Venice Film Festival has today announced via its website that Daniele Luchetti’s “Lacci” will open the 77th edition of the festival, marking the first time an Italian film has opened the Italian festival in 11 years. The film will be screening out of competition.
The festival is set to begin on Sept. 2, 2020, and will run through to Sept. 12. It was previously announced that actress Anna Foglietta would host the opening and closing ceremonies of the festival.
Included in the festival’s announcement is the following quote from director Luchetti:
“Recently, we have all feared that cinema might become extinct. 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 honored to open the dances of the first great festival in unexpected times”.
Previous opening night films have included Oscar juggernauts “La La Land” and “Birdman,” with the last Italian film to open the festival being in 2009 with Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baarìa.” It is still unknown what impact travel restrictions will have on this year’s festival. Still, the announcement of an Italian opener allows shining a spotlight on local films now more than ever. The pandemic has had significant impacts on film festivals all over the world, and it will be intriguing to see how the 77th edition of Venice differs from previous years.
Also included in the festival’s announcement is a statement from festival director Alberto Barbera, speaking of his excitement for an Italian opener:
“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.”
The full lineup for the festival will be revealed on July 28, and there will be much anticipation as to which potential Oscar players will be featured this year. Last year’s festival saw Todd Phillips’ “Joker” win the prestigious Golden Lion, which paved the way for the film to become a major awards player, including an eventual Best Actor win for leading man Joaquin Phoenix.