What is a movie festival without some spice? The Venice Film Festival’s 79th edition, now unfolding on the Lido, off the mainland, threw up a handful of it on Friday as the festival witnessed the red carpet premiere of Timothee Chalamet’s Bones and All.
With the actor turning heads with a bright red backless suit, aping the movie’s main protagonist, on the red carpet, Bones and All presented bloody attacks and horrific scenes of cannibalism. The work, directed by Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name), plots a gut-wrenching narrative.
And, believe it or not, the film received a long-standing ovation, beating another Festival title, Tar, which had Cate Blanchett in the role of a tortured music composer. Tar got six-minute applause whereas Bones & All got about 8.5 minutes ovation.
Chalamet essays a pale young man with a troubled past. On a road trip during the Ronald Regan era, he meets a woman, who is as disturbed as him. The drama explores the murder of the goriest kind and bizarre sexual preferences.
Bones and All is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” writer David Kajganich adapted the script.
Bones and All is Guadagnino’s first movie shot in the US, and marks a reunion between the director and Chalamet, who became one of the youngest best actor Oscar nominees in history for his work on their first collaboration “Call Me By Your Name.” Guadagnino has called Chalamet’s role in “Bones and All” a “heartbreaker”.
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“The second I read it, I said, I think only Timothee can play this role,” Guadagnino said in an interview last year. “He’s fantastic, a great performer and to see him soaring the way he is doing now, I feel proud of him. And this character is something very new for him, both endearing and heartbreaking.”
Guadagnino has had a long history with the Venice Film Festival. His directorial debut “The Protagonists” premiered in the 1999 edition. His movies “I Am Love,” “A Bigger Splash” and “Suspiria” also had their world premiere on the Lido.
At a media conference post his movie screening, Chalamet criticised social media. “To be young now, and to be young whenever — I can only speak for my generation — is to be intensely judged,” he said. “I can’t imagine what it is to grow up with the onslaught of social media, and it was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok and figure out where they fit in.” The film is set in the 1980s when there were no social media.
“I’m not casting judgement,” he added. “You can find your tribe there.” But “I think it’s hard to be alive now. I think a societal collapse is in the air. That’s why hopefully this movie will matter.”
Taylor Russel, who plays Chalamet’s partner, Maren, in Bones and All, also shared his concern. “I have a little brother who’s 19, 20-ish, and thinking about him in this world, and the self-judgement and judgment of others that people seem so flooded with every day in such a drastic and severe way is so scary because the hope is that you can find your own compass within all of it and that seems like a difficult task now,” she said.