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Image / Living / Culture

Best of the Venice Film Festival: the 4 films that got standing ovations


By Sarah Finnan
08th Sep 2021

Power of the Dog

Best of the Venice Film Festival: the 4 films that got standing ovations

These movies are sure to impress, at least if the reception they received at the Venice Film Festival is anything to go by.

One of three big film festivals to take place each year, Venice has been welcoming the crème de la crème of the movie world to its humble shores since its foundation back in 1932. The oldest film festival in the world, it continues to be one of the most popular too; impress there and you’re pretty much golden. 

Currently underway over on the island of Lido in the Venice Lagoon, the festival still has another few days of celebrations left yet but four films have impressed so far – a Princess Diana biopic and a new Spanish drama amongst them.

Parallel Mothers

If the nine-minute standing ovation this film received at the Venice Film Festival won’t convince you, I don’t know what will. Directed by Pedro Almodóvar, the Spanish drama tells the story of two women who meet in a hospital room where they give birth on the same day. Both single, they became pregnant by accident and while middle-aged Janis delights at the news, a teenage Ana is traumatised by it. Starring Penélope Cruz, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón and Milena Smit amongst others. 

Parallel Mothers will open in US cinemas on December 24th, with an Irish release date hopefully to follow. 

Dune

Another movie that debuted to rave reviews, Dune wasn’t far behind Parallel Mothers, and received a thoroughly impressive six-minute standing ovation at Venice (some reports claim it was closer to eight minutes). An adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel of the same name, Dune was directed by Denis Villeneuve and features quite an ensemble cast with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya at its helm. Described as a “mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey”, it centres on Paul Atreides; a brilliant and gifted young man who is born into a great destiny beyond his understanding. 

In cinemas next month on October 22nd.

Power of the Dog

Based on a novel by Thomas Savage, Power of the Dog tells the story of two brothers. One charismatic but cruel (Benedict Cumberbatch), the other dim but kind (Jesse Plemons), they spend decades living alone on a ranch in Montana before a widow (Kristen Dunst) and her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) enter the picture. Opening to a four-minute standing ovation over in Venice, Cumberbatch has faced some criticism for his decision to play a gay man in the movie. Since addressing the public’s concerns, he assured fans that the casting “wasn’t done without thought”. “I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity, and inclusion,” the actor said in an interview with IndieWire. “One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view.”

Power of the Dog will land in cinemas this November, 17th.

Spencer

The final film to impress over in Italy, it’s no surprise that fan reaction to the upcoming Princess Diana biopic was so favourable and Spencer received a three-minute standing ovation after the final credits had rolled. Kristen Stewart takes on the mammoth task of portraying the people’s princess, with the action taking place over the course of a Christmas weekend 1991. Directed and produced by Pablo Larraín, he said that he’s always been “intrigued and fascinated by the royal family”, later adding that the movie is about Diana “finding herself, about understanding that possibly the most important thing for her is to be well, and to be with herself and by herself”. 

Spencer will hit US cinemas on Friday, November 5th, with a European release date expected soon after. 

Needless to say, several others are also tipped for success too, but this is just a taster to get you going.