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‘Spencer’ headlines Venice film festival

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The world’s oldest film festival, regarded as a showcase for Oscar contenders as awards season approaches, hopes to welcome back Hollywood celebrities this year after a scaled-down 2020 edition.

New Zealand filmmaker Campion, known for ‘The Piano’, will present her drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a sadistic ranch owner who launches a campaign against a young widow, interpreted by Kirsten Dunst, in 1920s Montana.

‘The Power of The Dog’ had been invited to screen out of competition at the Cannes festival but opted instead for Venice, which unlike its French rival does not demand a theatrical release for films vying for the top prize.

Spain’s Almodovar reunites with one his favourite actresses, Penelope Cruz, in ‘Parallel Mothers’, while ‘Spencer’, by Chilean director Pablo Larrain, film centres on a weekend in the early 1990s when Diana decided to separate from Prince Charles.

They are among 21 films in the main competition, which include Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut ‘The Lost Daughter’, based on an Elena Ferrante novel, and the ‘The Hand of God’ by Paolo Sorrentino – one of five Italian titles seeking to scoop up the Golden Lion top award.

Ridley Scott’s medieval epic ‘The Last Duel’, starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck, and Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated science-fiction tale ‘Dune’, with Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, will both premiere in Venice out-of-competition. Reuters

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