Lose Yourself in La Dolce Vita: The Venice International Film Festival! By Vivienne Bardot
Would you like to have an A-list experience? Wouldn’t we all!
If you plan to attend the glamorous Venice International Film Festival (August 31st – September 10th), I guarantee you will feel like a celebrity! More than any other global film festival, Venice (re)presents a world of escape: An emotionally stirring setting where one can easily disappear into the world of film and of the characters being portrayed; a star-studded yet accessible affair which invites and encourages everyone to become a star on the Lido!
The Venice Film Festival, part of the artistic and cultural display that is the annual Biennale, is the world’s oldest (longest-running) international film festival. Debuting in 1932 with the premiere of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the film festival became an annual component of La Biennale in 1935; however, due to the Second World War, as well as upheavals in the late 1960s and early ’70s, some editions of the Venice Film Festival were not counted. Therefore, the upcoming 2016 event will represent the 73rd annual edition.
At Venice in 2015, Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón, known for his work on Harry Potter and Y Tu Mamá También, served as president of the jury for the main competition, while homage was paid to the acclaimed director Federico Fellini‘s restored version of Amarcord.
Desde Alla, a Venezuelan film by Lorenzo Vigas, won the coveted Leone d’Oro (Golden Lion). The opening night screening was Everest, purported to be a true account of the 1996 Mount Everest climbing disaster; and Mr. Six, directed by Guan Hu, closed the 72nd festival, hosted by the actress and director, Elisa Sednaoui.
In between, there were Black Mass with Johnny Depp, and The Danish Girl with Amber Heard – both highly anticipated commercial screenings. Yet for the first time in the festival’s long history, a Netflix-produced film, Beasts of No Nation, was in competition – and this created a ‘controversy’ surpassed only by the last minute cancellation of The Audition, a short film directed by Martin Scorcese, with the mass-appeal participation of Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Di Niro. The Audition‘s participation at Venice was cancelled just days before it was scheduled to be screened.
Followers of the Venice Film Festival might understand these tensions: Luigi Chiarini, the festival’s director in the 1960’s, left a legacy of opposing the commercialization of the film industry, favoring instead the artistic integrity of Film (versus the mere showing of “star”-studded “movies”). It is a legacy which has been honored by most subsequent editions.
Meanwhile, the party scene of the Venice Film Festival is certainly as glamorous as its “competitor” on the Continent, the annual Cannes International Film Festival.
For example, Vanity Fair‘s party at the Westin Europa/Regina Hotel was once again one of the most coveted events in 2015, sharing the spotlight with Italian car maker Maserati, one of the film festival’s main sponsors, with an elegant terrace at the Excelsior hotel – Senza dubita, one of the most glamorous and sought-after places to see and be seen, during one of the world’s most surprisingly accessible international film festivals.
As a sign at the ticket booth on the Lido correctly assessed:
“Unlike the Cannes Film Festival, where it is virtually impossible for ordinary mortals to attend the red-carpet screenings, anyone can buy tickets to the premieres and galas at Venice.”
Indeed, if you’re planning to attend the Venice International Film Festival in 2016: Benvenuto! You can set your expectations high, and they will still be surpassed!
Spero di vederci!
I hope to see you!