Under normal circumstances, social media would be flooded with dazzling stars arriving at the Lido di Venezia dressed in the finest fashion as the Venice International Film Festival commences. However this time around, Hollywood is absent from the red carpet as the historic WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue with studios unprepared to make concessions.
So, for the 80th edition of the oldest film festival in the world, the focus is purely on cinema and the directors behind the camera. The only fashion that demands attention are the T shirts proudly sported by La La Land director and jury president Damien Chazelle and The Banshees of Inisherin‘s Martin McDonagh. With the slogan “Writers Guild On Strike” the message is more than clear: artists deserve proper financial compensation. The threat that Hollywood faces right now seems existential to many in the face of increased streaming, artificial intelligence, and dwindling residuals.
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“It is a difficult time obviously in Hollywood for working actors and writers, and also for crews,” Chazelle told reporters. “There is a basic idea that each work of art has a value unto itself and is not just a piece of content, which is Hollywood’s favorite word right now,” he said before adding, “It comes down to each person being remunerated for each piece of art that is made, and how to find a way to maintain and get back that idea of art over content.”
Despite expected names such as Zendaya, Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Michael Fasbender, and more missing, the festival seems to have persevered just as it once did in the face of Covid-19. With Italian Second World War drama Comandante replacing Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers as the opening film and other titles such as Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, Adam Driver starrer Ferrari, David Fincher’s The Killer, the festival continues to celebrate the best of cinema.