The Marilyn Monroe of the future, music stars, great coming backs and new frontiers: ten things to discover about the 75th Venice Biennale Cinema
Everyone says that this will be an extraordinary Film Festival: great authors, an array of Stars and glamorous events. But while everyone is looking at the calendar to decide which film to see, we are starting from the first ten things that can be discovered at the 75th Venice Film Festival.
Eight Lions on the red carpet
In addition to the winner of the last edition Guillermo del Toro, who will preside over the jury, at least eight directors, who won the Golden Lion in the past editions, will walk down the red carpet.
The Chinese Zhang Yimou, winner of the Silver Lion for best director with ‘Lanterne Rosse‘ in 1991 and winner of two Golden Lions, with ‘The story of Qiu Ju’ in 1992 and with ‘Not one less’ in 1999, will present his latest film (‘Ying‘ shadow), not in competition.
Tsai Ming-Liang, winner with ‘Vive L’Amour (Aiqing Wansui)’ in 1994, is coming back to Venice. The Taiwanese director will present his latest work ‘Ni de lian (Your Face)’ with Lee Kang-Sheng, interpreter of all his previous feature films including ‘Stray Dogs‘ awarded with the Silver Lion – grand jury prize, in 2013.
Finally we will also see, on his quest to win the Golden Lion for the second time, the British Mike Leigh (Golden Lion in 2004 with “The Secret of Vera Drake”) in competition with “Peterloo”.
At the Lido there will also be two other winners of the Silver Lion – grand jury prize in competition. Mario Martone, who won with ‘Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician’ in 1992 and the American Julian Schnabel, Silver Lion in 2000 with ‘Before Night Falls’.
Out of the competition, two directors who have won the Silver Lion for Best Director will present their latest works: Emir Kusturica (awarded in 1998 for “Black Cat, White Cat“) and the Argentinean Pablo Trapero, awarded a couple of years ago, in 2015, for the wonderful ‘The clan’ will both be back in Venice.
The controversy on new platforms: the “Netflix case”
“A festival, today, can not ignore those productive and distribution realities that are and will become increasingly important: they are part of our world and must be taken into consideration”, explained Barbera, in response to the controversy. In the same year that have seen Cannes Film Festival refusing the films produced by the new TV platforms, the Biennale Cinema will host nine of them. ‘It can not be denied that are often these new actors to produce films of great directors which otherwise would not be funded.
The most nurtured team is Netflix with its six films: “22 July” by Paul Greengrass (in Competition), “Roma” by Alfonso Cuaron (in Competition), “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by Joel and Ethan Coen (in Competition ), “Sulla mia pelle” by Alessio Cremonini (Orizzonti), “The Other Side of the Wind” and “They’ll love me when I’m dead”, the two films by Orson Welles excluded from Cannes and completed in the lagoon, where the American director loved to spend his evenings at Harry’s bar.
Amazon Studios is present, always in competition, with “Peterloo” by Mike Leigh and “Suspiria” by Luca Guadagnino. As for the TV series, finally, HBO, which in 2016 brought to Venice the first two episodes of “The Young Pope”, this year returns with the film version of “L’amica geniale” by Elena Ferrante directed by Saverio Costanzo.
The return of the young talents
One of the most exciting moments of the Festival is the presentation of the Marcello Mastroianni Prize, established in 1998 to reward one emerging actor or actress. In the Venice75 program we can find four actors who have been awarded in the past editions.
Two are women: Jasmine Trinca awarded in 2009 with “The Big Dream” by Michele Placido, acting in “Sulla mia pelle” by Alessio Cremonini (Orizzonti section) and Paula Beer, in competition with “Werk Ohne Autor” by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and rewarded for “Frantz” of Ozon two years ago.
In the short “Crow: the legend“, by Eric Darnell, with John Legend and Oprah Winfrey (Section “Venice Virtual Reality”) we find both Diego Luna, awarded in 2001 with “Y tu mama tambien”, and Tye Sheridan, awarded in 2013. The latter will also be in competition with “The Mountain” by Rick Alverson and present in the “Venezia Classici” section with the director’s cut version of Terrence Malick’s “The Three of Life”, alongside Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
Talking about young talents: Brady Corbet, winner of the Lion of the Future award two years ago with “The Childhood of a Leader”, will be back in Venice as one of the film directors in competition. His new film, Vox Lux, is played by Jude Law and the former child prodigy (the unforgettable Padme Amigdala, mother of Luke Skywalker and Leila) Natalie Portman.
Volpi Cups: five could make an encore
Do you know that Shirley MacLaine, Isabelle Huppert and Valeria Golino are the only actresses to have won two times the Volpi Cup for the best female performance? This year there are five actresses present in Venice who have been awarded with this trophy in the past. Three are participating with a film in competition and they potentially can do an encore: Tilda Swinton, Juliette Binoche and Emma Stone.
The French Sandrine Bonnaire will be present with “L’enkas” by Sarah Marx (horizons section), while Valeria Golino will participate out of competition with Les Estivantes by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. It will also be possible to see Charlotte Rampling again, who was awarded last year, in the restored version for Venezia Classici of one of her most famous films: “The night porter” by Liliana Cavani (1974).
Among the winners of the Volpi Cup for the best male interpretation we will see in Venice Joaquin Phoenix and Liam Neeson. Will they also be able to do an encore, as in the past did Jean Gabin, Toshiro Mifune, Sean Penn or Javier Bardem?
Venice Virtual Reality
Launched last year in the beautiful scenery of the Lazzareto Vecchio, the Virtual Reality section this year will be particularly rich. Compared to last year the films in competition between linear and interactive virtual reality have gone from 18 to 30. In addition to these there will be another 10 films out of competition.
These are more or less short works (it is advised not to immerse yourself in a virtual reality for too long) in which there is also a physical interaction with special environments or with the actors. Reservation is required. Venezia da Vivere will provide all the details as they become available.
The pre-opening event
Tuesday, August 28th for the Pre-Opening Night of the 75th Exhibition, the classic of the silent “The Golem – how he came into the world” by Paul Wegener, 1920, will be shown in Sala Darsena at the Lido, in a new digital copy with a restoration in 4K.
The screening will be accompanied live by the Mesimer Ensemble with the original music of Maestro Admir Shkurtaj commissioned by the Venice Biennale.
If nothing has changed from the past years the invitations will be available in the local newspapers some days before the event.
Follow VeneziaDaVivere for all the details, also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Godmother? In Venice75 there will be a ‘Godfather’
Forget the dresses fluttering by the sea, washed by the sea water of the Lido. Last year the traditional godmother of the festival was replaced by a young Italian male actor, Alessandro Borghi, who nicely reinvented this role.
This year the baton passes to another young actor, Michele Riondino, who will present the opening ceremony on the evening of 29th August and will end the Festival with the closing ceremony on 8th September, during which the Lions and the other official prizes of the 75th Festival will be announced.
In addition to several autor films, such as Bellocchio‘s “sleeping beauty” or “the fabulous young man” by Martone (in competition in Venice in 2014), he has also participated in numerous successful television productions (Il giovane Montalbano, La Mossa del Cavallo).
Women of the Venice Days
The Venice Days, a parallel section of the Venice Film Festival, presents a program in which women are protagonists. “We did not specifically look for films with a female look, they appeared naturally before our eyes during our search” said Giorgio Gosetti, in charge of the programme.
The films in Competition are 11, including the opening film Les Tombeaux Sans Noms (Graves Without a Name) by Rithy Panh, and among the Italians “Ricordi?” By Valerio Mieli, and “il Bene Mio” by Pippo Mezzapesa starring Sergio Rubini.
Marilyn Monroe: between past and future
Although Marilyn Monroe has never walked down the red carpet of the Venice Film Festival, her name often recurs in the history of the festival. Perhaps not everyone knows that in the ’50s some films that saw her as main actress were in competition at the festival marking some salient phases of its history.
In 1950 John Huston‘s asphalt jungle was presented at the exhibition in competition, winning the Volpi Cup for best male interpretation with the actor Sam Jaffe. And it was in that instant that Marylin’s fame took off.
In 1956 the director Joshua Logan arrived at the lagoon to present his ‘Bus Stop’, in competition. Bus stop marks a crossroads for Marylin, by then worldwide-known star.
After her marriage with Joe Di Maggio, the actress moved to Manhattan, started a relationship with Arthur Miller and wanted to make a change to her career, so far only based on comedies. But from that moment on her most successful film was in fact a comedy, in black and white as the first films in which she had appeared: in 1959 Billy Wilder brought to Venice in competition “Some like it hot” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The film was a big hit with the audience and the critics and Marylin won her only Golden Globe for Best Actress.
And in Venice 75 the restored version of this masterpiece will finally be presented, absolutely not to be missed (Venezia Classici). And it will not be the only film in which Marylin will be the protagonist.
M like Marylin
The first film by the Finnish Anna Eriksson, inspired by the figure of Marylin, is competing in the “Critics’ Week”. “M”, as presented on the site of the SIC, “explores the relationship between sexuality and death, two concepts that are only apparently on two opposite poles, but that are actually merged into each of us, disguising the fear of death or his desire, the world of Eros “. The film is played by Anna Eriksson herself, who is a pop star and has released over 10 albums, winning two Emma Awards (a sort of Finnish “Grammy”).
Also as part of the independent reviews, we will see “Goodbye Marilyn” by Maria Di Razza as a special event at the Giornate degli Autori. Based on the homonymous comic book by Francesco Barilli (Beccogiallo editions), in this animated short film the director imagines an interview with a ninety-year-old Marilyn, survived the tragic night of 1962 and now wiser and more detached.
Film star and music star
The Soundtrack Stars Award, a collateral award that at the Venice Film Festival goes to the best soundtrack among the films in the official selection, has also awarded the critics’ prize to internationally renowned artists such as Ennio Morricone, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Nicola Piovani.
While waiting to listen to the music that Alexandre Desplat has composed to accompany “First Man” by Damien Chazelle, and to see Natalie Portman in her punk version with Vox Lux, we can think about the jury of the last editions, also full of great names of Italian music such as Cesare Cremonini or Malika Ajane, who we have often met on the streets of the Lido, drinking a coffee between one projection and the another.
This year the biggest wait is for the pop stars that will arrive at the lagoon, first of all Lady Gaga. Out of competition, Bradley Cooper will present the fourth remake of the film “A star is born”, which marks his directorial debut, and in which he is also an actor.
At his side the American pop star who, after participating in 2015 in the series “American Horror Story Hotel” and in two films by Robert Rodriguez (Machete kills and Sin City), will test her final leap to the world of cinema with this film, the first as main actress. The film will be presented in world premiere during the first days of the event, on August 31st.
Article by Pietro Gallina. Photo: Rossana Viola cover, like Jim Carrey and Emma Stone. Pietro Gallina has photographed Valeria Golino and Malika Ajane.