The 70th annual Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica, also known as the Venice International Film Festival, begins today at the Lido. Alfonso Cuaron's thriller Gravity will be the opening film. The movie stars George Clooney, the most famous of American actors owning a house in Italy: Villa Oleandra on Lake Como. Clooney arrived on Tuesday, driving a boat on the canal to reach the Hotel Cipriani, where he usually stays when attending the Mostra. Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci will helm the jury. “I am very curious,” he says in an interview to the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. “The strength of Alberto Barbera’s festival program is in the risks it takes. I will try to find a nice harmony among members of the jury, who are all people I deeply respect.” The festival will honor Bertolucci with a documentary dedicated to his career, Bertolucci on Bertolucci by Luca Guadagnino and Walter Fasano. “I saw it ten days ago,” he says to La Repubblica. “How can I judge it? It’s me talking for two hours. My first reaction was, cut it by half. It’s like a time machine for me. I saw myself at 22, at 50, at 25, at 70. But since it’s important to take your life with irony, I have to admit that I liked the sequence of my ties in time.” Following the end of the festival, a restored 3D version of Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, winner of 9 Oscars including best director and best film, will be screened in selected theaters around Italy on September 10 and 11. “I watched it at the Cannes Film Festival, it looked magical,” Bertolucci says. The opening night begins at 7 pm with the inauguration ceremony hosted by Biennale’s president Paolo Baratta and Sicilian actress and model Eva Riccobono. This will be followed by the screening of Gravity, which stars, alongside Clooney, Sandra Bullock, who has also arrived in Venice. Besides Bertolucci’s documentary, another much awaited documentary is Che strano chiamarsi Federico, Scola racconta Fellini, where Italian screenwriter and director Ettore Scola recounts Fellini’s times through his meetings with him. For the first time, two documentaries will be part of the competition: one of them is Sacro Gra, by Gianfranco Rosi, a portrait of life on the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the ring-shaped freeway that encircles Rome (the other documentary is on former U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld). And, as every year, there are the parties. Two have already taken place: one was held at the luxury hotel Danieli and another one on the Maserati Terrace of the Excelsior. The festival continues until September 7.
The 70th Venice International Film Festival begins at the Lido