The annual Venice Film Festival returns today as the brightest stars of the film industry descend on Venice Lido.

One of the “big three” film festivals, along with Cannes Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival, this year’s Venice Film Festival will take place from August 29 until September 8.

The oldest film festival in the world is celebrating its 75th edition this year, and will provide a first-look at what films will be big during the upcoming award season.

As well as showcasing virtual reality films for the first time, filmmakers will compete for Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion.

Here’s our definitive guide to the films in the running for the coveted award and when to watch them:

First Man by Damien Chazelle

La La Land director Damien Chazelle reunites with the film’s star Ryan Gosling for First Man, a biopic following the life of first the man on the moon Neil Armstrong, focusing on the years leading up to the Apollo 11 launch.

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Screening: August 29 2018       

Non-Fiction by Olivier Assayas

Starring and Guillaume Canet and Juliette Binoche, French comedy Non-Fiction looks at the changing world of book publishing through the relationship between an editor and a publisher. As well as the Venice Film Festival, the film will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Screening: August 31 2018

The Sisters Brothers by Jacques Audiard

Western dark comedy The Sisters Brothers is based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt. John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix star as hitmen on a mission to kill a thieving prospector. Audiard’s previous film, crime drama Dheepan, won Best Film at Cannes in 2015.

Screening: September 2 2018

Vox Lux by Brady Corbet

American music drama Vox Lux stars Black Swan lead Natalie Portman as international pop star Celeste and follows her rise to stardom after a violent tragedy. The film features an original score composed by Scott Walker and Sia.

Screening: September 4 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by Joel and Ethan Coen

The latest offering from the Coen brothers follows six different storylines centring on a man named Buster Scruggs. Although the film has already been tipped for an Oscar, it has also courted controversy through the inclusion of Netflix productions among this year’s Golden Lion nominees. The film is due to be released on Netflix in November.

Screening: August 31 2018

Roma by Alfonso Cuarón

From the director of Gravity and Children of Men, the much-awaited Roma follows the life of a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico city, inspired by Cuarón’s own upbringing. Netflix has distribution rights for the film.

Screening: August 30 2018

22 July by Paul Greengrass

22 July is based on the events and aftermath of the 2011 Norway terrorist attacks, a mass shooting at a summer youth camp near Oslo in which 77 people were killed.

Screening: September 5 2018

Suspiria by Luca Guadagnino

Following the success of Call Me by Your Name, Guadagnino returns with supernatural horror Suspiria which follows a dancer, played by Dakota Johnson, who uncovers something sinister about her dance troupe. In an interview, Guadagnino claimed that the film will be “the most disturbing experience you can have.”

Screening: September 1 2018

Never Look Away by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

German psychological thriller Never Look Away follows artist Kurt Barnert as he flees to West Germany, tormented by his childhood under the Nazi regime. The film stars Tom Schilling, Paula Beer and Sebastian Koch.

Screening: September 4 2018

The Nightingale by Jennifer Kent

Set in 1825 in the British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania), The Nightingale follows a young convict woman seeking revenge for violence committed against her. The festival has come under fire for including just one female director in competition, and The Nightingale is the only Red Lion nominee to be directed by a woman.

Screening: September 5 2018

The Favourite by Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, The Favourite is a comedy following two cousins competing to become court favourites during the reign of Queen Anne. The film will have its UK premiere at the BFI London Film Festival.

Screening: 30 August 2018

Peterloo by Mike Leigh

Peterloo is a dramatisation of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre in which 15 people were killed in a pro-democracy rally. The film will also be screened at the BFI London Film Festival in Manchester, where the film is set.

Screening: 1 September 2018

Capri-Revolution by Mario Martone

Italian-French period drama Capri-Revolution is inspired by the commune that painter Karl Diefenbach set up on the island of Capri at the beginning of the 20th century. The film tells the story of an encounter between a goatheard called Lucia, the commune, and the town’s doctor.

Screening: 6 September 2018

What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire? by Roberto Minervini

What You Gonna Do When The World’s On Fire? is an Italian documentary exploring the killing of young African American men in 2017 and the impact on communities in the American South. The film is described as “a blistering meditation on the state of race in America.”

Screening: 1 September 2018

Sunset by László Nemes

Sunset follows the life of a young girl growing up in Budapest before World War I. Director Nemes previously won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Son of Saul in 2016.

Screening: September 2 2018

Close Enemies by David Oelhoffen

Belgian-French police thriller Close Enemies follows two childhood friends, one of whom becomes a police officer and the other a criminal. Star Reda Kateb also featured in Oelhoffen’s previous film, Far From Men.

Screening: 1 September 2018

Nuestro Tiempo by Carlos Reygadas

Nuestro Tiempo follows the life of family living in the Mexican countryside raising fighting bulls and the troubles they face when wife Esther becomes infatuated with a horse trainer. Director Reygadas stars alongside his real-life wife Natalia López.

Screening: 4 September 2018

At Eternity’s Gate by Julian Schnabel

Starring William Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate is a fictitious look at the final days of painter Vincent Van Gogh. The film will also be the closing night film of the 56th New York Film Festival in October.

Screening: 3 September 2018

Acusada by Gonzalo Tobal

Argentine crime thriller Acusada follows high school student Dolores accused of the murder of her best friend. The film will also be screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Screening: 4 September 2018

Killing by Shinya Tsukamoto

Tsukamoto’s Killing follows the life samurai Mokunoshin Tsuzuki in the lead-up to the Boshin War. The director describes the film as exploring the “ultimate horror of war.”

Screening 6 September 2018


Want to know more about the Venice Film Festival? Here’s our guide to last year’s festival.