World’s Coolest End-Of-Summer Blast: The Spectacular 2023 Venice Film Festival Opens On The Lido

The cool kids of Hollywood and Europe have convened over Labor Day for Europe’s signature Mediterannean end-of-summer rite, the Venice Film Festival, this year in its landmark 80th year. The festival takes place largely on the Lido, the sumptuous barrier island out in the storied green lagoon about a twenty-minute commute by boat from the city and its hundreds of bridges. There’s a warm old-fashioned element to the event — like a Venetian chandelier, it may be charmingly chipped and worn from the decades of clinking, but it provides a grand illumination. No matter how supercharged with Hollywood wattage, people kick back — it’s Venice, the Serene One, La Serenissima.

Which is why it’s a slice of the film industry and a snapshot of some major players that we don’t really get to see in Cannes, at the beginning of the season. The restaurants in town and out on the island are packed, the premieres are certainly fizzy, but as ever, La Serenissima beats the world and its cares back, the wine flows, the vaporetti and the taxis chug around on endless party patrol.

None of which is to imply that the business end of things doesn’t get served, as Adam Driver and Patrick Dempsey, suited and booted on the red carpet for Ferraria amply demonstrate, pictured top. But Venice is also the sort of festival that has an annual “godmother” — aka, “patroness” — and this year it’s the Sardinia-born Casino Royale actress Caterina Murino, doing a light turn for the press as she puts an evening gown through its paces in the lagoon surf, pictured below.

Naturally, the most “Italian” non-Italian big players — who more or less “own” considerable chunks of the lake district northwest of Venice and who, in fact, were married in La Serenissima, make a point of showing up. Below: the elegant Mr. and Mrs. Clooney arrive at an awards event on August 31.

Hollywood veterans will be used to crowds, but there’s something fetching and truly democratic about the Italian festivalgoers: They’ll mob Wes Anderson, who, despite his acclaim, scarcely turns a head back home in New York or Los Angeles. The auteur himself, excellently turned out in his best Death In Venice suit, seems amused by it.

Not least, the world’s starlets-in-waiting have an obligatory global it-girl-at-the-it-event playbook that requires attendance in Venice. Chief among them, and quite ready, if you ask her, for some auteur arrive at the idea to cast her as the ingenue in a major romantic comedy to speed the inevitable move out of modeling toward the silver screen, is the inimitable Georgia May Jagger, pictured below on the red carpet for Ferarri. This kind of posing must be somewhere in her DNA.

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