Venice Film Festival: cinema in majesty

Alberto Barbera had tried to save the furniture. This Thursday, August 17, two weeks before the launch of the 80th Venice Film Festival, the boss of the biennial wanted to be optimistic. “We completed our selection on July 12, the strike in Hollywood started on the 14th. We simply changed our opening film, but in the end this movement will only impact 4 feature films out of the 80 that we are presenting this year . » In other words: no reason to worry, the American stars will be happy in Venice.

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The Italian hadn’t told us everything, however. Certainly, the stars did cross the Atlantic aboard their private jets towards the lagoon, but they did not walk the red carpet set up in front of the Palais du cinéma. To meet VIPs, starlets and cinema stars, it was better to be at the evening organized by Cartier on August 31 at the Gritti Palace. Or in a hidden garden near the Grand Canal rented by Vivendi on September 1st. Or even at the huge private show of Giorgio Armani imagined by the designer at the Arsenale on September 2. Finally at the dinner and auction organized by amfAR on the evening of the 3rd at the Scuola Grande de Santa Maria della Misericordia. There, onlookers were able to see Jessica Chastain, Regé-Jean Page, Sydney Sweeney, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez and even Sophia Loren.

Adam Driver as American star

On the Lido side, only Adam Driver, who plays Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s “Ferrari”, made an appearance in front of the crowd and spoke at a press conference. Driver obtained exceptional authorization from the SAG (the actors’ union at the origin of the strike) to come and defend the 80-year-old filmmaker’s latest film because the latter is not produced by a platform or a multinational but by an independent studio. Asked about the conflict, the actor who played Kylo Ren in the last three “Star Wars” obviously supported the movement, while inviting Netflix, Amazon, Disney and others to move forward in negotiations. Because ultimately, it is the public who toasts.

Film buffs and fans gathered in front of the palace gates would have loved to see Bradley Cooper tell the story of how he became a fabulous Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro”, his second directorial effort after the worldwide triumph of “A Star Is Born”. Or being able to ask Emma Stone how she got caught up in Yorgos Lanthimos’ crazy project transforming her into a child-woman in “Poor Creatures”, receiving a standing ovation for more than eight minutes, before receiving the well-deserved Golden Lion. Not to mention Michael Fassbender, incredible in “The Killer” with David Fincher, monologuing in his head.

Fortunately for Venice there is France. With its share of controversies and controversial filmmakers, but who all have something to say about the state of our societies. Starting with Luc Besson who showed his superbly received “DogMan”, closing the parenthesis of five years of painful legal proceedings. Caleb Landry Jones, its main actor, also obtained authorization to leave the American territory to accompany the least Bessonian of the films of the “Big Blue” filmmaker, the most touching as well. France can also boast of having allowed Woody Allen to shoot his 52nd film. In “Coup de chance”, only the director is American, everything else, from the story to the actors (Lou de Laagence, Niels Schneider, Guillaume de Tonquédec and Valérie Lemercier) including the technical team, comes from the country baguette, beret and sausage. This “Coup de chance” becomes more interesting when it embraces the codes of the thriller than when it conveys the clichés around France… The feminist movements would have liked the directors accused – and cleared – of sexual crimes to be deprogrammed.

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Alberto Barbera did not let himself be discouraged, defending the court decisions. Perhaps, on the other hand, he was too sympathetic to Roman Polanski, whose grotesque farce “The Palace” was widely mocked. We can also – coorico – rejoice in a French cinema which still knows how to invent stories, when American productions are content to romanticize the lives of famous people. Cédric Kahn, for example, managed to move the Mostra by mixing the shooting of a film on a workers’ strike, its making of and the intimate life of its director. You follow ?

“Making of” above all allows Denis Podalydès to play a filmmaker absorbed by his passion, Jonathan Cohen to show something other than his usual comic character off the mark and Souheila Yacoub to shine. Bertrand Bonello, for his part, imagined “The Beast”, a tortuous and complex film to reveal the unease of an era which tends to erase memories, to erase the rough edges.

Polanski’s grotesque farce ‘The Palace’ was widely mocked

Written for Léa Seydoux and Gaspard Ulliel (replaced after his death by the British George MacKay), “The Beast” will now make you consider pigeons as a threat. Sometimes reality also inspires fiction devilishly: it takes all the talent of Xavier Giannoli, who after “Lost Illusions” launched into “D’argent et de sang”, a series in twelve episodes for Canal+, evoking the scandal of the carbon tax, carried by a five-star cast: Ramzy Bedia, Judith Chemla, Olga Kurylenko and Niels Schneider (excused from the Mostra due to very recent paternity, his partner Virginie Efira having given birth to their first child).

Sofia Coppola was convinced by the love story between Priscilla Beaulieu and Elvis Presley. With her very particular way of filming youth, the filmmaker creates a moving biopic of a young woman who is good in all respects and who will confront the greatest rock star of the time. Along the way, she brings to light two immense talents: Jacob Elordi, who plays Elvis, and Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla, whose beauty and grace will soon shine before the eyes of the world – she received the prize for female interpretation. Finally Alberto Barbera promised us the great return of Italian cinema – six films being presented in competition. On this specific point, let’s be honest, he led us for a ride. But it’s well known that all vaporettos lead to the Lido…

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