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10 Must-See Films at the 2019 Venice Film Festival

The Venice Film Festival, now awards season's most important proving ground, kicks off with "Joker," "Ad Astra," and a wide array of other exciting movies directed by men.

“Joker”

From “Gravity” and “First Man” to “Roma” and “A Star Is Born,” the Venice Film Festival has emerged as the true kickoff of the fall movie season, and the most reliable launching pad for the annual crop of awards contenders. This year’s edition, however, might have a slightly different complexion. For one thing, the only titles from major Hollywood studios are a much-delayed space epic from the director of “The Lost City of Z,” and a superhero movie (or superhero-adjacent movie, anyway) from the auteur who gave the world the “Hangover” franchise. Meanwhile, the biggest Oscar contender might once again come from Netflix, as Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” is already tipped to be a home run.

Of course, it goes without saying that Venice — the oldest film festival in the world — isn’t solely defined by the Academy Awards and its attendant publicity circus. On the contrary, the Lido is always lousy with exciting new work from all corners of the globe, and this year’s lineup is no exception: The 2019 edition will see world premieres of new work from the likes of Roy Andersson, Olivier Assayas, Kore-eda Hirokazu, and dozens of other famous men, whose movies will have the added pressure of answering for a slate that features as many films by accused rapists (Roman Polanski and Nate Parker) as it does Competition films directed by women.

Still, with a robust lineup of intriguing new work — all of which is being unveiled in Italy before it trickles down to Telluride, Toronto, and all points beyond — Venice is the festival to watch for a first glimpse at what the landscape will look like for the next six months.

Here are 10 can’t-miss films premiering at Venice in 2019.

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