Venice to Honor Jane Fonda, Robert Redford; Their ‘Our Souls at Night’ to World Premiere

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Courtesy of Netflix

ROME – Jane Fonda and Robert Redford will be celebrated with Golden Lion lifetime achievement awards by the Venice Film Festival, where “Our Souls at Night,” the Netflix original film in which they both star, will have its world premiere in an out-of-competition slot.

Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera praised Fonda as “an extraordinarily successful and talented actress” and credited Redford with spearheading “that brilliant experiment in film called Sundance.” The pair will pick up their awards in Venice’s Palazzo del Cinema on Sept. 1, before a gala screening of “Our Souls at Night.”

Produced by Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises, Finola Dwyer’s Wildgaze Films and Erin Simms, “Our Souls” marks the first time that the two Hollywood icons have re-teamed on screen since their lead roles in “The Electric Horseman” (1979). They previously starred together in “Barefoot in the Park” (1967).

“Our Souls at Night” (pictured) is based on a novel by Kent Haruf and adapted for the screen by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (“The Fault in Our Stars”). Directed by Ritesh Batra, the Colorado-set film begins with Addie Moore (Fonda) paying an unexpected visit to a neighbor named Louis Waters (Redford). “Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’d been neighbors for decades, but had little contact,” according to press materials.

In the novel, Addie proposes that they begin sleeping together, without having sex, just to talk in the dark and provide each other comfort, even though they don’t know each other very well.

“Few Hollywood legends have demonstrated such determination and courage over the course of their professional career as Jane Fonda,” Barbera said in a statement. “Her life has been marked by intense passion in her pursuit of freedom from every type of conformism, with a touching and vulnerable generosity.”

Barbera described Fonda as “a political and social activist, a sex symbol, a writer, a feminist icon, a producer, and a prophet of physical fitness, but above all an extraordinarily successful and talented actress.”

Barbera praised Redford for his achievements as an “actor, director, producer, environmentalist, [and] founder and soul of that brilliant experiment in film called Sundance.”

“Whether in front or behind the camera, advocating for the cause of independent cinema or the cause of our planet, Robert Redford has led us through almost five decades of compelling filmmaking and advocacy with a combination of rigor, intelligence and grace that is virtually unsurpassed,” Barbera said.

Despite the recent controversy in Cannes over Netflix’s stringent theatrical release policy, Barbera has looked on the streaming giant favorably in terms of including its films in Venice’s programming. It’s likely that the Lido will see several other Netflix titles world premiering.

The 74th Venice International Film Festival will run Aug. 30 to Sept. 9.

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  1. Jittery Cook says:

    Our Souls at Night was produced by the multi talented Erin Simms, also known for writing and producing Book Club starring Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candace Bergen and Mary Steenburgen.

  2. B-RaD says:

    Jane Fonda is a traitor. I will never watch Hanoi Jane in anything.

  3. Louretta says:

    Any movie, preferably a commedy, with them would be just wonderful! I have Many Friends up for such a wonderful change, asidea from what has been coming out of the box office.
    We need more love stories, true to life. Rising Above all obstacles.
    All is Lost.a new favorite of mine! I cried wathing all 4 times So far!

    • Brendan Carr says:

      Having read the book that this film is based on, Our Souls At Night is going to be a tender, moving romantic drama. I think that they will probably cut a few elements from the book ( cutting a skinny-dipping scene and probably make the one passion scene less explicit), but I expect that they will keep the tender humanity of it. Redford and Fonda play two individuals who lost their spouses to death who start spending nights together, at first platonically (actually they don’t actually make love until close to the end). Both have regrets. Redford rues a brief affair he had years earlier. Fonda still mourns her daughter killed in a car accident when she was a child. The two find solace and understanding in each others arms, and when Fonda’s traumatized 5-year-old grandson comes for an extended visit they treat him with only the utmost of care. The ending is bittersweet (neither of them dies though) but the emotional journey is what makes it wonderful. I imagine that both stars will have their best roles in years. I am really looking forward to this on Netflix, and will sign up to it again as soon as it premieres.

  4. Louretta says:

    This celebration is long over due for both these magnificent actors.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see them doing their best work again? A sequel to Barefoot in the Park would be fantastic!

    • Richard Pniewski says:

      I really enjoyed the book, although I didn’t appreciate the way Haruf threw the other Holt novels under the bus about halfway through, but I am a little concerned about how it will translate on film. A film version runs the risk of being too talky. With luck, though, it will be better than the film version of the classic “Plainsong.”

  5. Steve says:

    She’s nominated for an Emmy this year. So, not so much a has-been.

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