It’s all happening at the Lido this week! No, I don’t mean activities involving uncomfortable bathing suits and deflating lilos. However, there was plenty of water as the 65th Venice Film Festival rolled out the red carpet on Wednesday.
The cinematic festivities began with the screening of the Coen Brothers’ much-hyped crime comedy Burn After Reading, starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand.
With that formidable line-up, I can’t wait to get a first-hand look. The movie will be out in the UK on 17 October. Put it in your diaries now!
The opening day also saw Brad Pitt collect his Best Actor Award for, er, last year’s fabulous Western with the annoyingly long name *deep breath* The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
Apparently Brad was ‘unable to attend’ last year. That just wouldn’t happen at the Oscars.
The Venice Film Festival is seen by many as the beginning of the awards race that finishes with the above-mentioned Oscars. The English-speaking media has spent many column inches lamenting the lack of US films because of the Hollywood Writers’ Strike affecting movie output. And so, oh woe, there are ‘only’ five US films represented this year. That’s five films out of a line-up of 22. More than enough thank you very much! American films have so many other big platforms to launch from. They should be a minority at this festival and give the ‘smaller’ films a fighting chance.
But then again, if it wasn’t for stars like Brad & George turning up, doing their A-list thing, the festival just wouldn’t get the same media attention. Even now, Venice is slowly being overshadowed by Toronto International Film Festival, on 4-13 September and a direct competitor.
For me, Venice wins. Because it’s prettier, warmer and can boast with things like screening a refurbished print of Vittorio De Sica’s Ladri di Bicicletta (The Bicycle Thief) – attended by the director’s two sons. Ladri is an Italian neo-realist classic and an absolute favourite of mine that I would have loved to revisit on a big screen.
Instead, I’ll be keeping up-to-date with the festival diary, which, let’s face it, is like a famished homeless person pressing up against the window of a bakery. But we can’t all be rich and famous or brown-nosing media schmoozers.
The Venice Film Festival runs from 27 August until 6 September.