Venice80. The festival curtain falls: a more than positive result in terms of film proposals, the quality of the authors and the growing number

Once the curtain has fallen on Venice 80, it’s time to take stock of the exhibition, which is a little short of striking Hollywood stars, but has a clear film proposal, a quality selection of authors who shared important, often even unpleasant, stories. and suggestions. . Timely messages for our community. The theme that stands out most vividly and intensely in films about awards and race is the focus on the “last”, migrants, as well as couples’ relationships and emotional connections, love.

(AWARD CEREMONY – VENICE 80 – Damien Chazelle – Caterina Murino and Roberto Cicutto – Credits to Andrea Avezz – La_Biennale_di_Venezia_-_Foto_ASAC_)

Yorgos Lanthimos’ visionary style and take on women in society through a brilliant and grotesque dark tale, Poor Little Things, that pays tribute to and at the same time subverts Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. , has captivated everyone since its debut in Venice80. Everyone was delighted with the film, journalists and spectators in the cinema, including the international jury, to the point that on Saturday, September 9, President Damien Chazelle presented him with the Golden Lion without hesitation. A triumph for Lanthimos, who came close to winning the award in 2018 with The Favorite, as well as leading lady-producer Emma Stone (incredible performance!) and equally for Searchlight Pictures (Disney), which is distributing it and has already see how this opens up a possible, bright path to the next Oscar.

(AWARD CEREMONY – GOLDEN LION FOR BEST FILM – POOR THINGS – Yorgos Lanthimos – Credits to Andrea Avezz at the Venice Biennale – Photo ASAC3)

However, The film festival, under the leadership of Alberto Barbera, has always identified the best titles of the season, films that won Oscars, with sophistication and intuition: just mentioning The Shape of Water (2017), Roma (2018) or Nomadland (2020). Now that the curtain has fallen on Venice 80, it’s time to take stock of the exhibition, which is a little short on striking Hollywood stars but has a clear film offering, a quality selection of creators who often share important stories and suggestions. also inconvenient. Timely messages for our community. Point Cnvf-Sir.

Lions of Venice80
If Lanthimos with “Poor Wretches” was the super favorite to win from the very beginning of the Festival (the third day of the competition passed, September 1), much the same as it was at that time with Cuaron with “Roma” (2018) or Todd Phillips with “Joker” (2019), for the remaining 22 authors of the Competition there was probably a struggle to get on the short list of winners.
Of the six Italians participating in the competition, Matteo Garrone with “Io Capitano” was the only one whose style and theme could conquer the Venetian jury. consists mainly of directors (besides Chazelle we remember Jane Campion, Martin McDonagh, Gabriele Mainetti, Santiago Miter, Laura Poitras and Mia Hansen-Løve). Garrone received the Lion for Best Director for the skill and simplicity with which he told the story of two Senegalese teenagers in search of a future, happiness in the “promised land” of Europe. Between their dreams and the Old Continent, two boys must face the desert, human traffickers, Libyan prisons and smugglers. A work that combines realism and a fairy tale according to the canons of Garrone (between “Gomorrah” and “Pinocchio”).

(AWARD CEREMONY – SILVER LION AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR – IO CAPITANO_ME CAPTAIN – Matteo Garrone – Credits to Andrea Avesz La_Biennale di Venezia – Photo ASAC 1)

Among the awards that were most compelling was certainly the Grand Jury Prize for Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, who in his film There Is No Evil offers a profound look at the relationship between man and nature. Hamaguchi, a 2022 Oscar winner for Drive My Car, excelled above all in his crisp, original, lyrical direction. Another confidence was the special jury prize for the Polish film by Agnieszka Holland “Green Border”. For one moment at the festival, it was thought that Holland might even beat Lanthimos at the last second, thanks to the quality of its civic cinema and the theme it portrays with great clarity: the drama of the Middle Eastern, African and Afghan refugees stranded within it. limbo between Poland and Belarus.

(AWARD CEREMONY – SPECIAL JURY PRIZE – ZELENA GRANIKA GREEN BORDER – Agnieszka Holland – Credits to Andrea Avezz at the Venice Biennale – Photo ASAC 1)

Finally, the screenplay award went to Chilean Pablo Larraín for El Conde (Netflix), an expose of the crimes of General Augusto Pinochet disguised as gothic horror and grotesque comedy. Was this really the best case scenario? Larraín’s talent is undeniable, but here the script doesn’t seem to be the film’s strong point. Perhaps it would be nice to celebrate the Danish “Bastarden” by Nikolaj Arcel or “Maestro” by Bradley Cooper.

Volpi Cup: between emotions and surprises
Hollywood’s best actor awards are valued not by the studios (which actors are protesting) but rather by independent producers who have signed fair pay agreements with the American union. The men’s Volpi Cup was awarded in a heartbeat to Peter Sarsgaard for his poignant role in Michel Franco’s Memento, the last film in the competition. His interpretation of a fragile man, scarred by life, suffering from early-onset dementia, finding a surge of calm through a love story with Sylvia (the always measured Jessica Chastain) charmed the jury. A verdict that is pleasant and non-negotiable. Of course, there remains some bitterness over Caleb Landry Jones’ stunning performance in the title role in Luc Besson’s Dog Man.

(AWARD CEREMONY – COPPA VOLPI FOR BEST ACTOR – IN MEMORY – Peter Sarsgaard – Credits to Andrea Avesz at the Venice Biennale – Photo ASAC 1)

The Women’s Volpi Cup went to actress Cailee Spaeny from Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla. The girl played Priscilla Presley with grace and respect in a love story with her husband Elvis.

(AWARD CEREMONY – COPPA VOLPI FOR BEST ACTRESS – PRISCILLA – Cailee Spaeny – Credits to Andrea Avezz at the Venice Biennale – Photo ASAC 1)

Upon closer inspection, the award appears to be a recognition of part actress, part director Sofia Coppola. Without detracting from Spaeny’s interpretive qualities, it is sad that Maestro co-star Carey Mulligan’s brilliant, sophisticated interpretation was not recognized. Not to mention that Emma Stone had no “eligibility” because Poor People took the Golden Lion slot, and two awards cannot be awarded to the same film. Stone gives a superb performance that will surely lead to an Oscar nomination.

The exhibition challenges and fractures of society
Where does the exhibition direct our gaze, where does it invite us to look? The theme that stands out most clearly and intensely in films about awards and race is the attention to the “last”, to migrants. A reminder, first of all, to Europe, of the values ​​on which it is based, of the obligation to offer assistance. A message that comes in particular from Garrone’s Io Capitano, also winner of the Catholic Signis Prize and the Protestant Interfilm Prize, and from Holland’s Green Border. Two different views on the same topic: humanity and solidarity in hospitality. Then, almost in the same spirit, is inserted the historical drama of Edoardo De Angelis “Comandante”, the opening film of the festival, which, talking about yesterday’s event during the Second World War, speaks clearly about our present: always respect the law of the sea and save all who sail with the flow. Never leave anyone behind.
Additionally, the stories suggested by Venezia80 include couples’ relationships and emotional connections. Love. This is the one between two wounded by life in “Memory”, who tenderly support each other when faced with an incurable illness; again, this feeling binds two former lovers who find themselves on the verge of fifty in Le Luncheon by the Frenchman Stéphane Brise. But above all, the main character is the family, demonstrating resilience and unity in the storms of life: this is what Danish director Arcel’s “Bastarden” tells us, a historical fresco depicting the need to share, to build family bonds, to give to each other. the meaning of one’s existence. Finally, this is evidenced by the painful and complex love story of Felicia and Leonard Bernstein in “Maestro,” together despite life’s ups and downs and left-wing decisions.

Growing number of biennale participants
We complete our balance sheet with the figures published following the results of the Biennale. If the absence of Hollywood stars seemed like a possible brake on the success of Venice 80, the numbers suggest otherwise: total cinema attendance was 230,000, up +17% from 2022; 85,000 tickets sold, which is +14.00% by 2022. 13,023 accreditations were actually received; in the previous year there were 11,967, hence a net +9%. So, Not only the high quality of the artistic offer, but also “simple” economic and digital data confirm the success of the 80th Film Festival. All elements that recognize the work and talent of the director Alberto Barbera, as well as the president Roberto Cicutto. Appointment then to Venice81 in 2024.

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