First Man, a biopic of the pioneering astronaut Neil Armstrong starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Damien Chazelle, has been confirmed as the opening film of the 2018 Venice film festival .
The slot is a highly prized, high-profile one, especially in Hollywood after a string of recent Venice openers — including La La Land, Birdman and Gravity — have gone on to Oscar glory. First Man stars Gosling as Armstrong, a former navy pilot who became the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission. It will be Gosling’s second film in quick succession with Chazelle after La La Land; Gosling has a habit of repeat collaborations, having worked with Nicolas Winding Refn on Drive and Only God Forgives, and Derek Cianfrance on Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines.
Meanwhile, the New York film festival, which takes place in October, announced their first title: Roma, the new film from the Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron. Cuaron has not made a film since 2013’s Gravity, and Roma is described by the festival as “an autobiographically inspired film, set in Mexico City in the early 70s ... an epic story of everyday life”. Starring Yalitza Aparicio as the nanny of a middle-class family, Roma will be Cuaron’s first Mexican film since Y Tu Mama Tambien in 2001.
Cuaron’s film was expected to premiere at Cannes in May, but became the highest-profile victim of a spat between the distributors, Netflix, and the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Fremaux. Roma is anticipated to join the Venice line-up, alongside the likes of Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria.