The Venice Film Festival crowned a female Frankenstein on Saturday September 9 with Emma Stone, at the end of a festival marked by the strike in Hollywood and the invitation of filmmakers targeted by the MeToo movement. With Poor Creatures, Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, La Favorite), a regular at festivals, finally achieves recognition. The film, fantastic and baroque, is largely in black and white. Sometimes believed, Pauvres Créatures is both entertainment and a message about how norms weigh on women.
The American star Emma Stone, who also produced the film, plays a candid creature who undergoes her sentimental and sexual education. She was unable to make the trip to the Mostra due to the strike which paralyzed Hollywood. The film and Bella Baxter, its main character, "an incredible creature, would not exist without Emma Stone, another incredible creature," said Yorgos Lanthimos upon accepting his award.
In an Italy ruled by the extreme right, the jury chaired by Damien Chazelle (La-la-land, First Man) also sent a political message by awarding several prizes to films denouncing the fate reserved for migrants by Europe. Great voice of Polish cinema, Agnieszka Holland received the special jury prize for Green Border, which shows the tragic fate of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Africa, tossed between Poland and Belarus in 2021, prisoners of a diplomatic game that goes beyond them.
A young Senegalese actor, Seydou Sarr, received the prize for best newcomer for his role as a young migrant who crosses Africa and the Mediterranean at the risk of his life to reach Italy, in Moi, Capitaine by Matteo Garrone, a film which also won the Silver Lion for Best Director.
As for performers, the Mostra distinguished two Americans: Cailee Spaeny, 25, for her first major role, that of the wife of the "King", Priscilla Presley, in the biopic Priscilla by Sofia Coppola, and Peter Sarsgaard, who gives the responds to Jessica Chastain, as a man suffering from dementia in Memory by Michel Franco. Unlike many stars playing in films from major studios, and who were unable to make the trip to Venice during the strike, the two winners went on stage to receive their trophies.
Peter Sarsgaard took the opportunity to express his support for the strike and launch a diatribe against artificial intelligence, for which screenwriters and actors are requesting supervision. “If we lose this battle, our industry will only be the first of many others to fall,” he prophesied: medicine or the conduct of war could in turn be entrusted to artificial intelligence, which would “opens the way for atrocities.”
Frosty reception for Polanski's "The Palace"
The Mostra was the first international festival hit hard by the historic standoff with the studios, even if a few stars like Adam Driver, Mads Mikkelsen or Jessica Chastain came, taking care to each give their support to the strikers.
Feminist movements have sought to give voice, in particular through collages in the city to denounce the honors granted by the oldest festival in the world to artists targeted by the MeToo movement, which denounces sexist and sexual violence against women.
Luc Besson, against whom rape charges were brought before being definitively dismissed by French justice this year, was in competition with Dogman. Woody Allen, ostracized from the American film industry and not prosecuted, presented his fiftieth film Coup de Chance, the first shot in French, out of competition.
Roman Polanski, who has been fleeing American justice for more than forty years after a conviction for sexual relations with a minor, did not come to Venice, where his latest film The Palace, also out of competition, received a cold reception. . The director of the Mostra, Alberto Barbera, justified the invitation of these three filmmakers by calling for a distinction between the man and the artist.