Venice 2019: Lions, Barbarians, and Farewells

  • MUBI
A few days ago, on my first dispatch from the Lido, I wrote that Venice was grappling with some sort of identity crisis. Having long been a fortunate platform for awards season hopefuls—and with Cannes and Netflix's disagreement over releasing films in French cinemas, a new favorite turf for the streaming giant—the festival needs to juggle its role as window for large studio productions, and the arguably far more important one it plays as launchpad for smaller-budget, unconventional and daring works from old and new auteurs. By the time you’ll read this, Joker’s Golden Lion will be old news. Minutes after the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle nabbed a most unexpected statuette, festival director Alberto Barbera went on to hail Todd Philipps’ triumph, claiming that the jury’s verdict spoke to the goal the festival has been working toward: “to reconcile a rigorous, research-oriented auteur cinema with
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