The Venice Film Festival is looking really great this year
A famous Italian song from the 80’s by Righeira went textually, “Summer is nearly over, a year is going by”. Regardless what astronomy taught us, in Italy summer officially ends with the last week of August, when people sadly abandons the turquoise sea or the fresh mountains to get back to the offices and their air conditioners. Pupils prepare their going back to school, while the ice cream advertising is replaced by those for the school bags. “I’m getting older, you know I don’t want”, the lyrics go on with their typical 80’s melancholy.
However, every year there’s always something that manages to comfort the Italians, ready for their last seasonal exodus: for football lovers, Serie A comes around – this year with an extra Ronaldo, while for moviegoers there is the Venice Film Festival, one of the so-called ‘big three’ cinema events alongside Cannes and Berlin. Indeed, the Venice Film Festival attracts a lot of stars and displays several important movies because, as Cannes closes the season in May, the Venetian capital opens the new one in September. Evidence of this, the movies that are successful in Venice, frequently win also the big prizes across the pond (Oscar, Golden Globe, etc.).
Big-time directors, actors and events
This year, La Biennale will honor two great directors: David Cronenberg and Zang Yimou. A Lifetime Golden Lion will be handed over to the first, and ‘M.Butterfly’ (1993), described as his best movie by the director himself, will be showed. Moreover, Cronenberg will give a lecture on 5 September. Zang Yimou, instead, will be awarded with the 2018 Jeager-Lecoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award for his unique footprint on contemporary cinema.
Furthermore, another Career Golden Lion will be given to Vanessa Redgrave, Academy-Award winning actress in 1978 with the movie ‘Julia’. In her honor, ‘The Aspern Papers’ directed by Juline Landais, where she played the main character, will be displayed. Then, as every year, workshops, meetings, insights and exhibitions will enrich the programme of the film festival.
A starship full of international stars seen in the Venice lagoon
As already mentioned, several international stars will reach Italy. Bradley Cooper chose Venice to present his first film as a director, ‘A Star Is Born’, the story about Ally (Lady Gaga), a very talented singer who gives up her dreams until Jack (Bradley Cooper), a musician, convinces her to try again. The love story between the two starts, but the relationship is soon threatened by his insecurity stemming from her growing success.
Damien Chazelle will open the festival, as he did two years ago with ‘La La Land’, an award-winning movie that launched the American director at the Venice Festival and later consacrated him in the Hollywood hall of fame. This year, we’ll see his movie about the Apollo mission, ‘First Man’.
It’s been a long time coming, but also a new movie by Luca Guadagnino will be presented after the worldwide success ‘Call Me By Your Name‘. His remake of ‘Suspiria’, the famous masterpiece by Dario Argento, a classic Italian horror cinema product loved all over the world, is stacking up to be a real cult movie.
Many different topics touched upon
To move away from that argument, Mario Martone will bring us back to 1914 with his ‘Capri revolution’. In the old continent, during the World War I, a group of Northern Europeans refugees lands in Capri, where they get to know the strong identity of the Tyrrhenian island, embodied by Lucia (Marianna Fontana), a local young girl. Valeria Berni Tedeschi, instead, will tell us a story about the recovery from a deep and long-lasting personal crisis in ‘Le Villeggianti’. A documentary directed by Roberto Minervini ‘What You Gonna Do When the World’s on Fire?’ will display an intertwining of stories from different parts of the world, but all dramatically similar with one another.
The wait is finally over to see also many other authors coming from all five continents. Among those, the American Joel and Ethan Coen with their movie ‘The Ballad of Buster Scruss’, Alfonso Cuaròn and his ‘Rome’ produced by Netflix and controversially turned down for Cannes, the British Mike Ligh with ‘Peterloo’, the French Oliver Assayas with his ‘Double Vies’ and, not least, one of the most interesting authors of this generetion, Giorgos Lanthimos, a Greek director at his third American movie, the first with an historical setting, ‘The favourite’. This is the whole picture of the movies in competition.
TV series versus cinema
After Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Young Pope’ in 2016 and ‘Suburra’ in 2017, in Venice this year we will see the TV series ‘L’amica geniale’, inspired by Elena Ferrante’s novel and showing that the border between cinema ad TV series is increasingly blurred. In the Horizon Prize section dedicated to the emerging authors and movies, ‘Sulla mia pelle’ by Alessio Cremonini will start the dance. The movie is about Stefano Cucchi’s last hours of life in custody, after being arrested for dealing drugs. Here, the main character will be interpreted by Alessandro Borghi. In the same seciton, ‘La profezia dell’armadillo’, inspired by the Italian graphic novelist Zerocalcare, will make its debut.
The jury will be captained by Guillermo Del Toro, who has the arduous task of crowning the winner among the great authors and movies that will accompany us during the next season. But it is not our problem. We just have to enjoy the show and wait for the final virdict.