The Lido, overlooking the celebrated St Marks Square in Venice, still looks as quaint as ever, and I could see no visible change. Interesting, for go to any Indian city after six months, and it looks unrecognisable. So much of construction and so many changes! But the Lido in all the three years that I have not been able to go to cover the Venice Film Festival seems to be standing in a time warp.
With the 79th edition which kicked in later on Wednesday with Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, headlined by Adam Driver, the island certainly looks far more relaxed with Covid seemingly having run it long and disastrous course. Italy really suffered with huge numbers falling sick and dying.
But the nightmare seems history now – unless the virus decides to return — and Venetians are in the mood to celebrate cinema and summer and sunshine.
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And true to this gay atmosphere, the President of the jury, American actress Julianne Moore, indulged in light-hearted banter at a press conference on the Lido on Wednesday morning. She joked, “Everybody has to dress alike, that’s my rule. We’re all going to wear the same thing and eat at the same time.”
On a serious note, she averred, “Curation matters so much. Venice is people gathering this extraordinary work for us all to discover.”
The US actress described her first experience of curation, through her local cinema as a 10-year-old in Juneau, Alaska, where she saw John Cassavetes’ 1971 movie, Minnie And Moskowitz.
Moore had wondered then, “What is this? What is this world out there? How do I fit in? That is the most important part of moviemaking, of being in films. And that’s what I so appreciate about coming to a place like this – that there has been this tremendous curation and an opportunity to learn.”
Talking about her first visit to Venice in the 1980s when she was working on an American television show, she laughed, “If I had known then I would be the head of the jury at the Venice Film Festival, I would have fallen into the canal.”
Moore’s fellow Competition jurors are French filmmaker Audrey Diwan, who won the Golden Lion last year for Happening, moviemakers Leonardo Di Costanzo, Mariano Cohn and Rodrigo Sorogoyen; actress Leila Hatami; and author and screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro.
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