Starwood and Variety held their fifth annual pre-opening-day party on the rooftop terrace of the historic Hotel Danieli in Venice, where the theme this year was La Notte Dei Dreamers (Night of the Dreamers) in honor of Bernardo Bertolucci, jury president of the fest’s 70th edition.
Bertolucci, whose “The Dreamers” launched from the Lido in 2003, praised the highly creative party menu conceived by Starwood Venezia g.m. Antonello De’ Medici and his team, consisting of dishes dedicated, and inspired by, some of his films.
“It had never happened to me before to have my movies — their titles, their concepts — transformed into delicious different interpretations done by chefs,” he said.
“I ate of bit of ‘The Sheltering Sky,’ a bit of ‘The Last Emperor’ and I finished with ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ which was a mix of French and Argentine cuisine,” Bertolucci, in fine fetter, recounted.
The lavish spread included a “Late Summer in Tangiers” salad, “Tempura Oysters” and “Little Desert Cakes.”
Bertolucci also had warm words for Variety. Reminiscing about how he fretted over its reviews from his earliest films onward, he recalled his favorite Variety headline:
“ ‘Little Buddha’ Has Got Long Legs,” pertaining, of course, to his 1993 pic “Little Buddha.”
“It was so typical of Variety language: no other magazine has the same kind of inventive!” mused the helming maestro.
Variety’s Timothy Gray described him as a visionary. “He makes us see the world in ways we’ve never seen it before. It’s a big honor for us to have him here.”
Spotted in the crowd: Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera and Biennale prexy Paolo Baratta, Tribeca topper Geoffrey Gilmore, Venice market head Pascal Diot, Italo helmer Francesco Rosi, filmmakers Paul Schrader and William Friedkin, who is slated to receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. A restored copy of his 1977 film “Sorcerer” will unspool on the Lido.