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Published: 10:02, September 02, 2021
78th Venice Film Fest kicks off with large line-up
By Xinhua
Published:10:02, September 02, 2021 By Xinhua

A photo shows the festival's logo displayed by the festival's palace on Sept 1, 2021, on the opening day of the 78th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

VENICE, Italy - The Venice Film Festival kicked off in the Italian lagoon city on Wednesday evening, amid still stringent anti-pandemic measures, and with a large line-up that includes the world premiere of Pedro Almodovar's new film Parallel Mothers.

The international jury is led by South Korean Academy Award-winner Bong Joon-ho, director of Parasite, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes Festival in 2019

Running until Sept 11, the 78th edition of the Fest will see 21 films competing for the highest prize, the Golden Lion, and almost 60 countries and territories represented across the various sections of the event.

The international jury - made up of three men and four women this year - is led by South Korean Academy Award-winner Bong Joon-ho, director of Parasite, which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes Festival in 2019.

Among the most awaited films were Pablo Larrain's Spencer on Lady Diana, and Ridley Scott's The Last Duel starring Adam Driver, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck, which will have its world premiere (out of competition) on Sept 10.

Others were Denis Villeneuve's Dune (also out of competition) - adapted from a sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert of the same name - Italian Paolo Sorrentino's drama The Hand of God about a teenager's life and struggle against the backdrop of Naples in the 1980s, and Jane Campion's western The Power of the Dog.

ALSO READ: China's cinema recognized at festival in Venice

(From left) Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, Romanian director Alexander Nanau, Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, Chinese director Chloe Zhao, Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, British actress Cynthia Erivo, Jury President of the 78th Venice Film festival, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, Belgian French actress Virginie Efira, Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, Italian director Saverio Costanzo and Jury member of the 78th Venice Film festival, Canadian actress Sarah Gadon pose on Sept 1, 2021, during a photocall for the Venezia 78 Competition Jury, on the opening day of the 78th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

They add to the above-mentioned Almodovar's Parallel Mothers, which focuses on the life of two women who give birth to a child on the same day in Madrid, and starring several actors with whom the Spanish acclaimed director has long been working, such as Penelope Cruz, Julieta Serrano, and Aitana Sanchez-Gjion.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella attended the Almodovar's opening screening on Wednesday night, which followed the opening ceremony that saw acclaimed Italian comedian and director Roberto Benigni being awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.

"We are all experiencing difficult times, but - despite Coronavirus - we have gathered here for cinema," jury president Joon-ho noted in his greetings ahead of the opening screening. "(Together) With my fellow jury-members and the Venice audience as well, this is going to be a beautiful cinematic journey."

The festival will maintain strict anti-pandemic rules in place, including mandatory face masks and mandatory green pass (COVID-19 vaccination certificate) - or a negative swab test certificate every 48 hours - to enter the festival's premises and access all the screenings.

Also, all screening halls will operate at half of their capacity, while a wall will impede a direct view to the red carpet in order to avoid large gatherings of people outside the main Cinema Palace.

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