VENICE — The 63rd Venice Film Festival opened Aug. 30 with the paparazzi screaming “Scarlett,” as Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Mia Kirshner and novelist James Ellroy paraded down the Palazzo del Cinema’s red carpet — 40 minutes late — to tubthump Brian De Palma’s adaptation of “The Black Dahlia.”
For once, the snag was not the Lido event’s fault. Rather, per “Dahlia” publicists, it was due to Johansson fretting over her getup, which, from the blush on her cheeks to her chaste white gown, harked back to 1940s Tinseltown, when the noir pic is set.
About 1,000 other guests of the gala had previously strutted by the giant Golden Lions in front of the Palazzo del Cinema, among them jury prexy Catherine Deneuve and fellow juror Cameron Crowe; Italo helmer Mario Monicelli; and helmer-producer Gil Rossellini. This year the high and mighty weren’t the only ones who got the cameras flashing. Earlier in the evening, a group of Venetian Dow Chemical workers, brandishing signs protesting the closure of their plant on the Lagoon, had been allowed on the catwalk by organizers, under tight security.
The generally well-received “Dahlia” preem segued into a lavish seafood dinner prepared by 40 cooks on the Excelsior beach, complete with a fireworks extravaganza.