I’m back in the USA and already dreaming about next year’s Venice Film Festival. Movie lovers of all kinds should consider a trip to Venice for La Biennale. It’s not at all the chaotic experience that a lot of people think it will be. This year my husband and daughter came with me and we enjoyed the city of Venice as much as we did the films.
Some (extremely) random thoughts:
1) I made a big mistake, which I quickly corrected, about staying at a hotel on Lido. We’d originally booked a week at the dismal Hotel Villa Cipro and would have slit our wrists if he’d have had to stay there, for so many reasons that it merits an entire blog post at a later date. Within an hour I’d packed all our bags, checked out, and moved over to the other side of the water at the wonderful Hotel Luna Baglioni. We got a free upgrade for the very last room there – a suite that’s bigger than Lauren’s apartment in New York and I cried having to leave. Talking to locals I realize that it’s not worth staying on Lido for the convenience of proximity to the film festival. Over there, the prices are way jacked up (that hell hole of a room at the Hotel Villa Cipro was 350€ ), the restaurants aren’t as good, and there’s a lot more confusion. It’s a very short vaporetto ride from San Marco, made even shorter with…
2) The 20 line. The 20 goes pretty directly to the festival, drops you off right at Film Village (next to the theaters) and subsequently allows you to avoid a bus ride after you get off the boat. The 20 is free for accredited journalists.
3) I shouldn’t have skipped the first and last day of the festival. With the new streamlining (less films, simpler lineup), most films were only shown one or two days. Last year I was only there for three days and saw everything, but this year missing the first and last day I missed seeing Ivano De Matteo’s Gli Equilibristi (got great reviews) and Francesca Comencini’s Un Giorno Speciale (but everyone says it was awful). Also, with less screenings, getting tickets for things was more of a pain. Last year was easier.
4) I have a new favorite restaurant, Alla Madonna,with the nicest waiters on the planet and the best spaghetti I’ve ever had, including my own, and sea food that Brian went wild over. This restaurant shall be forever remembered as the location of the great “Cheri vs. Angry Alla Madonna Regular Patron Rumble” in which I proved that I am just as mean and stubborn in Italian as in English.
5) I should formally apologize to Giselda Volodi’s daughter for accosting her mother in the street and making them late for dinner. I really couldn’t help being a star-struck idiot and getting my picture with her – she was so gracious!
6) Seeing movies I love with the director and stars sitting right behind you is a priceless experience. At the screening of my favorite actor in the world Luigi Lo Cascio’s La Città Ideale, Luigi (I finally got to see him in person!) said that he was exhausted from watching us watch his movie, and that element of joy from the people who made the movie makes viewing it so exciting.