Movie of the day: Blonde


USA 2022, Director Andrew Dominik With Ana de Armas, Adrien Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Xavier Samuel, Julianne Nicholson, Lily Fisher, Running time 166′ – Distribution Netflix

«Marilyn was a deeply traumatized woman, and that kind of trauma needs to separate the public identity from the private one. It’s a method that everyone can use, but for famous people this fracture can become public and generate more wounds». Words of Andrew Dominik, director of Blonde. «The movie is about the relationship of Norma Jeane with herself and this other woman, Marilyn, who’s at the same time her shelter and the menace consuming her». Dominik comes back to Venice after The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that in 2007 gave Coppa Volpi to Brad Pitt, who was also the protagonist of Killing Them Softly (2012) that was in competition in Cannes, before coming back to Venice, out of competition in 2016, with One More Time With Feeling.

Blonde is written and directed by Dominik and is based on the homonymous novel by Joyce Carol Oates. Right after the world premiere in Venice, Blonde will be available on Netflix (September 23). It will be the first Netflix Original rated NC17.

«We worked on this movie for many hours every day for almost a year», reminds Ana de Armas«I read the novel by Joyce Carol Oates hundreds of times, I studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, everything that was available to me. Every scene in the movie is inspired by an existing image. We discussed every tiny detail of each photo wondering what was happening when it was shot. The first question always was: “What did Norma Jeane feel here?”. We wanted to tell the human side of her story. Success made Marilyn the most exploited person in the world, but it also was what made Norma Jeane invisible». Ana De Armas gave all of herself to Marilyn. She spent three hours on the chair of the make-up artist and hair stylist each of the 47 days of the shooting before going on set and shooting intensely emotional scenes (also hiding her strong Cuban accent). Her performance impressed Dominik, who considers himself «very lucky to have had Ana because she can do everything. She’s been amazing. She understood the very essence of Marilyn in a moment. She’s been empathetic and understood all my requests. Thanks to Ana, every shot was alive».

Oscar Cosulich

The other movie in competition


Shab, dakheli, divarIran, 2022. Director Vahid Jalilvand. With Navid Mohammadzadeh, Diana Habibi, Amir Aghaee. Running time 2h 6’

«A concentrationary metaphor that perfectly represents today’s Iran». This is how Artistic Director Alberto Barbera has defined Beyond the Wall (Shab, dakheli, divar), the first of the two Iranian movies in competition. Iran (such as Ukraine) has a privileged focus at this year’s festival after the crackdown of the Iranian government and the arrest of three of its prominent directors, including Jafar Panahi, who’s also running for Golden Lion. Beyond the Wall is directed by Vahid Jalilvand, who was selected for Orizzonti in 2015 with Chaharshanbeh, 19 Ordibehesht (2015, first fiction after more than 30 documentaries) and most of all “The Doubt” (Bedoune tarikh, bedoune emza, 2017), the story of a doctor and a father both anguished by the doubt of having cause the death of a child. A dramatic apologue about law, morality, science and social inequalities that won for best directing and best actor (Navid Mohammadzadeh) always in Orizzonti. Navid is also the protagonist of Beyond the Wall. He’s Ali, a blind man who, after failing to kill himself, discovers that in his apartment found shelter Leila (Diana Habibi), who’s wanted by the police. The woman also has epilepsy and she’s anguished for the fate of her four years old son who got lost during a protest that ended up in chaos. Among the cast there’s also the co-protagonist of The Doubt Amir Aghaei. Along with Panahi’s No Bears di Panahi, Jalilvand’s movie is perfect to think about Iranian society and support its most brave cinema in these difficult times for the artists disliked by the ayatollahs as confirmed by the recent attack on the writer Salman Rushdie.

Emanuele Bucci

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