“El Conde”, a vampire named Pinochet. Also the premiere of “Ferrari” and “Dogman” in Venice


By John

The 315 S of the “silver fox” Piero Taruffi is on display on the red carpet of the Palazzo del cinema, perhaps a first for a vintage racing car in the long history of the Film Festival which is celebrating 80 editions. It’s the day of Drake and the prancing horse in Venice and Michael Mann’s film about Enzo Ferrari, a melodramatic story of dangerous races, brilliant engineers, of bereavements, of lethal passion, of roaring engines and marital crises, of unacknowledged children and secret alcoves. A romantic film that moves at a fast pace and tells a story and a distant era, also demonstrated by the presence of Piero Ferrari at the world premiere in the large hall.

The protagonist Adam Driver, who had the approval of the union because the film is an independent production, is acclaimed as a rare American star in this Venice 80 and with him Patrick Dempsey, Dr. Derek Shepherd of Grey’s Anatomy, who plays Taruffi and who asked Mann to be in the film at all costs as a Formula 1 fan. Mick Jagger’s daughter, Georgia May, was also on the red carpet among influencers and models.

In competition, in addition to the expected Ferrari (it will be released in cinemas with 01), yesterday there was El Conde, the count, the new film by Pablo Larrain who reinterprets the history of the dictator of his country, Chile, Augusto Pinochet as a vampire who sucks the blood of Chileans and robs their money. Filmed in black and white, with Jaime Vadell in the role of the elderly general who after 250 years decides to die heartbroken by his children who can’t wait to get their hands on the accumulated treasure and by the dishonor because public opinion considers him a fraud. The director chooses, as in his previous works (Spencer for example), a grotesque register and the story of Pinochet, 50 years after the coup, recently back in the news after the evidence that the CIA was informed of the coup that gave the away to dictatorship (on Netflix from September 15th).

Dogman by Luc Besson was also the third film in the competition yesterday, a black fairy tale starring Douglas (the eclectic and Luciferian Caleb Landry Jones), a boy who from an early age is locked in a cage full of dogs by a violent father and an equally violent brother and finds himself living on a chair on wheels surrounded by his faithful dogs capable of protecting him as well as, if necessary, committing crimes. Always disguised as a woman (a way for him to protect himself), Douglas slowly becomes a mad joker.

It took the imagination of Pablo Larrain (Tony Manero, Jackie) to imagine an Augusto Pinochet who had become a tired vampire who, after 250 years of life, just wants to die. He would also be ready to do it, but he has only one fear: he even accepts being called a murderer, but can’t stand being called a thief. His wife (Gloria Münchmeyer), then, started a relationship with her shady butler (Alfredo Castro) who is also a vampire. Sons and daughters, finally, are only waiting for his inheritance and are thus more vampires than vampires.
«The idea of ​​the film – explains the director – is certainly not original and is based on the most dangerous of concepts, namely that a figure like Pinochet can be eternal and that evil can ultimately survive. I believe that today it is right to say this at a time when history seems to repeat itself.” However, it is difficult to «predict – he adds – how he will be welcomed in Chile. There are probably those who will hate him and those who will love him».
The initial idea, underlines Larrain, «was to make a film about Pinochet as a vampire and we thought about making a TV series, but then we said to ourselves: why don’t we make a film? However, we had never considered developing this project on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the coup. It was not expected. It was just a coincidence.”
A long process was needed to address this issue, also because «Pinochet has never been represented in cinema or on TV. We had to find the right approach which ultimately led us to combine farce, satire with elements that come from the legend of the vampire count. This is a way to never empathize with him, something – underlines the director – which would have been absolutely unacceptable.

The life, the pain, the emotions of Enzo Ferrari

Rare American star spotted on the Lido: it is Adam Driver who, in a trade union exemption to the harsh strike of authors and actors underway in Hollywood, is at the Venice Film Festival to present his Enzo Ferrari.
After playing Maurizio Gucci in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, the 39-year-old actor is competing with another Italian, Drake, the legend of Maranello, protagonist of Michael Mann’s film, in the running for the Golden Lion.
«A particular man, different from everyone else, a person who was spurred on by the mourning of his young son Dino, by the pain he felt. And all the relationships with the people around him, in the family and in the stable, were conditioned by it. I knew little about Enzo Ferrari – says Adam Driver – but as we prepared the film, we got to know the real places in Modena, the barber shop, the studio, the house, the restaurants, I entered into connection with him and his world, it was really exciting.”
In the independently produced blockbuster (which is why it was able to be here), shot in Italy, with adrenaline-filled racing scenes, there is the reconstruction of the famous 1957 Mille Miglia with the tragedy that cost the life of Ferrari driver Alfonso De Portago and he massacred the public in Guidizzolo with the death of nine spectators including 4 children. It was the last Mille Miglia, later banned for safety reasons, the end of an era. The cast includes Penelope Cruz (his wife Laura Ferrari), Jack O’Connell, Sarah Gadon (Linda Christian), Gabriel Leon, Lino Musella, Valentina Bellè and Shailene Woodley who plays the lover Lina Lardi, from whom Piero will be born, recognized only in 1975.
«I have always been fascinated by such profoundly human stories, when I came across such a dynamic character like Enzo Ferrari I was struck. All the contrasting aspects of him are universal, but that’s life and he had concentrated them,” says the director.
1957 was a crucial year in the life of Enzo Ferrari: he lost his beloved son Dino to dystrophy at the age of 24, his marriage to Laura, ruined by pain, was at an end, in the meantime he continued his extramarital affair with Lina Lardi, known during the war and who gave him his son Pietro who calls him dad, during the races his faithful friends die and the challenge with the Maserati, also from Modena, takes away his sleep, for him there are only races and the Mille Miglia of that year will end in tragedy. Public and private overlap in Michael Mann’s melody.