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Wednesday September 23rd, 2020 10:07PM

76th Venice Film Festival to embrace Netflix productions

By The Associated Press

ROME (AP) — The 76th Venice Film Festival will feature three Netflix productions alongside Hollywood titles, embracing the streaming giant after the Cannes Film Festival excluded it for a second year in a row.

Among Venice's 21 competition titles, unveiled Thursday in Rome, is the Netflix-produced Panama Papers drama "The Laundromat," directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Meryl Streep and Antonio Banderas.

Netflix will also present Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story," starring Scarlett Johansson and Alan Alda, as well as David Michôd's "The King," with the latter debuting out of competition.

The world's oldest film festival also features Hollywood productions like Todd Phillips' "Joker" with Joaquin Phoenix in the comic book classic role, as well as Brad Pitt in the sci-fi space journey "Ad Astra," by James Gray.

The festival runs Aug. 28 to Sept. 7.

The competition also includes "J'accuse" by director Roman Polanski, a controversial figure in the #MeToo era. Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor in 1977 and fled the United States the following year.

Venice Film Festival Director Alberto Barbera acknowledged a lack of female directors in competition. Only two out of 21 directors are women, while last year there was one.

"There are a number of movies addressing the issue of the female condition in different parts of the world. Not all of these movies are directed by women, as female directors unfortunately are still a minority," Barbera said.

Barbera asserted that the way male directors now portray women reveals "a new form of sensitivity of the female universe, something that rarely happened in the past."

___

This story has been corrected to show there are 21 films in the Venice competition this year.

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