The director of the Venice Film Festival, Alberto Barbera, has had much to reflect on the first week of the festival. There have been strong receptions for emblematic films such as Joker, Marriage Story and Ad Astra, ongoing debate about the shortage of women in competition and drama when the jury president, Lucretia Martel, had to clarify the comments she made about Roman Polanski in The first press conference.
We sat down with Barbera in the middle of the festival to talk about possible Oscar candidates (the festival has released three of the last five winners of the Best Film), the jury’s prospects for Polanski’s film, An Officer And A Spy, a film directed by women who wished she were here and her own future at the festival.
Good Morning. How do you feel about the festival so far?
Alberto Barbera: I feel very well so far. It seems that most movies have had good answers.
Joker was very strong. Potentially, it was a risk for Warner Bros to take him to a festival. But the response has been excellent …
I think they made a good choice. The right choice The film deserves the reception it is receiving. It goes beyond the limits of gender.
What are the perspectives of the Academy, do you think? Even at this initial stage, I hope he is in the race in at least three or four categories, including Best Movie …
They are very good. Absolutely, it will be in the race.
However, there are potential containment points. The message about mental health and the issue of murders of imitators, for example. Do you anticipate any problems there?
I do not think so. The way he treats those elements is smart. It is not a simplistic view. Social factors and other external factors combine with the character’s mental state to make it a complex image. That is a strength of the movie. It is a strong, unexpected and original film. Even if there are references to The King Of Comedy and Taxi Driver, it is a very original movie.
I saw Joker and then Nate Parker’s movie consecutively. Combined, it was a dark vision of America today …
Joker is a dark movie. It is a dark vision of the contemporary world. Nate’s film is provocative. It is a controversy.
Besides Joker, what movies could appear at the Oscars?
It is hard to say. It is so unpredictable and there is a long way to go. Joker sure. The film Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach had a very warm response from the press. I think it’s his best movie so far. The performances are quite surprising and the script is excellent. This could play a role.