Venice Film Fest 2018: Missing Titles

Missing from the Venice Fest lineup is Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum, starring Matthew McConaughey, who puts in what Alberto Barbera describes as an “Oscar-worthy” performance. But, the Venice artistic director said, Korine’s follow-up to “Spring Breakers,” produced by Anonymous Content, isn’t launching from the Lido.

U.S. rights to The Beach Bum were picked up by Neon and Vice, but it doesn’t have an Italian distributor yet. A Neon representative said the film has not been slotted for release yet.

There are a few other notable omissions from this year’s slate as well, despite the fact that, under Barbera’s stewardship, Venice has cemented its position as a strong awards-season launch pad.

Also forgoing a Venice premiere is Joel Egerton’s “Boy Erased,” which Focus Features has set for release in November. The film, starring Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) as a boy forced to undergo so-called gay conversion therapy, has yet to surface anywhere on the fall festival circuit.

Toronto, which takes place just after Venice and with which Venice often competes for big titles, scored two major “gets”: Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” which is slated for a January 2019 outing.

Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy, from Amazon Studios, a tale of drug addiction starring Timothee Chalamet, had been thought a possible Venice  property, but will debut in Toronto instead.

Francois Ozon’s Alexandre is also not playing at Venice Fest, but the reason for its absence remains unknown.

Another hotly anticipated potential fall title, Xavier Dolan’s English-language The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, suffers from a creative conflict between the director and distributors, according to sources.

Barbera underlined Venice’s growing role in shaping the U.S. awards season, but refrained from any self-aggrandizing pronouncements. “The Venice-Telluride-Toronto triad is, from a promotional standpoint, clearly considered very appealing,” he said, adding: “Today, there is a constructive dialogue [among the three festivals] which, in most cases, ends up positively.”

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