Venice Film Festival: Netflix shows its muscle to moviegoers

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Venice (AFP)

Paolo Sorrentino, Jane Campion: Netflix, which has become a leading force in the film economy, is confident in the race for the Golden Lion on Thursday with two of the authors’ most awaited films at the Venice Film Festival.

The film “The Power of the Dog”, which will be shown under the gold medal of the Grand Hall of the Cinema Palace, on the second day of the competition, marks the return of the feature film by Jean Campion, for the first time since 2009. .

Netflix offers the services of the director who was the first to win the Palme d’Or, nearly three decades ago, in 1993, for “The Piano Lesson”.

Two co-stars share the bill, Briton Benedict Cumberbatch, who has alternated with authors and blockbuster Marvel films, and Kirsten Dunst, ten years after her coronation in Cannes for her role with Lars van Trier (“Melancholia”).

Adapted from a book by Thomas Savage, the film depicts the confrontation between two brothers who go against everything, on a Montana farm, after one of them returns home, accompanied by his new wife.

With this film, the streaming giant, founded less than a quarter of a century ago, hopes to buy a winning ticket to the prestigious race for the Lion d’Or, the world’s oldest film competition.

British actor Benedict Cumberbatch in October 2019 in New York Angela Weiss AFP/Archives

The platform had already set the spirits off in 2018 by winning the Golden Lion for Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma”, which was then awarded at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.

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The stakes are high, because if platforms, and Netflix in particular, emerge vigorously from the pandemic against big historical studios, and garner legions of new subscribers while theaters close, the Reed Hastings group is still looking for respect. He seeks to make people forget his image as a content click.

Alfonso Cuaron won the Golden Lion for the film "Rome", September 8, 2018 in Venice Mostra
Alfonso Cuaron won the Golden Lion for “Roma”, September 8, 2018 at the Venice Film Festival Alberto Bezzoli AFP / Archives

Especially if Amazon had paid for the legendary James Bond studio, MGM, to better compete with him, Netflix would still deny itself access to the biggest and most popular festivals, it was, because its films don’t come out. In theaters in France.

– Sorrentino’s biography –

La Mostra does not hesitate to play the Netflix card in the power struggle of major international festivals. A policy that has long been denounced by a part of the movie world that fears the power of the platform.

On Thursday, Netflix is ​​also presenting “The Hand of God,” the latest work by Paolo Sorrentino, 51, one of the most talented Italian filmmakers of his generation.

The director is dedicated by “La Grande Belezza” (Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014) and the series “The Young Pope” finds his favorite actor, Tony Cervello, but in a completely different biographical record.

Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, on September 1, 2019 at the Venice Film Festival
Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, on September 1, 2019 at the Venice Film Festival Alberto Bezzoli AFP / Archives

The film follows the story of his childhood, and the birth of his career as a director in tragic circumstances, in Naples, when Argentine footballer Diego Maradona wore the colors of the city.

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In France, where the strict media chronology that is supposed to protect cinemas is in place, “La Main de Dieu” can only be discovered on the small screen, on December 15th on Netflix.

The site also acquired the rights to another movie in competition, “The Lost Daughter,” which marks the transition to directing from actress Maggie Gyllenhaal (December 31 online).

American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, July 17, 2021 in Cannes
American actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, July 17, 2021 in Cannes Valerie Hach Agence France-Presse/Archives

And the controversy over streaming, beyond the case of Netflix, could continue the next day, with the world premiere of the blockbuster “Dune”, by Denis Villeneuve, with Timothée Chalamet.

The Canadian director is not angry at Warner’s decision to also broadcast his film, which fans and theater operators have been eagerly awaiting, online in some countries.

“Watching +dunes+ on TV is like driving a speedboat in your bathtub. To me that’s ridiculous,” he said again, shortly before Mostra opened, to the press. American.

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