Andrew Dominik’s ‘Blonde’, Clare Young short ‘Love Forever’ selected for Venice

Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe in 'Blonde'. (Credit: Netflix © 2022)

Australian writer/director Andrew Dominik’s Blonde will premiere in competition at the Venice Film Festival in September, alongside Florian Zeller’s The Son, produced by See-Saw Films and starring Hugh Jackman.

Based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde, a Netflix film, reimagines the life of Marilyn Monroe, played by Ana de Armas.

The plot follows Monroe from her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, blurring fact and fiction. Also starring are Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Evan Williams and Aussie Xavier Samuel.

In an interview with Screen Daily earlier this year, Dominik, the director of Chopper, described Blonde as “a masterpiece.”

Producers include Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. Nick Cave, with whom Dominik made This Much I Know To Be True and One More Time With Feeling, and Bad Seed Warren Ellis provide the score.

French writer/director Zeller’s The Son is a follow up to his Oscar-winning The Father, with Jackman starring alongside Laura Dern, Vanessa Kirby, Zen McGrath and Anthony Hopkins.

It focuses on Peter (Jackman) as his busy life with new partner Emma (Kirby) and their baby is thrown into disarray when his ex-wife Kate (Dern) turns up with their teenage son, Nicholas. 

Emile Sherman and Iain Canning produce with Joanna Laurie, Christophe Spadone and Zeller.

Australians will be further represented in the 23-title strong official competition via Cate Blanchett, who headlines US director Todd Field’s Tár as the fictional Lydia Tár, an acclaimed composer who rose to become the first female chief conductor of a German orchestra. 

‘Love Forever’.

The sole Australian project selected for Venice this year is Clare Young’s Love Forever, selected for the Orizzonti (Horizons) Short Film Competition.

Executive produced by Jane Campion, the film is Young’s narrative debut following a career in documentary, and follows a girl from Canberra (Hannah McKenzie) who navigates the treacherous waters of first love with a boy from Sydney’s Northern Beaches (Beau Cram).

“I see love as the most powerful energetic force.” Young said.

“I wanted to examine its nature: its danger and its beauty. How it breaks us down and sets us free.

The project has been supported by Arts ACT and Screen Australia, and is produced by Belinda Mravicic and Rose Ricketson. Campion began mentoring Young in 2012 following an Arts ACT grant. Young was then Campion’s assistant through the development and production of Top of the Lake.

“Clare has such faith in her vision and her heart, it’s been a very rewarding process,” said Ricketson and Mravicic.

“The fact the film has been chosen to have its world premiere in competition at Venice, is a magnificent honour. It shows what is possible when female talent is supported.”

Young said: “At the end of the day, I just wanted to learn as much as I could about cinematic language. This film has been the ultimate training ground. The fact that it has been selected to premiere at Venice Film Festival is a dream come true.”

As announced ahead of the full program, Venice will open this year Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, starring Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver and Jodie Turner-Smith. Other films in the official competition include Luca Guadagnino’s The Eternal Daughter, Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, Darren Aronofsky and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees Of Inisherin.

Venice’s 79th edition will run August 31 – September 10.

The full Venice line-up is here.