The Venice Film Festival, the most prestigious international film festival, kicked off in its 79th session on Wednesday evening with a great celebration, with a surprising appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the screen, and in the presence of French star Catherine Deneuve as a guest of honor.
At the Palais des Cinemas on the island of Lido off the sea, the 78-year-old famous French actress was awarded an honorary Golden Lion for her career.
With her long red dress, Deneuve was impressed, who won the 1998 Best Actress award in the same place. She addressed the audience with the word “thank you” in Italian, after reading an honorary speech for her by the French filmmaker Arnaud Deblochamp.
Earlier on Wednesday, the blonde actress, who is continuing her film career with momentum, told AFP, “We are not looking back. This is not a rejection, it means that we still have time.”
After this tribute, the war in Ukraine overshadowed the atmosphere of the opening ceremony, with a video message to President Volodymyr Zelensky, who called on the world of cinema to “not forget” the war, which “is not limited to 120 minutes, but has been going on for 189 days.”
At the conclusion of his intervention, a list of children under the age of eighteen years of war victims of the war in Ukraine was shown on the screen on a black background, along with the date and place of birth for each of them.
After the words and gestures of honor, the cinematic atmosphere returned with the official screening of the opening film “White Noise” by American director Noah Bomback, based on a novel by Don de Lillo.
The film stars Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, Bomback’s life partner, 52, who previously directed several films, most notably “Frances Ha”, “The Merewitz Stories” and “Marriage Story”.
The selection of this film at the opening is a new sign of appreciation for the giant Netflix group in the field of streaming, the producer of this work, which is participating this year in the festival with no less than four films and series.
This year, 23 films are in the festival competition for the Golden Lion award on September 10, including eight directed by women.
American actress Julianne Moore presides over the jury, 20 years after she won an acting award at the festival for her role in “Far from Heaven”.
Among the most prominent members of the committee who were present on Wednesday with Moore was the French director of Lebanese origin, Audrey Diwan, who won the Golden Lion last year, and the Iranian Leila Hatami, who was represented in the movie “The Separation of Nader and Simin” (“The Separation”) by Asghar Farhadi, and the Spanish director Rodrigo Sorogoyen. .
It is expected that the festival will be attended by a constellation of Hollywood stars who often enjoy the atmosphere of Venice.
Australian Cate Blanchett will attend Thursday’s screening of Todd Field’s “Tar,” in which she plays a brilliant conductor. As for Friday, the spotlight will focus on the presence of French-American actor Timothée Chalamet.
Chalamet returns with Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All” to the festival, after his presence on the red carpet last year with “Don”.
Among the most prominent participants is the Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, who is starring in two films at the festival, a year after she won the Best Actress award for her role in Pedro Almodovar’s “Madres Parallas”. French actress Isabelle Huppert will also be in Venice, and participants hope that British pop star Harry Styles, who co-stars in “Don’t Worry Darling”, directed by his partner Olivia Wilde, will attend.
Attention is drawn to the Cuban actress Ana de Armas, who emerged last year as the “James Bond girl”, and plays the role of Marilyn Monroe in the film “Blond”, which is participating in the festival, 60 years after her death.
Inspired by Joyce Carol Oates’ novel of the same title and directed by Andrew Dominic, this film is expected to cause a sensation, as it re-reads the biography of the cinema icon from a feminist angle.