The sparrows were already whistling from the rooftops on Thursday. And here, too, it should not go unmentioned, although the artistic added value of the message remains manageable. “Bennifer” have arrived at the Lido, both on an important mission: Jennifer Lopez as the most famous face of the Valentino fashion house, Ben Affleck as the leading actor in Ridley Scott’s knight drama “The Last Duel”.
Although the film is out of competition, this late appearance by the happily reunited glamor couple – overshadowed by the Abba comeback – is of immense importance for the self-image of the festival. With Cartier, Venice was able to win a new sponsor this year (the donated prize goes to Sir Ridley Scott), but without a top-class name, even the most beautiful jewelery loses its shine.
“The Last Duel”, written by Nicole Holofcener, Matt Damon and Affleck, is not a cinematic highlight, but it still shows a lot of goodwill. In the late 14th century, Lady Marguerite (Jodie “Villanelle” Comer), the wife of a knight (Damon) who had fallen out of favor with the French king, accused the impeccably reputable Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) of rape. Since women were legally considered the property of their husbands at that time, it is first up to Damon and Driver to tell their versions of this (true) story in a “rashomon” -like three-act act – before Comer gets the floor in the strongest, third part.
The inventor of the action heroine
With his “Alien” films, Scott is, so to speak, the inventor of the action heroine. In contrast, Jodie Comer’s presence internalizes another strength that is not immediately apparent: impenetrable irony.
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In the testosterone-containing knight’s film, she sets accents that make Driver and Damon look pale even in full gear. It would be an exaggeration to call Ridley Scott “woke” – despite Kevin Spacey’s deletion from “All the Money in the World”. But you have to let him know that in his old days he is still looking for a female perspective in this male genre.
The medieval spectacle at the end of the festival is the counterpoint in the second week in which political films dominated the competition – not always as entertaining as Gabriele Mainetti’s “Freaks Out”. Valentyn Vasyanovych’s tableau-like “Reflection” on the Russo-Ukrainian war finds the wrong form for its theme, the Russian atonement drama “Captain Volkonogov Escaped” by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov does not achieve transcendence despite its Bresson title. All three could be seen again on Saturday at the lion awards ceremony. But the competition with Jane Campion and Maggie Gyllenhaal is strong.