Venice Film Festival guests and jurors, including Guillermo del Toro, Naomi Watts, Christoph Waltz and Taika Waititi, gave the Universal-backed film a three-minute standing ovation. It wasn’t a rapturous reception, but it was respectful (as it was at the film’s press screening earlier in the day), perhaps fitting for such a skilled, clear-sighted and, at times, solemn film, whose reserve matches that of its lead character.
Early notices out of the Lido have been strong, with positive reviews across the trades and a 92% Rotten Tomatoes score from 12 writeups. The response to the pic has been highly promising in major foreign markets too. There are enthusiastic reviews from leading UK, Italian and French newspapers/websites, with particular praise for the film’s technical ability, epic visuals, performances, quiet emotion and score.
Earlier in the night, the opening ceremony included a Lifetime Achievement Award presentation for Vanessa Redgrave and a nod from festival president Paolo Baratta to recent tragedies in Italy.
Tomorrow, it’s over to Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma and a certain Mr Orson Welles…