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Venice Film Festival to Kick Off with Daniele Luchetti’s ‘Lacci,’ First Italian Opener in 11 Years

The full lineup for the 2020 Venice Film Festival will be unveiled July 28.

6003089 07.09.2019 Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips pose with the Golden Lion for Best Film Award for "Joker" during the Winners Photocall at the 76th annual Venice International Film Festival, in Venice, Italy. Ekaterina Chesnokova / Sputnik  via AP

Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips pose with the Golden Lion for Best Film Award for “Joker” during the Winners Photocall at the 76th annual Venice International Film Festival

Sputnik via AP

The Venice Film Festival has announced that Daniele Luchetti’s “Lacci” will open the 77th edition on September 2, 2020. The decision is a notable one as “Lacci” becomes the first Italian movie to open the Venice Film Festival in 11 years. The last Italian opener was the 2009 opener, with Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baarìa.” Luchetti’s “Lacci” is based on Domenico Starnone’s 2017 novel of the same name about a potential affair that threatens a marriage. The cast includes Alba Rohrwacher, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Morante, Silvio Orlando, and Linda Caridi.

“Recently, we have all feared that cinema might become extinct,” Luchetti said in a statement (via Deadline). “Yet during the quarantine it gave us comfort, like a light gleaming in a cavern. Today we have understood something else: that films, television series, novels, are indispensable in our lives. Long live festivals, then, which allow us to come together to celebrate the true meaning of our work. If anyone thought it served no purpose, they now know it is important to everyone. With Lacci I am honoured to open the dances of the first great festival in unexpected times.”

Added Venice chief Alberto Barbera, “It’s been eleven years since the Venice International Film Festival was opened by an Italian film. This happy opportunity was offered by the wonderful film directed by Daniele Luchetti, an anatomy of a married couple’s problematic coexistence, as they struggle with infidelity, emotional blackmail, suffering and guilt, with an added mystery that is not revealed until the end. Supported by an outstanding cast, the film is also a sign of the promising phase in Italian cinema today, continuing the positive trend seen in recent years, which the quality of the films invited to Venice this year will surely confirm.”

While the 2020 Venice Film Festival will be a slim-downed affair, Barbera has promised the official selection will still be significant. Around 50 films will be announced as part of Venice’s official selection on July 28. The main competition, officially titled Venezia 77, will feature approximately 20 films. All other titles in the official selection will debut either in the Out of Competition section or the Horizons section, dedicated to edgier fare. “Lacci” is included in the festival’s Out of Competition section.

The 2020 Venice Film Festival is gearing up to be the world’s first major film festival to run with semi-normality amid the coronavirus pandemic. It’s no surprise the event would go with an Italian opener this year, as the festival is expected to shine a greater spotlight on homegrown talent given international travel restrictions. There is currently a ban in place prohibiting travel into Italy from the U.S., although it could be lifted by July 31.

Last year’s Venice opener was Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “The Truth,” and recent U.S. openers include Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” and Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing.”

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