The Venice Film Festival opens with Deneuve and Zelensky in the spotlight

The oldest of the film festivals, the Venice Film Festival, opened on the Lido on Wednesday evening. Catherine Deneuve as guest of honor and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as surprise guest marked the start of this 79th edition.

Catherine Deneuve receiving her Golden Lion. [Marco Bertorello – AFP]At the Palais du Cinéma, which sits enthroned on the Lido directly by the sea, the 78-year-old French star received a Golden Lion of Honor for his entire career.

Clearly moved in her long blood-red gown, Catherine Deneuve delivered a “grace” to the public after reading a fiery tribute by French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin. She had won the Best Actress award at the same venue in 1988.

Earlier in the day, when questioned by AFP about the meaning of that reward, the rusty blonde-haired actress, who keeps filming, had confided: “We don’t look back. This is not a rejection, we don’t have time.”

Video message “Don’t forget the war”

Volodymyr Zelensky during his speech. [Marco Bertorello - AFP]Volodymyr Zelensky during his speech. [Marco Bertorello – AFP]Ukraine then burst onto the palace scene with a video message from Volodymyr Zelensky, who urged the film world “not to forget” a war that “lasted not 120 minutes but 189 days.” At the end of his speech, in front of a black background, is a haunting list of the first names of all children and young people (up to the age of 18) killed in the conflict, together with their date and place of birth.

Following the speeches and tributes, the cinema resumed its rights with the official screening of New Yorker Noah Baumbach’s opening film, White Noise, adapted from a novel by writer Don DeLillo.

The 52-year-old filmmaker, author of “Frances Ha”, “The Meyerowitz Stories” and “Marriage Story”, finds his favorite actors there, his partner Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver. “It’s a film about life and death. You have to accept that they go hand in hand,” he explained.

New identifier for Netflix

Choosing this film to open is a new hallmark for online video giant Netflix, which produced it and is releasing four films and one series on the Lagoon this year.

A total of 23 feature films (including only eight by women directors) compete for the Golden Lion, which will be awarded on September 10th.

Twenty years after she won the interpretation prize for “Far from paradise” there, Julianne Moore, who shone in a dress with daring transparency on Wednesday evening, was chosen to chair the jury, which included Audrey Diwan, the French director who created the Prize won, represented by the Goldener Löwe last year.

Cohort of Hollywood stars announced

Among the highlights of the festival is the announced arrival of a cohort of Hollywood stars. Starting Thursday, Cate Blanchett is set to climb the stairs for Todd Field’s “Tár” before handing over the spotlight to Timothée Chalamet the next day.

The Franco-American, who was on last year’s Dune, is back for Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All.

Penelope Cruz is back with two films – a year after her Venetian coronation in Almodovar – and festival-goers are hoping for the arrival of British pop phenomenon Harry Styles, who stars in the film by his partner Olivia Wilde (“Don’t Worry Darling”) . ).

Ana de Armas as Marilyn

One of the most anticipated stars is probably Cuban actress Ana de Armas, who starred in last year’s James Bond Girl and portrays Marilyn Monroe, sixty years after her death.

This biopic, signed by Andrew Dominik, promises to turn heads with a feminist reinterpretation of the life of this cinematic icon, based on novelist Joyce Carol Oates’ story of the same name, Blonde.

Also, the new works of Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”), Darren Aronofsky (“Requiem for a Dream”), Joanna Hogg, with the magnetic Tilda Swinton on the bill, or even Jafar Panahi, imprisoned in Iran and veterans Walter Hill and Paul Schrader.


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