Movies, movies, movies… time to bring out the red carpet!
The curtain opens on the 71st edition of the Venice Film Festival as the City of Canals takes center stage in the world of cinema.
World-renowned actors, directors and screenwriters are set to gather at the prestigious Venetian island of Lido. The industry’s spotlight centers on the little pocket of islands in between the Adriatic Sea and the Venetian Lagoon as the latest innovation in cinema is contrasted by the rich history and culture of la Serenissima. The setting itself, which might very well be found in some of the movies being shown at the festival, displays a stunning Liberty Art Nouveau architecture accompanied by marvelous parks, tree-lined streets, and seemingly endless beaches ideal for a vacationer looking to get away from the daily grind… while also checking out the latest in film!
The festival has undergone a bit of a shift in power, as the judges assembled to give out the esteemed Golden Lion for best film are about as far from mainstream as it gets. The new face of the festival starts first and foremost with its president, French composer Alexandre Desplat, a rather unconventional choice given the festival’s past. The president certainly fits the bill, considering that the judges of this edition are composed primarily of indie directors, actors, and screenwriters; the only household names on the list are English actor Tim Roth and Italian actor/director Carlo Verdone.
The great honor of opening up the festivities has been given to Alejandro Inarritu with his Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, a film featuring a truly stellar cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts, all set to make appearances on the red carpet. But the excitement doesn’t stop there, as this edition will likely see many more of the industry’s finest grace the highly touted Venetian walkway.
As expected, wherever the stars of the silver screen appear, the crowds of diehard fans soon follow, clawing their way through the pack to get a real-life glimpse of those they’ve only admired from afar. This year’s spotlight will shine brightly on one of the legends of Hollywood, Al Pacino, who has two films to debut in Venice. Stepping onto the carpet shortly thereafter are other crowd pleasers such as actors Willem Dafoe, Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray and actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni.
However, the emotion of red carpet appearances is only half of the fun, because nothing sparks our imagination more than an enticing story, especially when it just so happens to be documented by the best in the business.
The pleasure and curiosity of this event is rooted in the need to take part in and fuel the collective art, cumbersome and intriguing as it is, with unfathomable onscreen enchantment that remain forever obscure, even in many cases to the very protagonists themselves.
No algorithm exists, nor does any clear-cut rubric explain the qualities necessary for the creation of an award-winning film, or that of a major flop, for that matter. Perhaps it’s only after the entire production is complete that we can begin to judge the true nature of a film, separating the greats from the pretenders, the masterpieces from the flavors of the week. It’s the spectators themselves who have the authority on what passes forever into history as an all-time great.
And it’s those same spectators that flood the Lagoon for a festival full of history with the very stars that rewrite it over and over again.