80th Venice Film Festival: A less starry affair than usual
With the ongoing Hollywood strikes, the festival will see fewer US actors and writers in attendance and a spotlight instead on European offerings.
Shadowed by the Hollywood strikes
The 80th Venice International Film Festival will see fewer renowned luminaries from Hollywood, given the ongoing strikes by the actors' and screenwriters' unions. This was illustrated by the T-shirts donned by this year's jury members, filmmakers Laura Poitras and Martin McDonagh, during a photocall at the festival's opening on August 30.
Putting on the brave face
Due to the strikes, Italian director Luca Guadagnino's "Challengers" had to postpone its big premiere. The film, which stars Zendaya, Josh O'Connor, and Mike Faist, was previously announced to kick off the 80th annual festival. But the Oscar-nominated "Call Me By Your Name" director nevertheless showed up on the red carpet; as a producer, he is showcasing two other works at the Venice film fest.
A silver lining?
The strikes could also prove to be the opportunity for European filmmakers to enjoy the spotlight. Edoardo De Angelis' Italian World War II submarine drama "Comandante," which is running in competition, enjoyed its world premiere screening after taking over the slot vacated by Guadagnino's film.
Not entirely devoid of big names
Damien Chazelle, who is president of the Venice jury this year, has previously opened the Venice International Film Festival with his films on two occasions: In 2016 with "La La Land" and in 2018 with "First Man." "La La Land" received 14 Academy Award nominations, winning six, including the award for best director, making the then 32-year-old the youngest filmmaker ever to win the coveted Oscar.
First female winner of Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement
Italian filmmaking legend Liliana Cavani has been awarded the Golden Lion award for her life's work. "I'm the first female person to receive this award. There are women writers and directors who are working as well as men. It's not quite right if we don't give them a chance to be seen," she said. The 90-year-old's new film, "The Order of Time," is running out of competition at the festival.
English actor and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling presented the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Liliana Cavani, who directed the 1974 psychosexual Holocaust drama "The Night Porter" that starred Rampling and Dirk Bogarde. In a powerful speech dedicated to Cavani, Rampling said, "From the early 1960s, Cavani has been forcing us to confront the beautiful, the ugly and the unresolved."
While this year's red carpet in Venice might lack the usual pizazz and viral fashion of previous editions, actor Charlotte Rampling's shoes were an eye-catcher. The 77-year-old elegant minimalist and icon accessorized her elegant black dress with a pair of funky shoes that featured circular acrylic heels.
Red on red
Italian model Mariacarla Boscono also made a striking appearance on the red carpet on opening night, channeling Little Red Riding Hood with a fiery red diaphanous Dolce & Gabbana outfit. She accessorized it with matching thigh-high stocking boots and sheer red gloves for dramatic effect.
Recognition for 'unique and unmistakable style'
Another big name on the attendance list: cult director Wes Anderson. He will be awarded the Cartier Glory to the Filmmaker Award on Friday, before the screening of his new film which is out of competition, "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar." Known for films like "Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Rushmore," Anderson's latest is a short film based on a story by author Roald Dahl.