Venice Film Festival 2019 day 6 roundup: Julie Andrews wins Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

FP Staff

Sep 03, 2019 08:26:24 IST

Julie Andrews, the star of classic family films such as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award Monday at the Venice film festival.

The English actress, 83, kissed the special Golden Lion award and said she felt "so blessed" for having such a fairy-tale career.

"I'm still amazed, I've been a lucky girl who got to play beautiful roles," she added.

The child singer and dancer began in London's West End before rising to theatrical stardom on New York's Broadway in musicals such as My Fair Lady and Camelot.

 Venice Film Festival 2019 day 6 roundup: Julie Andrews wins Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Julie Andrews. Image from Twitter

She won an Oscar for Mary Poppins in 1965 and a nomination for best actress the following year for playing the governess Maria von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

After being made a dame by the Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Andrews made a big-screen comeback in the Princess Diaries in 2001.

She has lent her voice to hits such as the Shrek and Despicable Me movies in recent years.

The festival laid on a special screening of another of her most famous roles in Victor Victoria in her honour.

Jude Law brought the follow-up to The Young Pope to the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, presenting a glimpse of his return in the Paolo Sorrentino-directed papal drama, which at one point sees him wearing just “a napkin”.

The second series, called The New Pope, sees Law reprise the role of Lenny Belardo, who becomes Pius XIII, the first American pope in history.

After Law’s character falls into a coma, the sophisticated John Brannox, played by Hollywood actor John Malkovich, is elected to the papal throne, taking the name John Paul III.

Two episodes out of the series’ nine screened at the festival, which runs until Saturday. A teaser trailer shows Law strolling down a beach wearing white swimwear and surrounded by women. He is mirrored by Malkovich, who walks through the Vatican in full papal garb.

“You’ll be surprised to know that those swimming trunks actually weren’t the smallest costume I got to wear,” Law told a news conference on Sunday.

“There’s actually one scene where I was wearing a napkin. I have a photo of it because it was truly the smallest costume I was ever given.”

In the drama, miracles appear to take place and both popes have to learn to co-exist.

“The main inducement was to work with Paolo Sorrentino,” Malkovich said of joining the project.

“The Vatican or even religious things in general are probably not a primary field of interest for me, but I thought he made it very interesting in the first series in a way that was quite unexpected and something with a very unique vision.”

Controversial US director Nate Parker said Monday that he hopes his powerful new film about police violence against black men will help save lives.

American Skin received an eight-minute standing ovation after it premiered at the Venice film festival, with Spike Lee — who travelled to Italy to support Parker — comparing its impact to "scoring a goal to win the World Cup or a home run at the bottom of the ninth in American parlance".

The veteran maker of Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X had earlier declared that "I haven't been affected by a film like this... in a long, long time."

The movie about a black Iraq war veteran, whose 14-year-old son is killed by police when they stop their car in a wealthy white area, is a blistering indictment of institutional racism.

It culminates in the avenging father taking his son's killer hostage and putting him — and racist police attitudes — on trial after storming his local precinct.

Parker said he hopes the film will start a debate within US police forces about the way they deal with black people.

"This experience is happening all too often in America. I hopeful that it can resonate and people will hopefully be moved into action.

"Our mantra was take a beat [stop and think] and save a live. We can make a film that inspires not only conversation but real action. If we can save one life... this film will be the most important thing we have ever done," he added.

'Tone deaf' about rape case

Parker's acclaimed debut 2016 film about a slave revolt, The Birth of a Nation, was derailed after it emerged that he was accused of raping a fellow student while at university. She later killed herself.

Parker's presence added further flames to a row raging at the festival over the inclusion of a new film by Roman Polanski, who has spent decades as a fugitive from US justice for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Feminists have also deplored the decision to add the director's cut of Argentinian-French director Gasper Noe's controversial 2002 rape shocker Irreversible to the line-up.

Before the Venice premiere, Parker admitted that he had been "tone deaf" to sensitivities around the case after he was acquitted.

"A lot of people were hurt because of the way I approached things. I apologise to those people," the actor-turned-director told reporters.

"The last three years have been such a searing experience for me. I feel like I have gained so much wisdom from people in my circle."

While the Venice audience got behind the film, critics were more lukewarm.

The Hollywood Reporter hailed its relevance to the "open wound of the Black Lives Matter movement" while damning it as a "well-intentioned but heavy-handed bid to open a dialogue between law enforcement and African American communities aggrieved by too many unjustified police shootings."

Lee said he hoped the low-budget feature, shot on a "hope and a prayer" in April, will get a wide release in the States.

The Hollywood Reporter said the jury was still out on that.

"The movie unquestionably addresses a topic of searing relevance. What it will boil down to is whether Parker is deemed worthy of a second chance," said its chief critic Todd McCarthy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated Date: Sep 03, 2019 08:36:58 IST