Mulaqat, a Pakistani short film, has been selected for the 78th Venice Film Festival. In September, the 20-minute short film will be shown at the renowned film festival. The short film stars Parizae Fatima and Hamza Mushtaq and is directed by Seemab Gul.
After a scaled-down 2020 year, the world’s oldest film festival, which is considered as a showcase for Oscar contenders as awards season approaches, wants to bring back Hollywood celebrities this year.
The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion, Parallel Mothers by Pedro Almodovar, and Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, are among the films competing for the top award at this year’s festival.
Campion, well known for The Piano, will direct a drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a cruel ranch owner in 1920s Montana who begins a campaign against a young widow, played by Kirsten Dunst.
The Power of the Dog, a Netflix production, had been asked to show out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but instead chose Venice, which, unlike Cannes, does not need a theatrical distribution for films competing for the top award.
Parallel Mothers reunites Almodovar with one of his favorite actresses, Penelope Cruz, while Spencer, directed by Chilean Pablo Larrain, is set during a weekend in the early 1990s when Diana chose to divorce Prince Charles.
They’re among 21 films in the main competition, including Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter, based on an Elena Ferrante book, and Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God, one of five Italian titles vying for the Golden Lion.
Denis Villeneuve’s highly awaited science-fiction story Dune, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, and Ridley Scott’s medieval epic The Last Duel, starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck, will both debut in Venice out-of-competition.
The return to the Lido shoreline of “US studios and A-list stars who were a little lacking last year” was welcomed by festival director Alberto Barbera.
He said at a virtual press conference that the quality of the films this year was better than normal, with some films spanning three hours or more, some shockingly violent sequences, and many tales with powerful female protagonists.
“It’s as if the pandemic helped stimulate creativity all around,” he said.
Anti-Covid measures implemented last year, such as having the capacity of festival theatres to 4,000 spectators, will stay in force as infection rates increase again.