The Venice Film Festival’s Intoxicating Mix of Red-Carpet Glamour and Oscar Hopefuls

VENICE, Italy — Although the most important headlines of the 78th Venice Film Festival emanated from its prolonged purple carpet—a smoldering Oscar Isaac’s inner-arm kiss, Kristen Stewart bedizened in Chanel or an elated Bennifer changing into red-carpet official—the flicks themselves signaled a long-overdue sea change. Whereas previous iterations of the glamorous movie fete allowed for hideous men to resuscitate their careers, the 2021 version was all concerning the ladies.

L’Événement, a French movie by director Audrey Diwan offering an arresting portrait of a younger lady in 1963 Paris searching for out a clandestine abortion, took house the Golden Lion, the fest’s high prize. The Silver Lion for Finest Director went to the nice Jane Campion for The Energy of the Canine, an acutely rendered examination of performative masculinity and feminine forsakenness within the American West, whereas Maggie Gyllenhaal was awarded Finest Screenplay for The Misplaced Daughter, her filmmaking debut exploring the hidden travails of motherhood. That the fest jury was chaired by none aside from Bong Joon-ho, the person who gave us Mom, was certainly a contributing issue to the liberality of those choices.

“My dream now could be to go on,” Diwan mentioned upon accepting the award. “Earlier than I got here right here, I began engaged on my new movie. It was additionally a technique to defend myself, to make certain concerning the path I wish to go. I really feel very grateful for what occurred tonight.”

Over the previous decade, no movie competition has supplied a stronger platform for a Finest Image Oscar run than Venice, which has hosted the debut screenings of Birdman, Highlight, The Form of Water and Nomadland, in addition to near-misses like Gravity, A Star Is Born and Roma. Latest years have seen the annual occasion dominated by Netflix, since Cannes has, in moderately outdated style, continued to blacklist the streamer. Each the aforementioned The Energy of The Canine and The Misplaced Daughter, together with È stata la mano di Dio, a coming-of-age drama from Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino that gained the Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize, are all Netflix Originals.

“It’s like working with the Medicis,” Campion remarked in Venice.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez attend the purple carpet of The Final Duel throughout the 78th Venice Worldwide Movie Competition on September 10, 2021, in Venice, Italy.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

The Energy of the Canine and The Misplaced Daughter will each have uphill climbs towards Finest Image nominations—their deliberate pacing, inconsistent performances and total intimacy might not entice a plurality of Academy voters—although Netflix’s coffers will definitely present an honest push. Far likelier to issue into the race are Dune, Denis Villeneuve’s supersized and star-studded adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel about interplanetary conquest, messianism and ecological plunder (his earlier Arrival additionally unspooled in Venice), and Spencer, Pablo Larraín’s handsomely-helmed examine of Princess Diana’s alienation and psychological torment by the frosty, domineering British royal household, anchored by Kristen Stewart’s most delicate and emotionally charged performance up to now.

“The concept of any individual being so determined for connection—and any individual who’s capable of make different folks really feel so good, feeling so unhealthy on the within, and being so beneficiant along with her power—I simply suppose we haven’t had lots of these folks all through historical past,” Stewart said of Diana in Venice. “She actually stands proud as a glittery home on hearth.”

“She actually stands proud as a glittery home on hearth…”

— Kristen Stewart

Whereas Stewart is the present frontrunner for the Finest Actress Oscar, a cultural corrective of kinds for the Academy overlooking her César-winning flip in Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria—changing into the primary American actress ever to win France’s Oscar equal—and that of a spiritually assaulted younger lady in Private Shopper, she can have stiff competitors from a pair of earlier Oscar winners in Olivia Colman, for her despairing mom decided to seek out frequent floor along with her wayward daughter in The Misplaced Daughter, and Penélope Cruz, whose portrayal of a mom haunted by her nation’s colonial previous and the indeterminate origin of her child within the current in Spanish master Pedro Almodóvar’s Madres paralelas earned her the Volpi Cup for Finest Actress in Venice. In the meantime, Oscar Isaac might garner some discover for his fiercely dedicated tackle a former Abu Ghraib torturer-turned-card shark in Paul Schrader’s bold (if uneven) The Card Counter.

However most significantly, amid a world pandemic that’s claimed the lives of over 4.5 million folks worldwide, this yr’s Venice Movie Competition supplied a protected house for cinema lovers to take pleasure in inspiring works from among the best administrators and actors round. Proof of vaccination or a current unfavourable COVID check was required to achieve entry to screenings, that had been spaced out with each different seat blocked off; attendees had been made to put on masks all through screenings, and abided by the rule; and temperature checks had been carried out previous to getting into the competition’s important hub, which was affected by tents offering free rapid-PCR COVID checks. Consuming in a movie on the cinema is one among life’s miracles, and there are few settings extra idyllic than this. | The Venice Movie Competition’s Intoxicating Mixture of Pink-Carpet Glamour and Oscar Hopefuls


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