The Venice Film Festival has set Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth (La Verite) as its opening night screening. This is the first film the Palme d’Or-winning Shoplifters director has made abroad and boasts a powerhouse cast led by Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke.
The Truth will screen in competition and world premiere on August 28. The story centers on Fabienne (Deneuve), a star of French cinema who reigns amongst men who love and admire her. When she publishes her memoirs, her daughter Lumir (Binoche) returns from New York to Paris with her husband (Hawke) and young child. The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed.
Festival Director Alberto Barbera says, “The encounter between the universe of Japan’s most important filmmaker today and two beloved actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, brought to life a poetic reflection on the relationship between a mother and her daughter, and the complex profession of acting. It will be a pleasure to present this movie as the opening film of this year’s Venice Film Festival.”
For Kore-eda, “It is with great joy that I have learned that my new film, La Vérité, has been selected to open the Official Competition of the Venice Film Festival. I am extremely honored. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the entire staff of the festival. We shot the movie in ten weeks last fall in Paris. As officially announced, the cast is prestigious, but the film itself recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house. I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy and reconciliation. I truly hope you will like this film.”
The Truth had been expected to figure somewhere on the Lido, potentially putting it in the awards conversation after 2018’s Shoplifters was nominated for an Oscar following its Cannes laurels (based on current release dates, it is not clear if The Truth would be eligible for Best International Feature). The drama joins such recent Venice openers as First Man, Downsizing, La La Land, Birdman, Everest and Gravity, and marks the first time in recent memory that a non-studio picture takes the honors. IFC has U.S. distribution rights and Wild Bunch handles international sales.
Although he is closely associated with Cannes, Kore-eda is not a stranger to Venice. His 1995 directorial debut Maborosi won the Golden Osella on the Lido and in 2017 he premiered The Third Murder in competition.
The Truth is produced by Muriel Merlin; co-producers are Miyuki Fukuma and Matilde Incerti. The film is a coproduction of 3B productions Bunbuku & M.i Movies and France 3 Cinéma, with participation of France Télévisions, Canal+, Ciné+, Le Pacte, Wild Bunch and Gaga Corporation.
Venice runs August 28-September 7. The full lineup will be announced next week on July 25.