LONDON — The Venice Film Festival announced the lineup on Tuesday for its 77th edition, setting out precautions including temperature checks and new outdoor screening sites for what will be one of the first large international festivals held since the coronavirus pandemic began.
This year’s festival will run from Sept. 2 to Sept 12, with a reduced schedule. Between 55 and 60 films will be screened, as opposed to last year’s 80.
“The show must go on and the world must go on,” said Roberto Cicutto, the president of La Biennale di Venezia, which runs the festival, in a phone interview, adding it was important “to watch and to discuss movies together, to live this art the way we used to live it.”
Films in contention for the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, include Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” starring and produced by Frances McDormand; Mona Fastvold’s “The World to Come,” starring Vanessa Kirby and Casey Affleck; and “Pieces of a Woman,” directed by Kornel Mundruczo and starring Shia LaBeouf.
Screening in the festival’s nonfiction section will be “Salvatore Ferragamo: The Shoemaker of Dreams,” a documentary directed by Luca Guadagnino, as well as “City Hall” from Frederick Wiseman, a look at Boston’s administrative center.
Though Shanghai’s international film festival went ahead in July, the pandemic has forced the cancellation or postponement of most of the gatherings that traditionally structure the year for filmmakers in Hollywood and elsewhere in the West, including Cannes and the Tribeca Film Festival.
In late March, Italy was the global epicenter of the pandemic and the country was in lockdown for three months. During this time, Venice was empty of its usual throngs of visitors, and some residents rejoiced. Italy started lifting travel restrictions last month.
In order to comply with Italy’s distancing regulations, the festival will keep at least half of the seats in its screening venues empty, and screen guests with temperature checks both as they enter the festival areas and as they go into screenings. Social distancing will be in place throughout the festival and masks will be worn.
Films in the festival’s official selection will be screened more often than usual, in both the usual theaters used by the festival (including Palazzo del Cinema and Palazzo del Casinò) and outdoors, on the site of an ice-skating rink and inside the Giardini della Biennale, the festival’s gardens.
“We are prepared to face this incredible situation and to do it safely, protecting people,” Cicutto said.
This year, Cate Blanchett is the president of the jury for the official selection, and the director Claire Denis will lead the jury for the festival’s Horizons competition.
This year the festival will give lifetime achievement awards to Tilda Swinton and the filmmaker Ann Hui.