As the lights go down at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, so do the predictions for the coveted prizes awarded to the best entries in competition during the lavish awards ceremony held on the evening of September 9th.
With a lack of major stars and an overall poorer selection than in the past, this was certainly an unusual edition in which we wanted to focus more on the artistic and social value of cinema, sparking a new debate about the future, which is gearing up for the seventh art -market in the coming years. A future brought to life by works such as Poor Creatures! by the Greek Yorgos Lanthimos, who, as expected by all critics, won the Golden Lion with his witty and anti-traditional telling of the story of the discovery and development of Bella Baxter, a kind of feminist Frankenstein ante Litteram. The film adaptation of Alasdair Gray’s 1992 novel of the same name is “certainly difficult to describe. I had to change the structure of the novel in many places (…) and focus more on Emma’s (Stone) point of view, on her journey around the world,” Lanthimos elaborated. “I think this is a very modern theme because it talks about freedom, the role of women and, of course, relations between the sexes. (…) Emma plays with a free mind that is always experimenting.”
Experimentation and daring then characterized the awarding of other important prizes, such as the Volpi Cup for Best Actress, won by the young and little-known Cailee Spaeny for her role as Priscilla Presley in Priscilla, Sofia Coppola’s biopic about the complicated love story between the then-just-young girl fifteen, and already famous Elvis Presley. If the award of the men’s Volpi Cup to the outstanding Peter Sarsgaard seems truly deserved for his fine performance opposite Jessica Chastain in Michel Franco’s In Memoriam, then the purely Italian satisfaction is the Silver Lion for Best Director, awarded to Matteo Garrone for a great work. completed Io Capitano, a moving story of immigration in which political ideologies give way to a human story full of courage and the desire for freedom; The young protagonist Seydoux Sarr also again received the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Emerging Actor for Garrone’s film. Pablo Larren’s satire-parody horror El Conde then receives undeserved recognition in the form of the award for best screenplay, while Agnieszka Holland’s Golden Lion of Our Hearts Green Border receives a special jury prize: a feature film made with soul. documentary and with the desire to speak in raw and direct terms about the violence that refugees from the Middle East are subjected to when trying to cross the border between Belarus and Poland.
The purpose of this enterprise? To build a life worthy of the name in a Europe that is very democratic but still blind to human rights issues.
Maria Letizia Cilea