The 79th Venice Film Festival Begins in Italy - Unveiling New Films
by Alex Billington
August 31, 2022
It's time to wade our way back into the world of cinema, scouring for the next awe-inspiring masterpiece, with the 2022 fall film festival season now underway. Time flies these days, before you know it it's already September, more than half the year is over, the awards season is underway, the holidays are a few months away, and there's tons of new movies to watch. It happens just like that! So here we are. The 2022 Venice Film Festival kicked off today in the gorgeous city of Venezia on the Adriatic coast of Italy. This is my 6th year back at the festival, I've been coming to Venice ever since 2017 to enjoy the latest incredible films that La Biennale is premiering. The festival prides itself on competing with Cannes to premiere the best of the best, remarkable filmmaking from every corner of the world. And as always, there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now (except maybe Telluride?) watching all these films on Labor Day weekend. Follow along, here or on Twitter or on Letterboxd, and check back for updates on the latest reveals from the world of cinema.
It's hard to describe the Venice Film Festival – like in a Christopher Nolan movie, you can't understand it, you must feel it and experience it first hand. There's good and bad sides to it. The festival takes place on a nearby island called the Lido, which is just the name for a beach – in Venice it's a long, skinny stretch of land to the east of the iconic main island. Here is where the historic Excelsior hotel still stands (where the very first Venice Film Festival took place in 1932) and the Casino and Palazzo are located - where most of the major screenings are held. Going back and forth to the Lido on the city's vaporetto boats, queuing up in the massive cinema halls, catching tasty Italian food on the fly, is all part of the experience here. There is of course a glamorous red carpet, but I'm just here for all the films - and maybe some pasta and cicchetti, too.
Last year, we were treated to some Top 10 favorites including Dune and Spencer, plus gems like The Lost Daughter and The Power of the Dog. The 2022 selection seems just as promising. They're showing Noah Baumbach's new film White Noise, based on the Don DeLillo novel; along with Luca Guadagnino's latest film Bones and All, also an adaptation; Todd Field's first new film in 16 years called TÁR featuring Cate Blanchett (watch the teaser); Laura Poitras' documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed; Darren Aronofsky's latest film The Whale starring Brendan Fraser; Martin McDonagh's latest The Banshees of Inisherin (watch the trailer); Olivia Wilde's intriguing new film Don't Worry Darling; Florian Zeller's The Son with Hugh Jackman (watch the teaser); Andrew Dominik's latest Blonde; documentary director Frederick Wiseman's first narrative feature Un Couple; and others. There's also always a few surprises and discoveries, and my daily goal is always to watch watch watch whatever I can during these next two weeks.
For more info about the festival and to view the entire line-up of films playing at Venice 2022, visit their website. This also includes short films and an "immersive" section, along with all of the features. There's also the Venice Days + Venice Critics' Week sidebars showcasing more films in addition to the main line-up.
With the Venice Film Festival now underway, I'll be dedicated entirely to the festival and the films here for the next two weeks. Venice 2022 runs from August 31st until September 10th, ending Saturday night with the awards. Follow my daily coverage and instant reactions on Twitter as usual @firstshowing, follow my photography updates as always on Instagram @abillington, follow my reviews on Letterboxd, and check the site for daily updates on films + reviews. Back in 2016, I wrote an essay about Why I Can't Stop Going to Film Festivals. What I said then is still true. It always is. I'm still totally addicted film festivals, and they still fill me with so much life and energy. I'm really looking forward to watching most of the films in the line-up this year, including random docs that I haven't even heard about before arriving at the fest. I'm so glad to be back, so excited to start watching, hopeful that this year in Venice will be another memorable one.