The Venice Film Festival crowned a female Frankenstein with Emma Stone, at the end of a festival marked by the strike in Hollywood and the invitation of filmmakers targeted by the #MeToo movement.
With “Poor Creatures”, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”, “The Favorite”), a regular at festivals, finally achieves recognition.
The film is a kind of feminine Frankenstein, fantastic and baroque, largely in black and white. Sometimes crude, “Poor Creatures” is both entertainment and a message about how standards weigh on women.
The American star Emma Stone, who also produced the film, plays a candid creature who undergoes her sentimental and sexual education. She was unable to make the trip to the Mostra due to the strike which paralyzed Hollywood.
The film and Bella Baxter, its main character, “an incredible creature, would not exist without Emma Stone, another incredible creature,” declared Yorgos Lanthimos upon receiving his award.
In an Italy ruled by the extreme right, the jury chaired by Damien Chazelle (“La-la-land”, “First Man”) also sent a political message by awarding several prizes to films denouncing the fate reserved for migrants by Europe.
A great voice of Polish cinema, Agnieszka Holland received the special jury prize for “Green Border”, which shows the tragic fate of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Africa, tossed between Poland and Belarus in 2021, prisoners of a diplomatic game that goes beyond them.
A young Senegalese actor, Seydou Sarr, received the Most Promising Actor prize for his role as a young migrant who crosses Africa and the Mediterranean at the risk of his life to reach Italy, in “Me, Captain” by Matteo Garrone, film which also won the Silver Lion for best direction.
– Artificial intelligence –
As for performers, the Mostra distinguished two Americans: Cailee Spaeny, 25, for her first major role, that of the wife of the “King”, Priscilla Presley, in the biopic “Priscilla” by Sofia Coppola, and Peter Sarsgaard, who opposite Jessica Chastain, as a man suffering from dementia, in “Memory” by Michel Franco.
Unlike many stars playing in films from major studios, and who were unable to make the trip to Venice in the midst of a strike, the two winners went on stage to receive their trophies.
Peter Sarsgaard took the opportunity to express his support for the strike and launch a diatribe against artificial intelligence, for which screenwriters and actors are demanding supervision.
“If we lose this battle, our industry will only be the first of many others to fall,” he prophesied: medicine or the conduct of war could in turn be entrusted to artificial intelligence, which would “opens the way to atrocities.”
The Mostra was the first international festival hit hard by the historic standoff with the studios, even if a few stars like Adam Driver, Mads Mikkelsen and Jessica Chastain came, each taking care to provide their support to the strikers.
Union demands were not the only ones to try to be heard in Venice.
Feminist movements also sought to give voice, notably via collages in the city to denounce the honors granted by the oldest festival in the world to artists targeted by the #MeToo movement, which denounces sexist and sexual violence against women. women.
Luc Besson, against whom rape charges were brought before being definitively dismissed by French justice this year, was in competition with “Dogman”.
Woody Allen, ostracized from the American film industry and who is not being prosecuted, presented his 50th film “Coup de Chance”, the first shot in French, out of competition.
Roman Polanski, who has been fleeing American justice for more than 40 years after a conviction for sexual relations with a minor, did not travel to Venice, where his latest film “The Palace”, also out of competition, received a frosty reception.
The director of the Mostra, Alberto Barbera, justified the invitation of these three filmmakers by calling for a distinction between the man and the artist.