The festival, opening Wednesday, has come under fire for featuring only one female director in competition – yet few can deny it is a key Oscars launchpad

For the Venice film festival, at least, 75 is the prime of life. As the curtain prepares to rise on a landmark edition, it finds itself in robust health, with a lineup packed with major stars, key directors and films that look certain to dominate the awards season.

Described by artistic director Alberto Barbera as a “once in a decade lineup” (a description not disputed by critics), the programme includes premieres of films by Mike Leigh, Paul Greengrass, the Coen brothers, Luca Guadagnino – and Orson Welles. And just one woman: Australian director Jennifer Kent.

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Read More Venice film festival 2018: star lineup, despite lack of female film-makers

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