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Italian Season: My Biennale. The 76th Venice International Film Festival. Part II

Anastasia Sviridova describes her trip to La Biennale 2019...

Five years after my first visit to Lido seemed like an eternity, and my life had changed radically. I moved to Europe, started to attend the cinema events actively and to write reviews regularly at the friends request and in my personal film blog.

After five years the festival itself has changed, but it was so nice to meet it again, like an old friend.

The event has gained momentum and now strives for the former greatness of the 1930s. Only, of course, there were no photographers on the ladders those days.

Timothée Chalamet, Venice and La Biennale

In 2019, I purposefully but spontaneously burst out of work for a couple of days for the festival. It was difficult to buy tickets for screenings even on the opening day of online sales, since the program was planned to be very interesting and everyone wanted to attend as many premieres as possible. Nevertheless, I was lucky with David Michôd's "The King". You can get an accreditation to La Biennale if you are under 26 years old, but thinking about it for the sake of two days was not profitable, and I decided that next time I would definitely go for a longer time and with the cherished badge.

I bought tickets for the Ryanair low-cost flight, rented a bright room in a large apartment in the city center. The owner of the apartment was a wonderful Venetian woman with dogs. Upon arrival, I even could chat a little with her about life in Venice, about shelters for pets and homeless dogs.

Venice is a city on the water, there are no cars, everyone is pedestrian. You need to move between the islands of a small archipelago using public transport - vaporetto: something like the St. Petersburg's river trams. (Only idle travelers ride gondolas in order to spend more money and gawk at those who, in turn, look at them from bridges.) There were the same number of tourists as five years ago, but there were many times more people at the festival. Nevertheless, I managed to buy a ticket for the rerun of two episodes of Paolo Sorrentino's New Pope right at the box office of the festival area and also enjoyed the red carpet with Jude Law, John Malkovich, Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman that day.

Jude Law, John Malkovich

The island of Lido, where the festival takes place, is not very big. There is an impressive beach on it, where everyone who wants to swim from Venice flocks spend their time. I never got to the beach that time, but after the Cannes Film Festival it became clear that if you go anywhere to the festival, you will hardly see anything else. Eating 2 times a day and sleeping 4-5 hours on festival days is a luxury.

“The King" premiere day was eventful. After breakfast at Floriana, Venice's oldest café with live music and imposing waiters on the Venice's main square, I spent the rest of the day at the Lido. A couple more unforgettable meetings with Timothée Chalamet, an octopus in a seaside restaurant, a crazy red carpet with eardrums popping, and the premiere itself in the evening. There were glitter of the spotlights, the luxurious suits, the happy faces. I wanted to photograph such moments with every part of my soul and leave it inside myself forever. The thunderous applause of the audience after the screening, all the glances directed at the applauding team of the film - this is an instant return, this is what we are all going to such events for, and this is the most valuable gift of inspiration in any activity related to creativity and journalism.

To Be Continued…

Text and photos: Anastasia Sviridova

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