Venice: Netflix Underlines Festival as Major Launchpad, With Four Films (Including the Opener) and a Series

For all the will-they-won’t-they over Netflix’s tumultuous relationship with Cannes, when it comes to Venice things seems much more straightforward.

After bowing three films on the Lido in 2021 with The Power of the Dog, The Hand of God and The Lost Daughter, the streamer has now reaffirmed its commitment to the festival as a major launchpad for its awards-targeted prestige releases.

For the 2022 edition, Netflix lands in Venice with four high-profile titles, and this year has also won itself the opening-night slot for the very first time with Noah Baumbach’s White Noise. Based on Don DeLillo’s breakout novel, the film packs an impressive red carpet ensemble likely to keep the paparazzi happy, including Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Andre Benjamin, Raffey Cassidy, Alessandro Nivola, Jodie Turner-Smith and Don Cheadle.

White Noise was unveiled as the curtain raiser on Monday, a day before the official selection was formally announced. This, as had been largely expected, added another two Netflix titles.

Much of the attention at Venice will likely be focused on Blonde, Andrew Dominik’s biopic of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, starring the fast-rising Ana de Armas. Expect plenty of magazine covers.

Then there’s another hugely buzzy title in Bardo, or to give it its full name, Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths), the long-awaited next feature from Alejandro González Iñárritu, arriving some six years after his Oscar-winning smash The Revenant.

Finally (on the film front, at least), there’s Athena from French director Romain Gavrais, son of Costa Gavrais, a La Haine-sounding drama about youths clashing with police in France that he co-wrote and co-produced with Ladj Ly/

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White Noise, Blonde, Bardo and Athena are all screening in competition, giving Netflix a solid shot at claiming its second Golden Lion after Roma in 2018. The streamer could also use these films to expand its trial with theatrical releases (as it did with The Hand of God in Italy and targeted releases for The Power of the Dog and The Lost Daughter), something that might please the finance department following criticism that it hasn’t capitalized on box office revenues amid less-than-stellar quarterly figures.

Four films is a impressive festival slate, but Netflix has more thanks to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Copenhagen Cowboy mini-series. The six-episode drama, following a young woman who travels through Copenhagen’s criminal underworld, will screen in full out of competition, marking the Danish director’s first time in Venice since 2009’s Valhalla Rising.

As one insider at the streamer said: “We will be busy!”

Updated: The original story stated Netflix would have three films in the Venice lineup, not four.