×

Steve Bannon Slips in Quietly to Venice Premiere of ‘American Dharma’

UPDATED Steve Bannon eluded paparazzi but showed up for the world premiere Wednesday of Errol Morris-directed “American Dharma,” the documentary about him that has created a stir at the Venice Film Festival following its press screening.

On Thursday, Bannon’s press team denied that the former top Trump advisor attended the screening.

The former top Trump adviser, who was recently dropped as a participant at The New Yorker festival, was expected to enter the Sala Grande theater on the Lido via the red carpet. Instead, Bannon walked in through a side entrance just as the screening was about to start and sat in a balcony seat at the back.

He was dressed informally in a dark T-shirt and looked quite scruffy. Venice artistic director Alberto Barbera said Bannon’s security detail had advised him not to attend and confirmed that the alt-right maven entered the screening through a side door.

Bannon’s press team in a statement on Thursday said that instead, during the Wednesday afternoon screening, the alt-right maven “was in a [Venice] hotel in meetings with a reporter and Giorgia Meloni of the Brotherhood of Italy,” the statement said. Meloni is the leading lady of Italy’s right. Her party, which is actually known as The Brothers of Italy, traces its roots to the post-Fascist Italian Social Movement founded in the 1940s by Benito Mussolini’s supporters.

Also on Thursday, the Venice press office said that Bannon had been identified by a festival security guard but that Barbera himself had not seen him, opening up the possibility of a mis-identification on the security guard’s part.

During a press conference before the official screening, Morris was grilled by journalists who asked whether dedicating a film to Bannon was “normalizing” his right-wing views. That point was also raised by Variety critic Owen Gleiberman in his review.

“If you walked into ‘American Dharma,’ Errol Morris’s documentary about Stephen K. Bannon, knowing nothing about Donald Trump’s former adviser (who he is, what he’s done, what he stands for), you’d probably find him to be a fascinating, compelling, and at times even charming figure,” Gleiberman wrote. “If that sounds like a swipe against the movie, it is.”

“Did I struggle with the question?” Morris said at the press conference. “The answer is yes. If the question is am I still struggling with it, the answer would still be yes.”

However, he added, “my answer is not to remain silent and not make the movie. I believe I’ve done something different….Trying to explore the nature of what [Bannon] calls national populism, what it means for the world, for my country, I think is absolutely essential.”

The film’s world premiere elicited a mostly warm response from the audience – several minutes of clapping and one isolated “Boo.” Bannon slipped out before the lights went back on, as quietly as he had slipped in.

More Film

  • Bob Iger arrives at the Oscars,

    Bob Iger: 'Challenging Work of Uniting Our Businesses' Lies Ahead for Disney

    Bob Iger marked the historic occasion of Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox with a lengthy memo to staffers that was candid about the challenges of the massive integration of people and cultures that lies ahead for the media giant. “I wish I could tell you that the hardest part is behind us, that closing [...]

  • EMMA APPLETON as FEEF SYMONDS

    'Traitors' Producer 42 Hires Literary Manager Eugenie Furniss

    Eugenie Furniss is joining London- and Los Angeles-based management and production company 42 as literary manager, it was announced Wednesday. The company’s slate include movie “Ironbark,” a Cold War thriller starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and TV series “Traitors,” a spy thriller coming to Netflix in the U.S. at the end of the month. Furniss joins 42 [...]

  • Brad Pitt Leonardo DiCaprio Once Upon

    Quentin Tarantino's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Trailer Drops

    The first trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is finally here. The highly anticipated film, starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, is set to be released on July 26. Tarantino, who wrote the script and will also direct and produce the movie, was inspired by his own upbringing in the midst [...]

  • One-Cut-Of-The-Dead-Review

    Japanese Sleeper Hit ‘One Cut of the Dead’ Heads for English Remake (EXCLUSIVE)

    “One Cut of the Dead,” a micro-budget horror film that last year defied the odds to become one of the biggest hits of the year in Japan, is headed for an English-language remake. Patrick Cunningham, a Japan-based American producer whose credits include “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and “Starlet,” is behind the venture. The original film, [...]

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content