Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest film festival, welcomes back stars to the red carpet after 2020’s slimmed down edition.
This year, celebrities are returning in force to the Venice Film Festival at the Lido waterfront. The organisers have a strict anti-Covid protocol to keep the 11-day event infection free.
Theatres are operating at half capacity. There is also a wall blocking the view to the red carpet to stop crowds from gathering. Face masks and a health pass or a negative COVID test are required to attend screenings.
“They are taking measures really seriously. Everyone is being really careful, really responsible. I think it’s great for the industry that things can start to come back,” Penelope Cruz told Reuters ahead of the opening ceremony.
“I am happy that it’s happening. It’s a celebration of cinema but it also gives jobs to a lot of people around the world.”
Festival starts with Pedro Almodovar film
Cruz stars in “Parallel Mothers”, the festival’s opening film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Other stars arriving in Venice are Kirsten Dunst, Timothee Chalamet, Matt Dillon and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
“Everybody everywhere is eager to come back, to reopen, to restart, to release the films that stayed on the shelf for a year and a half or maybe two years,” festival director Alberto Barbera told Reuters.
“The red carpet will be one of the most crowded in years because everybody is here,” he said.
Golden Lion award contenders
Titles vying for the Golden Lion award for best film include Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog”, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst; and Kristen Stewart’s turn as Princess Diana in “Spencer”.
Also, in the main line-up is Gyllenhaal with her debut as director, of “The Lost Daughter”. Based on an Elena Ferrante novel, it stars Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson.
Outside the Golden Lion competition are Ridley Scott’s medieval epic “The Last Duel” starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and Denis Villeneuve’s hotly anticipated science-fiction tale “Dune”, with Chalamet and Zendaya.
South Korean “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho – who presides over the jury – said he was ready for a fight with fellow jury members to pick the award winners.