Roman Polanski and the Joker Headed to the Venice Film Festival

Directors represented at Venice will also include Steven Soderbergh, Noah Baumbach, Todd Phillips, James Gray, Pablo Larrain, Alex Gibney and Tim Robbins

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski (Getty Images)

Roman Polanski’s “J’Accuse,” Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat” are among the films that will screen at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival, Venice organizers announced at a press conference in Rome on Thursday.

This will mark Polanski’s first appearance at a major festival since his May 2018 expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with the decision by the AMPAS Board of Governors referencing his 1978 guilty plea to a charge of statutory rape.

“J’Accuse,” which had been screening for buyers under the title “An Officer and a Spy,” is his dramatization of the Alfred Dreyfus scandal in 19th century France, and has been considered by some, sight unseen, as a comment of sorts on the #MeToo movement.

Other films in the Venice Film Festival main competition include James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” Pablo Larrain’s “Ema,” Atom Egoyan’s “Guest of Honour,” Haifaa al Mansour’s “The Perfect Candidate,” Ciro Guerra’s “Waiting for the Barbarians” and Olivier Assayas’ “Wasp Network.”

Only two of the 21 directors in the main competition are women, Mansour and Shannon Murphy (“Babyteeth”). Two days ago, the Toronto Film Festival announced 56 gala and special screenings, half of which were directed by women. A smattering of female directors are also represented in other sections at Venice.

Films screening out of competition in Venice will include “The King” by David Michod and “Adults in the Room” by Costa-Gavras, while the non-fiction out-of-competition films will include Alex Gibney’s “Citizen K,” Tim Robbins’ “45 Seconds of Laughter,” Lauren Greenfield’s “The Kingmaker,” Sergei Loznitsa’s “State Funeral” and “Roger Waters Us + Them,” co-directed by the former Pink Floyd bandleader Waters and by Sean Evans.

Venice already announced that “The Truth,” the English-language debut from Palme d’Or winning Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, will be the festival’s opening-night attraction, while Guiseppe Capotondi’s “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” with Mick Jagger and Elizabeth Debicki, will screen on its closing night.

While some Italian exhibitors were reportedly upset last year when the Netflix film “Roma” won the festival’s Golden Lion award, the streaming service has a presence on the Lido this year as well with Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat.”

The Venice Film Festival is the first of the fall festivals that debut most of the films that will be competing for film awards each year. It opens on August 28 and runs through Sept. 7, preceding but also overlapping both the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals.

In three of the last five years, the eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture – “Birdman” in 2014, “Spotlight” in 2015 and “The Shape of Water” in 2017 – premiered in Venice. Last year’s winner, “Green Book,” debuted in Toronto.

On Tuesday, Toronto announced the first group of films in its lineup, which is far larger than the Venice lineup. Telluride does not announce its lineup until the day before it begins, which this year will be Aug. 30.

Short films and additional programs can be found on the Venice Film Festival website.

The Venice lineup:

“The Truth,” Hirokazu Kore-eda (opening night)
“About Endlessness,” Roy Andersson
“Ad Astra,” James Gray
“Babyteeth,” Shannon Murphy
“Ema,” Pablo Larrain
“Gloria Mundi,” Robert Guediguian
“Guest of Honour,” Atom Egoyan
“A Herdade,” Tiago Guedes
“J’Accuse,” Roman Polanski
“Joker,” Todd Phillips
“The Laundromat,” Steven Soderbergh
“La mafia non e piu quella di una volta,” Franco Maresco
“Marriage Story,” Noah Baumbach
“Martin Eden,” Pietro Marcello
“No. 7 Cherry Lane,” Yonfan
“The Perfect Candidate,” Haifaa al Mansour
“Il Sindaco del Rione Santia,” Mario Martone
“The Painted Bird,” Vaclav Marhoul
“Saturday Fiction,” Lou Ye
“Waiting for the Barbarians,” Ciro Guerra
“Wasp Network,” Olivier Assayas

“Adults in the Room,” Costa Gavras
“The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Giuseppe Capotondi
“The King,” David Michod
“Mosul,” Matthew Michael Carnahan
“Seberg,” Benedict Andrews
“Tutt oil Mio Folle Amore,” Gabriele Salvatores
“Vivere,” Francesa Archibugi

“Electric Swan,” Konstantina Kotzamani
“Irreversible – Inversion Integrale,” Gaspar Noe
“The King,” David Michod
“Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut,” Matt Wells
“Eyes Wide Shut,” Stanley Kubrick
“The New Pope” (Episodes 2 and 7), Paolo Sorrentino
“ZeroZeroZero” (Episodes 1 and 2), Stefano Sollima

“Citizen K,” Alex Gibney
“Citizen Rosi,” Didi Gnocchi, Carolina Rosi
“Colectiv,” Alexander Nanau
“45 Seconds of Laughter,” Tim Robbins
“I Diari di Angela – Noi Due Cineasti. Capitolo Secondo,” Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi
“Il Pilaneta in Mare,” Andrea Segre
“The Kingmaker,” Lauren Greenfield
“No One Left Behind,” Guillermo Arriaga
“Roger Waters Us + Them,” Sean Evans, Roger Waters
“State Funeral,” Sergei Loznitsa
“Woman,” Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Anastasia Mikova

“Pelican Blood,” Katrin Gebbe (opening film)
“Atlantis,” Valentyn Vasyanovych
“Bik Eneich – Un Fils,” Mehdi M. Barsaoui
“Blanco en Blanco,” Theo Court
“Chola” (“Shadow of Water”), Sasidharan Sanal Kumar
“The Criminal Man,” Dmitry Mamuliya
“Giants Being Lonely,” Grear Patterson
“Haya, Maryam, Ayesha,” Sahraa Karimi
“Just 6.5,” Saeed Roustaee
“Madre,” Rodrigo Sorogoyen
“Mes Jours de Gloire,” Antoine De Bary
“Moffie,” Oliver Hermanus
“Nevia,” Nunzia De Stefano
“Qiqiu” (“Balloon”), Pema Tseden
“Revenir,” Jessica Palud
“Rialto,” Peter Mackie Burns
“Sole,” Carlo Sironi
“Verdict,” Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
“Zumiriki,” Oskar Alegria