Psychoanalysis, sadomasochistic sex and nudity stimulated the Lido Friday as David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” preemed positively, while Gallic auteur Philippe Garrel’s romantic drama “That Summer” sparked interest mostly for a tame Monica Bellucci full – frontal.
Cronenberg and the stars of his historical take on psychoanalysis Viggo Mortensen (Sigmund Freud), Michael Fassbender (Carl Jung) and Keira Knightley (their patient Sabina Spielrein) filed into a packed presser to cheers from journos.
The Canadian helmer disclosed two coincidences, which smacked of auspicious Jungian syncronicity.
“This is the 68th Venice Film Festival, and I’m 68,” he said. “And the festival opened with ‘The Ides of March’ (March 15 in the Roman calendar) and that’s my birthday.”
Mortensen used the Venice media podium to launch an appeal to Jung’s descendants to release more of his letters to Spielrein, who later became an analyst herself, and was influential in forming early psychoanalytic thought.
“They make very good reading,” he said. “And I’d like to see more.”
Knightley, whose unrestrained perf as the hysteric Spielrein is drawing praise, said she relished the role.
“Did I enjoy playing a deranged character? It was great fun. I’m obviously crazy anyway, so I drew on that,” she quipped.
“When you accept to work with a director you totally trust that person, and there is a type of abandonment that goes with that.
As for “Summer,” which was Friday’s other competition pic, a poised Bellucci, who is 46, said she felt comfortable appearing naked on camera for Garrel’s arty romancer just over a month after giving birth to her second child, daughter Leonie.
“I felt respected and protected,” she said of the painterly nude scene in which she briefly appears lying on a bed, beckoning to a lover.
Bellucci plays Angele, the adulterous actress wife of a painter, Frederic, played by Garrel’s son Louis Garrel.
Both “Method” and “Summer” will segue to Toronto.
Wild Bunch presold Garrel’s pic to Telepool for Germany and Austria, Movie On for Italy and Imovision in Brazil, among other territories, before its Lido launch.