth” in North American theaters.