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Annette Bening’s jury will hand out its prizes later tonight as the Venice Film Festival wraps up here on the Lido. This is the first time since 2006 that a woman has chaired the main panel, and while women may have been under-represented behind the camera in the main section, there was no shortage of strong females on display.
They’ve included Hong Chau’s scene-stealing turn in Alexander Payne’s opening night Downsizing from Paramount; Frances McDormand strutting through her grief in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri; Sally Hawkins’ unabashedly sexual 1950s imp ready to risk it all in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water (the latter two both from Fox Searchlight); and Helen Mirren’s turn as a wife determined to live out her final days on the road with her ailing husband in Paolo Virzi’s The Leisure Seeker (Sony Pictures Classics).
Competition - Judi - Dench - Titular - Queen
Out of competition we saw Judi Dench as the formidable titular Queen in Universal/Focus’ Victoria And Abdul from Stephen Frears, and Jane Fonda as a woman with a plan in Netflix’s Ritesh Batra-helmed Our Souls At Night. Even John Woo was giddy about showcasing two female gunfighters for the first time in Manhunt, a return to his brand of hard-boiled action.
In the Critics’ Week sidebar, meanwhile, two female directors scooped prizes on Friday: Natalia Garagiola for Hunting Season and Annika Berg for Team Hurricane.
Strand - Mother - Earth - Shout-out - Climate
Back in the main strand, mother! Earth got a big shout-out here with climate change a running theme in both that divisive film from Darren Aronofsky and Payne’s Downsizing. The 1950s/Cold War-era and their parallels to today were also present in such films as The Shape Of Water, George Clooney’s Suburbicon and out-of-competition doc Wormwood from...
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