Venice Film Festival Day One Straw Poll: How Are Critics Getting On With The Fest’s New Reviews “Rule”?


First day. First Man. The press screening of Damien Chazelle’s anticipated space pic took place this morning on the Lido but you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

There’s something of an eerie online silence from critics and bloggers who in previous years would be holding forth on Twitter and splashing reviews across websites. The virtual buzz is quieter following Venice’s new embargo on reviews. The festival has called on journalists not to publish them until the start of evening premieres.

While a couple of writers I spoke to concur that there is a little less bandwidth buzz on opening day, the majority of critics and publicists I heard from seem very happy with the festival’s new protocol.

“Are you kidding? I LOVE it,” said one festival regular.

“The embargo rule makes complete sense to me, and it’s what Cannes ought to do,” another seasoned critic told me. “Who takes satisfaction in knowing a director is going into their premiere already aware their film’s been trashed? Now critics don’t have the pressure to write immediately. This allows us time to sit with the film rather than race to be first, which is always nonsense.”

Cannes this year moved press screenings to be in sync with or after public screenings, many of which are in the evening.

“It’s a better set up than Cannes,” another concurred. “You have time to think about your review. It’s a nicer flow than having to run out and write your review late at night.”

“I love it,” said a veteran writer. “It may quieten the buzz a little but who wants their films reviewed in 60 minutes by a stressed critic who’s racing against all the other publications?”

Publicists I spoke to are also happy with the move.

The new set-up means European sites might see a little less traffic with most of the big reviews going up in the evening local time but US sites are largely unaffected.

The shift came about, I understand, as a result of those connected to movies (and likely the talent) expressing frustration over good vibes being zapped by bad write-ups.

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