NewsVenice Film Festival: Penélope Cruz shines at the start

Venice Film Festival: Penélope Cruz shines at the start

The red carpet is cordoned off in such a way that no fans can jostle behind it – but despite the strict Corona requirements, the festival in Italy has a brilliant start with quite a few stars.

Venice – The sea sparkles seductively in the sun, in front of it the wide sandy beach of Venice stretches for kilometers. But one thing is missing in this perfect setting: the crowds of holidaymakers who otherwise come to sunbathe and swim on the island of Lido at this time of the year.

Even a few meters further, at the Venice Film Festival, the consequences of the pandemic are omnipresent at the start with stars like Penélope Cruz and Pedro Almodóvar – while at the same time a return to normal festival life can be felt.

Glamorous celebrities

A radiant Penélope Cruz, next to her a relaxed-looking Pedro Almodóvar: Right at the opening, the 78th International Film Festival will deliver the usual glamorous pictures of celebrities. The two Oscar winners presented their drama “Madres paralelas” at a gala in which the Italian actor and director Roberto Benigni (“Life is beautiful”) was honored with a Golden Lion for his life’s work, opening the festival. Cruz plays one of two women who get pregnant unplanned. Shortly before their daughters were born, they met in a clinic, and from then on their lives remained closely linked.

Filmfestspiele in Venedig


Milena Smit (lr), Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz at the Venice Film Festival.

With “Madres paralelas”, which means “Parallel Mothers” in German, Almodóvar takes up a lot that is known from his earlier works such as “Volver – Returning” and the Oscar success “Everything about my mother”. It shows strong women who take responsibility, support each other and assert themselves without real help from men. There is also a subplot that strongly denounces the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and appeals not to forget the past. His pictures are colorful and tastefully decorated as usual. A rich red splash of color can be found in almost every scene.

Nevertheless, when you watch, you always get the impression that the Spanish director is only hinting at too much. He addresses rape in schools and the problems of single mothers, but doesn’t really go into depth on these issues. Surprisingly, he doesn’t turn a turn to the two mothers and their children into an exciting psychological drama, but rather steers towards a more conciliatory end. This means that “Madres paralelas” is certainly not one of Almodóvar’s best films, but it still ensured the Venice Festival a glamorous start.

Responsible festival

It is also remarkable how the festival enables this shine despite the strict Corona requirements. The organizers of the Cannes Festival made it clear again and again in July that full cinemas and crowds of fans on the red carpet were more important to them than keeping their distance and other measures. Venice, on the other hand, proves once again how one can organize an international film festival prudently and responsibly – without having to do without glamorous pictures.

This year’s jury president, the South Korean director Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”), also praised Venice’s handling of the new situation. The Oscar winner was also optimistic before the opening: The Corona period would pass and the cinema would continue, he was sure. As a jury, it is now important to respect the work of all filmmakers over the next few days of the festival. “We are ready to explore, we are ready to fight!” Dpa

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