This year's Venice Film Festival will include a crime comedy by George Clooney, a Guillermo del Toro fantasy and a Darren Aronofsky thriller.
Organizers of the world's oldest film festival announced a 21-film competition lineup Thursday that features the Clooney-directed "Suburbicon," the story of a home invasion gone wrong that stars Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, with a script by Joel and Ethan Coen.
Venice's late-summer time slot — starting a few days ahead of the Toronto festival — has made it a major awards-season springboard. In recent years it has presented the world premieres of major Oscar winners including "Spotlight" and "La La Land."
This year's contenders for Venice's top Golden Lion award include del Toro's "The Shape of Water," starring Sally Hawkins as a woman who forges a relationship with a sea creature, and Aronofsky's secrecy-shrouded "Mother!" starring Jennifer Lawrence.
The 74th Venice festival opens Aug. 30 in the canal-crossed Italian city with Alexander Payne's "Downsizing," about a man — Damon again — who decides to shrink himself. It closes Sept. 9 with Takeshi Kitano's gangster thriller "Outrage Coda."
The winner of the Golden Lion and other prizes will be decided by a jury led this year by actress Annette Bening.
Films in competition include "Human Flow," a documentary about migration by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei; "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'' by Ireland's auteur of tragicomedy, Martin McDonagh; "The Third Murder," by Japan's Hirokazu Koreeda; and "Mektour, My Love: Canto Uno'' by French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, director of the Cannes winner "Blue is the Warmest Color.''
Competing directors are drawn from around the globe, with films from Australia's Warwick Thornton ("Sweet Country''), Israel's Samuel Maoz ("Foxtrot''), and Lebanon's Ziad Doueiri ("The Insult''). But only one director among the 21 is a woman — China's Vivian Qu, whose "Angels Wear White'' centers on two girls assaulted by a man in a small seaside town.
Outside the main competition, high-interest entries include Fernando Leon de Aranoa's "Loving Pablo,'' starring Javier Bardem as Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar, and Stephen Frears' reality-based historical drama "Victoria & Abdul,'' with Judi Dench as Britain's Queen Victoria and Ai Fazal as her Indian servant Abdul Karim.
The streaming service Netflix, which has shaken up the business of making and distributing movies, will debut the miniseries "Our Souls at Night," a late-life romance starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.