Al Pacino held court Sunday on the Lido where his long-gestating “Wilde Salome” world-preemed positively, as he received Venice’s Jaeger LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award.
Fest chief Marco Mueller, explaining why Pacino was picked for the nod, praised the multi-disciplinary aspect of the actor-helmer’s work.
“For us, it’s extraordinary to present in particular those artists of cinema who need other expressive languages; who need — just like in Pacino’s case — to explore theater through film,” Mueller said.
“And, as you have seen, Al Pacino confirms this once again with his most ambitious and most complete film.”
Pacino was candid about his creative process on “Wild Salome”: “I didn’t know where this was going,” he said about his passionate exploration of the Oscar Wilde play, which is also an intimate portrayal of Pacino himself.
“I had a vision, but I didn’t have a story. I guess what I tried to do was create a story.”
As for how to categorize this work, conceived in a smilar vein to “Looking for Richard,” 15 years later, Pacino also emphasized it’s deeply personal and eclectic side.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I’d like to say it’s a documentary, because it’s not film. But then, it’s not a documentary either. So I’m confused, too.”
But one thing Pacino was clear on: his co-star, Jessica Chastain.
“Jessica is really the reason I made the movie,” he enthused. “As soon as I met her and saw her, I thought, ‘I must get her to play Salome before the world picks her up — it’s done now — and turns her into the next big star.’ ”
Chastain, recently in Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” also stars in helmer Ami Canaan Mann’s Venice competition title “Texas Killing Fields.”
“Wild Salome,” produced by Barry Navidi and sold by Arclight Films, screened at the fest as an out-of-competition gala.