July 25, 2019 / 1:06 PM / 24 days ago

Polanski, 'The Laundromat' and 'Joker' vie for top prize at Venice film festival

Biennale President Paolo Baratta and Venice Film Festival artistic director Alberto Barbera pose ahead of announcement of the 76th Venice Film Festival line-up, in Rome, Italy July 25, 2019. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

MILAN (Reuters) - A space odyssey starring Brad Pitt, Steven Soderbergh’s financial thriller “The Laundromat”, Joaquin Phoenix’s stint as “Joker” and Roman Polanski’s new movie on the Dreyfus affair will vie for the top prize at next month’s Venice film festival.

Other titles competing for the Golden Lion include “Marriage Story”, starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver as a couple in crisis; “Wasp Network”, a spy thriller with Penelope Cruz; and the French-Japanese co-production “The Truth”, with Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.

Organizers unveiled the line-up for the 76th edition of the world’s oldest film festival, which will run from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, in Rome on Thursday.

The Venice movie marathon officially kicks off the awards season as Oscar hopefuls start their campaign - last year’s line-up included “Roma”, “The Favourite” and “A Star is Born”, which all went on to win Academy Awards.

Polanski’s inclusion in the line-up is likely to be a talking point after his expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2018 for violating a code of conduct adopted following hundreds of accusations of sexual harassment or assault in the entertainment industry.

Outside the 21-strong main competition, Kristen Stewart will play the actress Jean Seberg in “Seberg”, a political thriller distributed by Amazon Studios.

Netflix, which was behind Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” last year, returns to Venice with several titles including two in the running for the Golden Lion - “Marriage Story” and “The Laundromat”, which is based on the Panama Papers expose of tax-avoiding offshore financial holdings and stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.

Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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