The world’s oldest film festival, the Venice jamboree, has opened with the jury steeling itself for a marathon of screenings and a barrage of paparrazi snapping their every move.
More stars than in heaven were in the Serenissima, but the city of the Doges was far from serene as Brad and George and Tilda and company swanned in, and were immediately surrounded by photographers and fans.
For the 66th festival there is an Italian film opening the action for the first time in two decades. Baaria is the latest offering from Guiseppe Tornatore, whose “Cinema Paradiso” won an Oscar 21 years ago.
The cinema complex on the Lido waterfront is being given a 100 million euro makeover, so jury president Ang Lee is happy what he calls the greatest of all festivals is being brought into the 21st century:
“Each good movie has its own merit and it’s impossible to compare them. At the same time I’ve witnessed film competition is the most exciting event in film culture.”
As for Baaria, it’s one of the most expensive movies in Italian history, at a cool 25 million euros. It is a broad sentimental sweep through the history of 20th century Sicily, taking in fascism, war, communism, and the mafia.
The festival runs until September the 12th.