The race for the Venice Film Awards is on after a star-studded festival


The 78th Venice Film Festival – Screening of the film ‘Hand of God’ in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Venice, Italy September 2, 2021 – Director Paolo Sorrentino poses. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

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VENICE, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Paolo Sorrentino’s film about the death of his own parents, Jane Campion’s 1920s frontier saga and a hard-hitting French tale about abortion are among the Film Festival’s top contenders of Venice on Saturday, with the race sight wide open.

Film critics agreed that the 21-title competition’s main lineup, which included Kristen Stewart’s turn as Princess Diana in “Spencer”, was one of the strongest in recent memory, as many films have been held back during the coronavirus pandemic.

Outside the competition, and ineligible for the prizes, were Denis Villeneuve’s remake of the sci-fi classic “Dune” and Ridley Scott’s medieval epic “The Last Duel.”

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These two images reinforced star power – an essential ingredient for a successful festival, and even more so after last year’s lackluster edition. Ben Affleck – hand in hand with Jennifer Lopez – Matt Damon, Timothee Chalamet, Stewart and Penelope Cruz were among the red carpet stars.

COVID-19 restrictions meant fans were kept away from celebrities – although Chalamet jumped over a security fence to sign autographs and pose for photos with a screaming crowd.

There were fewer smaller parties and, with theaters half-operating, many attendees struggled to reserve seats through the mandatory online platform. But the buzz was back.

“I thought the lineup looked phenomenal on entry and it mostly held up,” said Scott Roxborough of The Hollywood Reporter, praising the mix of big-budget Hollywood films with more auteur films. intimate such as “Reflection”, a Ukrainian film about the war against Russian-backed separatists in the east.

He said his favorite movie was ‘Official Competition’, an Argentinian satire that is tearing the movie industry apart and is also up for the Golden Lion award.

A film review roundup of Italian critics on the Lido waterfront gave Sorrentino’s ‘Hand of God’, also popular with foreign critics, the highest score.

“Sorrentino looks like a good compromise choice,” said Italian freelance journalist Paola Jacobbi, a Venice veteran, although she added that much would depend on the whims of the jury, led this year by the South Korean director of “Parasite” Bong Joon-ho.

Other critically acclaimed films include Paul Schrader’s “The Card Counter”, the story of a soldier-turned-card-player with flashbacks to Abu Ghraib prison, and Russia’s “Captain Volkonogov Escaped”. , about a state executioner in crisis of conscience.

The awards ceremony concluding the 11-day film marathon takes place on Saturday from 17:00 GMT.

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Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; edited by Diane Craft

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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