In a first for an Italian movie in over a decade, Daniele Luchetti’s Lacci has been set to open the Venice Film Festival’s 77th edition on September 2. The drama is based on the novel by Domenico Starnone and stars Alba Rohrwacher, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Morante, Silvio Orlando, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Adriano Giannini and Linda Cadri. It will screen out of competition.
Venice runs from September 2-12 on the Lido with the full lineup due to be announced next week. This is the first major international film event since the coronavirus pandemic began. Although it’s been a while, it’s not terribly surprising that an Italian movie has been designated to open the proceedings as a tribute to the country’s rich cinema history and recent strength — it may also be indicative of a lack of major available Hollywood titles, particularly given that travel restrictions could still be in place in early September. Covid means the fest is unlikely to pack the same Oscar punch as in recent years. Netflix movies are seemingly off the table and a number of studio films are shifting their dates. Sofia Coppola’s A24-Apple pic On The Rocks is one U.S. title that has been recently rumoured as a potential for the event.
While Venice has opened with some flashier films in the past (think: First Man, La La Land, Everest, Birdman, Gravity), last year the fest raised the curtain with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s French-language La Vérité — before Joker danced onto the Lido and took home the Golden Lion.
Lacci begins in early 1990s Naples and centers on Aldo and Vanda whose marriage begins to break down as Aldo falls in love with young Lidia. Thirty years later, Aldo and Vanda are still married. The film is billed as a mystery about feelings, a story of loyalty and faithlessness, of resentment and shame, betrayal, pain, a secret box, a home laid waste, a cat, the voice of people in love and that of people out of love. Produced by IBC Movie with Rai Cinema, Lacci is written by Starnone, Francesco Piccolo and Luchetti.
Says Luchetti, “Recently, we have all feared that cinema might become extinct. Yet during the quarantine it gave us comfort, like a light gleaming in a cavern. Today we have understood something else: that films, television series, novels, are indispensable in our lives. Long live festivals, then, which allow us to come together to celebrate the true meaning of our work. If anyone thought it served no purpose, they now know it is important to everyone. With Lacci I am honoured to open the dances of the first great festival in unexpected times.”
Adds Venice chief Alberto Barbera, “It’s been eleven years since the Venice International Film Festival was opened by an Italian film. This happy opportunity was offered by the wonderful film directed by Daniele Luchetti, an anatomy of a married couple’s problematic coexistence, as they struggle with infidelity, emotional blackmail, suffering and guilt, with an added mystery that is not revealed until the end. Supported by an outstanding cast, the film is also a sign of the promising phase in Italian cinema today, continuing the positive trend seen in recent years, which the quality of the films invited to Venice this year will surely confirm.”
Luchetti is an award-winning filmmaker whose previous credits include 1988’s It’s Happening Tomorrow, 1991’s Il Portaborse (The Yes Man), 1995’s La Scuola (School), 1998’s I Piccolo Maestri (Little Teachers) and Mio fratello E Figlio Unico (My Brother Is An Only Child) which ran in Cannes’ 2007 Un Certain Regard section and won five David di Donatello prizes. More recently, he was in the 2010 Cannes competition with La Nostra Vita for which Elio Germano took the Best Actor trophy. Luchetti also won the David di Donatello prize for Best Director. His last film before Lacci was 2019’s Momenti Di Trascurabile Felicità (Ordinary Happiness).