The Venice Film Festival turns 76 but is not only about cinema

The Festival puts on display films, actors and directors. The Venetian lagoon also hosts glamorous events and gatsbyesque parties. 

The Festival has been directed by Paolo Barbera for several years now. This year the special Hostess will be the Italian actress Alessandra Mastronardi, while the jury president will be the Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel.

Venetian nights are worth being chronicled in the papers for weeks and weeks: allegedly they are to be spent partying in aristocratic palaces and lavish hotels from the turn of the century, wandering in a maze of little streets (calli) or traveling aboard a gondola, sailing the shimmering canals.

Glamorous Venice should be the nickname of its Film Festival, given the number of patrons from the fashion industry that help make the event a great international success. 

Italian actress Isabella Ferrari on the red carpet

Italian actress Isabella Ferrari on the red carpet

The Festival officially launched this past Wednesday (August 28) but already on Tuesday night the international jet-set had flocked to the Venetian lagoon for two occasions glamorous occasions: at the Sala Darsena on the Lido the film from 1934 (that was considered obscene) “Extase” by Gustav Machatý, in a new digital copy restored in 4K and the third Franca Sozzani Award, presented to the model Iman Abdulmajid during a lavish party at the Hotel Cipriani Belmondo on the Giudecca Island.

Opening night

The Festival was launched by the screening of “La Vérité” by Kore-eda Hirokazu featuring Catherine Deneuve, Ethan Hawke and Juliette Binoche. Grand opening party at Palazzina Grassi dancing on the notes of Dj Claptone.

La vérité

La vérité

August  30

Roman Polanski presents his “J’Accuse” on the Dreyfus affair, featuring Jean Dujardin and Louis Garrel. “Seberg“ is a biopic devoted to the muse of the Nouvelle Vague Jean Seberg, played by Kristen Stewart.

Roman Polanski's latest film about the Dreyfus case

Roman Polanski’s latest film about the Dreyfus case

Upon invitation, a large ball to pay tribute to Pedro Almodovar at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia. The Spanish director received the Leone d’oro alla carriera on the 29th (The Golden Lion Career Award). At the Palazzina Grassi Spike Lee will introduce “American Skin” by Nate Parker.

Pedro Almodovar kissing The Golden Lion prize

Pedro Almodovar kissing The Golden Lion prize

August 31

For cine-comic fans this is the most important day: Todd Phillips presents his “Joker”, a movie about the origins of the most-beloved villain in the history of comics. The protagonist is Joaquin Phoenix, sidekicked by Robert De Niro. Long-awaited is also “Ema” by Pablo Larraìn, gifted Chilean director (“Tony Manero”, “No”, “El Club”, “Jackie”).

Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, dancing on the stairs

Joker, Joaquin Phoenix, dancing on the stairs

September 1

Do you remember the Panama Papers? From that event Steven Soderbergh drew inspiration for his “The Laundromat” featuring an exceptional cast with Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas and Sharon Stone.

Meryl Streep in The Laundromat

Two big previews of “The New Pope”, the second season of the successful tv series devised by Paolo Sorrentino with Jude Law, John Malkovich and Silvio Orlando.

Jude Law in Paolo Sorrentino's The New Pope

Jude Law in Paolo Sorrentino’s The New Pope


Jude Law walks down the beach in a pair of tiny swim shorts

Jude Law walks down the beach in a pair of tiny swim shorts

A sumptuous  dinner will be hosted at the Sagredo Palace (Ca’ Sagredo) to celebrate Italian directors Lina Wertmuller and Marco Bellocchio.

At the luxurious Campari Lounge, Isabelle Huppert will be the guest of honour at the cocktail party for the Filming Italy Best Movie Award.

CAMPARI, main sponsor for the 75th Venice International Film Festival

The CAMPARI Lounge

September 2

Pietro Marcello will present “Martin Eden” based on a novel by Jack London with Luca Marinelli in the title role. Long awaited, “The King” by French director David Michod features Timothée Chalamet and Robert Pattinson.

At 11pm, on the Biennale Terrace, an extravagant event for the traditional Ciak Party and libations to toast to Sorrentino’s tv series “The New Pope”.

September 3

Movie buffs can queue for Atom Egoyan’s latest film, “Guest of Honour”.  

As one of the main sponsors, the red-signature aperitivo company Campari devised the very first Floating Cinema. The floating platform with 50 seats will be launched to present Ferzan Ozpetek’s “Venetika”, the piece-of-art short movie created for the Venice pavilion at the Art Biennale, with Kasia Smutniak as the main character. The movie will be screened at 9pm. The city of Venice becomes a water nymph played by Ozpetek’s muse Smutniak.

Ozpetek's Venetika

Ozpetek’s Venetika

Later on, at the Palazzina Grassi a concert of the band from the beautiful island of Capri “Anema e Core.”

September 4

For those interested in the life of modern influencers and their daily duties and endeavours, it is gonna be Chiara Ferragni-day, and a documentary about her, “Chiara Ferragni: Unposted.” Also presented Shannon Murphy’s “Babyteeth” and Lou Ye’s “Saturday Fiction.”

September 5

Spotlights on “ZeroZeroZero”, a series by Stefano Sollima based on a Roberto Saviano’s book. Critics eagerly await “Gloria Mundi” by Robert Guédiguian.

September 6

For the screening of Ciro Guerra’s “Waiting for the Barbarians” the lagoon welcomes Johnny Depp and Robert Pattinson, the movie is based on a novel by Coetzee.

Johnny Depp in Ciro Guerra's Waiting for the barbarians

Johnny Depp in Ciro Guerra’s Waiting for the barbarians

It will also be an important day for Italy, presenting Franco Maresco’s “La mafia non è più quella di una volta” and Gabriele Salvatores’Tutto il mio folle amore (Volare)” with Claudio Santamaria, Valeria Golino and Diego Abatantuono.

Closing night

September 7, The big finale. The award ceremony night.  Then we will know who has won The Golden Lion (il Leone d’Oro) and all the other awards. Afterwards, the closing movie: Giuseppe Capotondi’s “The Burnt Orange Heresy” featuring Mick Jagger.

On the dunes of the Hotel Excelsior, an opulent final dinner to celebrate all the Lions (awards and winners) and international cinema.

Preps for the gala dinner

Preps for the gala dinner

Leave a Reply