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Joker, Ad Astra & More Head to the 2019 Venice Film Festival

Joaquin Phoenix with makeup in Joker

Warner Bros.' Joker is among the movies headed to the 2019 Venice Film Festival. Directed by Todd Phillips (The Hangover trilogy), the upcoming Joker has been generating online buzz for a while now, especially when the news broke that it will exist separate from the WB DC cinematic universe canon - or DCEU - that includes films like Man of Steel and Suicide Squad (where Jared Leto played the Clown Prince of Crime). Rather, Joker will attempt to launch a new banner intended for one-off DC projects, a la the DC Comics Elseworlds brand.

Joaquin Phoenix stars in Joker as Arthur Fleck, an average man who gradually descends into insanity and becomes Gotham City's terrifying, clown-faced mastermind over the course of the movie. The first Joker trailer dropped back in April and was visually reminiscent of Martin Scorsese classics like Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, right down to its Robert DeNiro appearance. Needless to say, it got people talking and helped pave the way for the project's newly-announced run on the upcoming film festival circuit.

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Joker is now set to screen as part of the in-competition lineup at the 2019 Venice Film Festival from August 29 to September 7, following reports that WB was considering the idea last month. As was announced earlier this week, the movie will also screen as a Gala Presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival around the same time that the festivities in Venice draws to a close in early September.

Ad Astra with Brad Pitt

Phillips' DC movie will be joined by several other films in the in-competition roster, including James Gray's space adventure Ad Astra (starring Brad Pitt). The festival will also include screenings for Noah Baumbach's divorce dramedy Marriage Story and Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers drama The Laundromat - a decision that has raised some eyebrows, seeing as both films were developed for and will stream exclusively through Netflix later this year. Meanwhile, the event is already drawing controversy for having only included two entries directed by women in its competition lineup (Haifaa Al-Mansour's The Perfect Candidate and Shannon Murphy's Babyteeth), as well as director Roman Polanski's latest offering, An Officer and a Spy (following his expulsion from the Academy for having sexually assaulted a teenaged girl and then fled the U.S. in the late '70s).

All in all, it will be interesting to see how Joker especially goes over at the upcoming festivals in Toronto and Venice. The Golden Lion award winners at the Venice festival from the last two years (The Shape of Water and Roma) both went on to secure multiple Oscars in categories like Best Picture and/or Best Director, so the event is one that awards season prognosticators will no doubt be watching closely this year. Who knows: the biggest prizes at either festival could just as easily end up going to a movie like Joker as they could a smaller independent film or maybe even a Netflix Original in 2019.

NEXT: Joker Doesn't Take Anything From the Comic Books

Source: Venice Film Festival

Key Release Dates
  • Ad Astra (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
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