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The Hollywood Insider Venice Film Festival 2022

Photo: ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Cast and Crew at Venice Film Festival

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Film festivals are times for films to premiere and compete, and be appreciated by artists and critics. They are times for actors and directors to hit multiple red carpets, speak to the press, and most importantly, celebrate the hard work they have put into the cinematic experience. Throughout festivals, films are recognized and awarded for their brilliance. Popular festivals include the Cannes Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and most recently, the Venice Film Festival. This year, the Venice Film Festival (or VFF) began on August 31st and went on till September 10th. At VFF, the world became privy to what the movie world will look like in the next few months. 

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This year is the 79th annual VFF, and like the name suggests, it is held in Venice, Italy, specifically in Lido di Venezia. Anticipated films which premiered range from the Marilyn Monroe-inspired ‘Blonde,’ to Darren Aronofsky’sThe Whale,’ and so many more. There are so many insights gathered from these premieres, including first reviews from international critics. What are the films to look out for? And what responses have these films garnered? 

Venice Film Festival 2022 – The Complete Guide

Venice Film Festival Awards

Before diving into the specific films of this year, let’s take a look at the awards system.They are definitely something to look out for. First off, it’s an honor to be selected to screen at such festivals, but secondly, the films that screen and are awarded for various achievements are positive indicators for the overarching award season (which generally occurs from November to February annually). This season includes accolades such as the Golden Globes, The BAFTAs (or British Academy of Film and Television Awards), and the Academy Awards. For Venice, the festival programme includes a maximum of 21 films screening in competition for the Golden Lion award, that is bestowed upon the best overall film at the festival. Additionally, a maximum of 18 more films are screened for their relevance without competing. Other films are also screened from classics to films that represent modern international cinema, and more categories are rewarded. 

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As mentioned, the Golden Lion is known as the highest honor, and given to the best film. This year, that honor went to ‘All the Beauty and Bloodshed,’ a documentary film that captures the life of Nan Goldin, a photographer and activist during the opioid epidemic. The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the second best film screened, and the Special Jury Prize is awarded to the third best. The Grand Jury Prize winner for 2022 was ‘Saint Omer’ while the Special Jury Prize went to ‘No Bears.’ ‘Saint Omer’ covers a young novelist as she attends an intense murder trial, and ‘No Bears’ tackles parallel love stories. The Silver Lion is awarded to the best director in the competitive section, and the Volpi Cup is awarded to the best actor and actress. There’s a ton of awards to remember, but with so many accolades it’ll be interesting to see how these awards will reflect on the award season.

The Frontrunning Selections

The opening film for this year is Noah Baumbach’sWhite Noise,’ starring Adam Driver and Baumbach’s spouse, Greta Gerwig. Baumbach’s most previous success was ‘Marriage Story’ in 2019. ‘White Noise’ is based on a 1985 novel and is set in a dystopian future in which a train accident results in a toxic chemical outbreak. The premise and the team behind the film make it out to be promising, even more promising is the film’s involvement as a competitor for the Golden Lion, and its placement as the choice to open the festival. ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ is turning heads for its 13-15 minute standing ovation at its premiere. It’s common for films to receive long-standing ovations at film festivals, and, presumably, the longer the clapping, the better the film. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star in Martin McDonagh’s piece about a friendship, and how that friendship comes to an end. Furthermore, Farrell was awarded as Best Actor at VFF for his performance in this film, and McDonagh received the Best Screenplay award.

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Thus far, ‘The Banshees of Insherin’ has obtained a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s not the only one. ‘Tár,’ starring Hollywood darling, Cate Blanchett is currently at the top of the list, and takes its audience into the world of classical music. Blanchett was awarded as Best Actress. The French film, ‘Other People’s Children,’ or ‘Les Enfants des Autres’ rests happily at 100%, and tells the story of a 40-year-old woman who begins to care for her boyfriend’s daughter, but that care becomes dangerous. ‘A Compassionate Spy,’ which resides out of the main competition, yet delivers a powerful story about an American scientist, Theodore “Ted” Hall, who worked under Oppenheimer, and shared America’s scientific secrets with Russia, also obtained the desired perfect score. The overall festival winner, ‘All the Beauty and Bloodshed,’ along with ‘Saint Omer’ and ‘Blue Jean’ obtained the same.  

Other Highly Anticipated Works

With so many films screening at VFF, there are so many films to look forward to. Timothée Chalamet fans be alert! A new film starring the beloved actor entitled: ‘Bones and All’ premiered, and received an 8-minute standing ovation.  The film is directed by Luca Guadagnino, the same director who did ‘Call Me by Your Name,’ and explores a romance between Chalamet and Taylor Russell, though there’s a dark element within the characters’ pasts. Russell won for Best Young Actor, while Guadagnino took home the Silver Lion for Best Director. Darren Aronofsky’s ‘The Whale’ received a 6-minute standing ovation, and stars Brendan Fraser in a role that is more than just a “comeback” performance. Hong Chau plays his friend and nurse, and Sadie Sink of ‘Stranger Things’ fame portrays Fraser’s seventeen-year-old daughter, whom he seeks to reconnect with. 

Though it is not in the competition, ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles premiered and received a 4-minute standing ovation. The film has been in the spotlight for its subsequent drama regarding its actors and director, Olivia Wilde, however, this project stands on its own without the gossip surrounding it, as it centers on a couple in the 1950s-60s living the ideal life, until Pugh’s character starts investigating the reality behind this idealism. All these films are set to be released for general audiences between September and December, and their reviews and responses from VFF allow moviegoers to foresee which films will suit their tastes the best. There’s a lot to look forward to within the next few months, so thank you, Venice Film Festival, for premiering these films and getting the world excited.

By Rachel Beltowski

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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