Even as the audience rises to their feet to applaud, the participants at the Venice Film Festival leave their masks on.
It was common practice by Wednesday night at the Italian film festival when the opening night film, Parallel Mothers played.
During a five-minute standing ovation for Spanish cinema in the ancient Sala Grande, Director Pedro Almodóvar and his muse Penelope Cruz, who wore facial coverings, did not remove them.
Cruz hugged Almodóvar’s arm immediately after the credits rolled. Cruz seemed emotional as the audience enthusiastically cheered for the picture.
The Venice Film Festival, widely regarded as the most popular film festival globally, recently celebrated its 78th year in style, after the latter days of the COVID-19 epidemic. While they stayed faithful to old-fashioned regulations (such as vaccination requirements and reserving every other seat in theaters), the festival modified its policies to accommodate public fears.
That, of course, resulted in huge demand for tickets to see Parallel Mothers debut. Some amazing A-list celebrities were able to stand for two hours while still disguised. Bong Joon Ho, Cynthia Erivo, and Chloé Zhao were among the enthusiastic attendees of the 2018 Venice Film Festival, celebrating the jury’s many awards with their clapping as Italy’s president, Sergio Mattarella, arrived and was himself showered with acclaim.
Parallel Mothers is the eighth collaboration between Almodóvar and Cruz. The actress portrays Janis, a renowned fashion photographer who becomes a mother and is forced to cope with a moral issue. There are soapy narrative twists in the drama, much as in Almodóvar’s work, which earned good-to-mixed reviews out of Venice.
Bong, known for directing Parasite, started the meeting with a brief speech: “We all believe that Covid will be over soon, but cinema will be with us forever.”
After being honored by Oscar-winning director Jane Campion, Roberto Benigni got the lifetime achievement award. Director and actor Roberto Benigni stormed onto the stage at the 1998 Oscars as he owned it.
Parallel Mothers begins the U.S. run in theaters on December 24, with a premiere on Sony Pictures Classics.