Venice film festival starts: gosling as space pioneer

venice film festival starts: gosling as space pioneer

For more than 100 years, the grand hotel des bains has been considered one of the best addresses on the lido. Not only did thomas mann make it famous with "death in venice," but during the film festival it was also visited by countless stars.

In 2010, however, it was closed and stood empty after failed reconstruction plans – until now. For the 75. Filmfest the legendary house has now been reopened, at least partially.

On the first floor visitors can see an exhibition on the history of the festival. Photos and film excerpts tell of directors and works that have already been celebrated here. Who of this 75. It is, of course, still unclear how the festival will be remembered. But the opening film on wednesday already raised hopes of a strong competition: "first man".

After the oscar-winning musical "la la land," 33-year-old director damien chazelle worked with ryan gosling again for this one. He plays the space pioneer neil armstrong, who was the first man to walk on the moon in july 1969. "First man" focuses on the long journey of armstrong and all the scientists who made this milestone possible. But the film also looks at armstrong’s personal life, how he lost his young daughter, and how the risks of the space program led to tensions in his marriage.

One can only imagine how another director would have turned this story into a patriotic heroic work. But chazelle avoids exactly that. Accordingly, the first moment on the moon is rather quiet for him. No U.S. Flag is rammed into the ground to the sound of loud, droning music.

Instead, chazelle subtly hints at the challenges and dangers. How the astronauts are flung wildly back and forth during the launch, how every screw is threatening to fly out due to the pressure. Political and social criticism is also voiced: why does so much money have to be spent on the race to the moon when there is poverty and social ills in the USA, especially for african americans??

"I don’t think neil saw himself as an american hero," gosling explained the approach. In any case, he never got that impression from his research. "I believe that this was seen primarily as a milestone for humanity."For him, astronauts like armstrong are also special people, "belonging to a different species".

"First man" is the first entry in the race for the festival’s golden len. 20 more will follow in the coming days. Only one is from a woman – which was criticized in advance. Jury president guillermo del toro also spoke out before the evening’s opening ceremony in favor of absolute equality of opportunity for men and women in the film business: "the goal must be clear: by the year 2020, the ratio must be 50:50," the mexican demanded.

The low number of women behind the camera, in production and other areas is "a real problem, in culture as a whole". The problem must be solved in all areas. "This must not be just a gesture, it is a necessity."

When the prizes were awarded on 8. September such discussions will probably not play a role. Del toro stressed that he was also not interested in the debate about productions by the streaming service netflix. "I think the films have to be judged by what they show on the screen," said the oscar award winner ("shape of water"). The rest is another debate. The jury’s task is in any case "a very serious one". "I really hope I’ll be surprised and discover something."