The Venice Film Festival returns Wednesday with an ultra sumptuous program, including the world premiere of the sci-fi blockbuster “Dune” and Kristen Stewart’s turn as Princess Diana, thus consolidating her status as a serious rival to Cannes.
After a low-key event last year due to the pandemic, La Mostra is once again raising the stakes in the film festival’s battle for supremacy with the kind of programming that makes red carpet onlookers and spectators drool over the chin. pretentious movie reviews.
The world’s oldest film festival has embraced Hollywood in recent years, and its 78th edition, September 1-11, is no exception.
‘Dune’ brings hot young people Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya to the Venice Film Festival, while Ridley Scott’s ‘The Last Duel’ marks the bromantic comeback of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, writing and performing together for the first time since their Oscar-winning escape “Good Will Hunting” in the 1990s.
But Venice still has serious art-house strengths, and the Golden Lion competition features some of the most revered filmmakers of the era, including Spain’s Pedro Almodovar, the Italian Paolo Sorrentino and New Zealander Jane Campion.
Almodovar opens the festival with Penelope Cruz with “Parallel Mothers” and true to her provocative style, the poster was immediately banned on Instagram for featuring a lactating nipple.
Even the Princess Di biopic ‘Spencer’ promises to be more than the usual royal porridge, as it comes from Chilean director Pablo Larrain, whose 2016 film was a clever and praised take on Jackie Kennedy, starring Natalie Portman. .
– Buzz generator for the Oscars –
Since taking office in 2012, festival director Alberto Barbera is credited with rejuvenating La Mostra, in part by positioning it as the launching pad for Oscar hopefuls.
Two of the last four Golden Lion winners, “The Shape of Water” and “Nomadland,” won the Oscar for Best Picture – something that had never happened before.
Many other recent critical and box office hits have debuted in the Floating City, including “La La Land”, “Joker” and “A Star Is Born”.
Part of the success is that publicists love having their stars hung on the gondolas, but that is all about luck.
“Venice’s position at the dawn of summer and fall gives it unparalleled weight as a launching pad” for Hollywood awards season, The Hollywood Reporter explained.
Venice also avoided the clash between Netflix and Cannes, following the latter’s request for entries to be shown on the big screen.
This left Venice with the first dibs on recent Netflix hits such as ‘Roma’ and ‘Marriage Story’, and two of this year’s hopefuls: ‘The Power of the Dog’ by Campion and ‘The Hand of God’ by Sorrentino.
Films from 59 countries are presented this year in its multiple sections, although Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has already sniffed his Venetian counterpart’s “obsession with American films”.
It is true that the main competition has a fairly small geographic scope, with nothing from Africa and only one from Asia (the sequel to the Filipino action thriller “On the Job”) among the 21 selections.
But Cannes has hardly moved away from Hollywood. Its first hit this year was Fast & Furious 9.
For moviegoers happy to see the schedules inundated with exciting releases, all this industry hustle and bustle is background noise.
And for the Italians, it could crown an exciting summer which has seen them win the World Cup, deliver a surprisingly strong Olympic performance and leave behind the dark days of the brutal Covid-19 epidemic in the country.
© 2021 AFP