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Venice International Film Festival 2022: Controversy and Praise

The 79th edition of the Venice International Film Festival left us with some unforgettable moments and others to be forgotten. We tell you what the most outstanding premieres and events of this year were.

Still from the movie 'Don't Worry Darling'

Photo: YT-Warner Bros. Pictures

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Festival Internacional de Cine de Venecia 2022: entre elogios y polémicas

From August 31 to September 10, the Venice International Film Festival took place at the Palazzo del Cinema, on the Venice Lido. It is an event that generates expectations of the films that will star in the next awards ceremonies, for which it has great prestige in the film industry. Its purpose is to promote international cinema, in addition to honoring great figures who have made history in the world of the arts.

Organized by La Biennale di Venezia, the festival's jury awards the Golden Lion (Leone d'Oro) to the best film in the competition; the Silver Lion (Leone d'Argento) for best director; while the Volpi Cup goes to the best actor and best actress. For 2022, the 79th edition of the Venice Film Festival was marked by moments full of applause and the occasional controversy. Here we present a summary of the highlights.

Red carpet at the top

Every festival has its red carpet and in Venice, the most influential figures in entertainment were seen. Penélope Cruz appeared in the early days wearing a spectacular long black dress from the house of Chanel; Julianne Moore was elegant at the opening in a sheer embroidered tulle gown by Armani; and Cate Blanchett rocked a flared black velvet jumpsuit by Schiaparelli.

Maude Apatow and Sydney Sweeney walked together in similar dresses from Armani Privé; Florence Pugh shattered convention in a sparkly-encrusted Valentino long-cape bodysuit; while Sadie Sink fell in love with more than one with her rhinestone design by designer Alexander McQueen.

But the trend setter was Timothée Chalamet. The designer Haider Ackermann was commissioned to make the actor an unexpected look that, for many experts, has changed the paradigms of men's fashion. The artist wore a set of shiny silk and red lamé leaving his back bare, as well as black leather ankle boots.

The most controversial film of the year

The movie "Don't Worry Darling" has become the most controversial of the year and not precisely because of its plot. Director Olivia Wilde has been immersed in various controversies. First with Shia LaBeouf, whom he would have fired for his bad behavior on set, although the actor later denied that version. Then, with Florence Pugh, whose relationship from the filming of the film grew colder and colder.

During the press conference in Venice, the entire main cast was present except for Pugh, who arrived on his own and was not seen interacting with Wilde throughout the gala. For his part, Harry Styles, who replaced LaBeouf as the protagonist, drew attention by kissing Nick Kroll, co-star, on the mouth after the screening of the film, which only received four minutes of applause.

"Don't Worry Darling" is a psychological thriller that follows a couple, Alice (Pugh) and Jack (Styles), who move to an experimental town. However, what seemed to be a perfect life soon becomes a facade with sinister secrets that only Alice will be able to discover.

 A seven-minute ovation

"The Whale" is the film that marks two triumphant returns, Darren Aronofsky's and Brendan Fraser's. It was one of the most anticipated premieres of the Venice Film Festival and the final result was magnificent, with a great reception from the public who stood up and gave them a seven-minute ovation.

Due to various personal problems, Fraser left Hollywood despite being one of the most iconic actors of the nineties. In this film, he surpasses himself and leaves great performances that received praise from critics, who already assure that he will be in the running for an Oscar. His image, delivered to the tearful applause of the public, was the most exciting thing about the festival.

The optimistic vision of "The Whale" makes it clear to us that seeing the positive in people, and bringing that out of them, can change the world. The plot follows Charlie (Fraser), a teacher who, after the death of his boyfriend, begins to eat junk food to try to anesthetize his pain, something that is causing him obesity. In this attempt to calm his situation, he will also try to rebuild his relationship with his daughter.

Premieres to highlight

The Venice Film Festival lived up to expectations. Beyond the aforementioned "The Whale" and "Don't Worry Darling", the list of films that premiered was extensive and several of them are already beginning to make merits for the next awards season. It is worth mentioning that among them two appear as representatives of Latin America.

"Bones and All" mixes two genres that are usually opposed in the cinema such as horror and romance. Director Luca Guadagnino presents a story whose protagonists are two cannibal lovers (Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet), who begin a journey across the country to try to understand why they need to kill and eat the people they love.

For its part, the Oscar winner, Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Bardo (or false chronicle of a few truths)" is a work that should not be overlooked this year. It is a nostalgic comedy full of uncertainties, in which its protagonist undertakes a trip back to his native Mexico facing personal problems, as well as the past and the new reality of his country.

In turn, Andrew Dominik's acclaimed film "Blonde" has all the ingredients to be the sensation for the rest of the year . The biopic about Marilyn Monroe, starring Ana de Armas, has already received very good reviews for both the plot and the performance of the Cuban actress. Its premiere on Netflix will be on September 28.

Finally, "Argentina, 1985" is the other representative of Latin America. Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani star in a story based on real events, where two prosecutors initiate an investigation to try the leaders of the military dictatorship in Argentina for crimes against humanity. The film is directed by Santiago Miter.