Nearly half of the competition title's are directed by women as Venice alters its 2020 edition amid coronavirus concerns.

By Joey Nolfi
July 28, 2020 at 09:22 AM EDT
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Cinematic excellence will live on atop the Lido amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Venice International Film Festival has announced a tightened lineup as part of its 2020 edition, with 60 films from over 50 countries screening in the official selection (as opposed to last year's 80).

Joining Chloé Zhao's previously announced, Frances McDormand-starring Venice title Nomadland in the main competition are Kornel Mundruczo's Shia LaBeouf family drama Pieces of a Woman, Mona Fastvold's The World to Come starring The Crown's Vanessa Kirby (who also appears opposite LaBeouf in Mundruczo's film), and Miss Marx, which follows Romola Garai as Karl Marx’s daughter, Eleanor — all of which will be assessed by Cate Blanchett and her Venice jury in the race for the festival's top prize, the Golden Lion. Of the 18 films in the competition, eight were directed by women, marking a major step forward for representation at a festival that only included two films directed by women in last year's hunt for the Golden Lion.

Out-of-competition titles showing at the festival's 77th event are Gia Coppola's Andrew Garfield-starring Mainstream, a new Alex Gibney's serial killer documentary Crazy, Not Insane, Luca Guadagnino's nonfiction chronicle of the famed shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo: The Shoemaker of Dreams, and Nathan Grossman's Greta Thunberg doc.

Though other similar festivals like Telluride and Cannes have canceled their 2020 presentations altogether due to the spread of COVID, Venice will continue with major alterations to its operations, including temperature checks and outdoor screenings limited to half capacity, while social distancing and mask-wearing will be required.

Alongside the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and Telluride, Venice is typically a major Oscar launching pad on the fall awards circuit, but its impact on this year's race remains to be seen as the Academy has changed its own eligibility requirements and timeline of events in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced studios to shift release dates, cancel major premieres, and bank some hefty contenders for 2021.

The 77th Venice International Film Festival runs Sept. 2-12. See the full lineup here.

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