The 2022 Venice Film Festival got off to a quieter start Wednesday night with the premiere of “White noise.” Noah BaumbachThe Netflix-backed adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel, which stars Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig, received a lukewarm 150-second standing ovation. That amounts to a short round of applause at the Lido, where many films enjoy a much more enthusiastic and sustained reception.
“White Noise” is set in the ’80s and features a range of movie Easter eggs from the era, including everything from “Back to the Future” to “ET.” Some of these references may have flown over the Venice crowd. . The film, which received mixed reviews, is a meandering, gossipy family drama about a married couple’s despair over their own mortality.
It follows Jack (played by Driver), a professor who made a name for himself teaching Hitler studies at a liberal arts college in Central America. Along with Jack’s fourth wife Babette (portrayed by Gerwig) and their children, the group attempts to navigate the usual rough patches of family life. But their domestic issues are overshadowed and disrupted when a toxic airborne event forces them to face the threat of death together.
Opinions on Venice’s “White Noise” were divided, with Variety Owen Gleiberman writes“A meticulously respectful adaptation of Don DeLillo’s acerbic domestic academic satirical dystopian novel about middle-class American life in the 1980s, it’s the kind of wildly audacious, swing-for-the-fences literary event film that a gifted director does when he’s just achieved famous success and feels his power in the industry, wanting to take his artistry to the next level.
Despite the lackluster reviews of the opening night film, the 79th edition of Venice got off to a flying start. The Sala Grande theater, which has been at half capacity for the past two years due to a pandemic that simply refuses to fade to black, once again welcomed packed crowds. Hillary Clinton, injecting Beltway sizzle into the A-list affair, walked the opening night carpet with Venice Jury President Julianne Moore and “Bridgerton” star Rege-Jean Page. But it wasn’t all glitz. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine also appeared via a video segment and pleaded for the global film community to rally to the country’s cause as its war against Russia continues (he made a similar appeal at Cannes).
“White Noise” marks the second straight film Baumbach has debuted at the Venice Film Festival after 2019’s “Marriage Story,” which also starred Driver in a lead role. Maybe Baumbach hoped to find the magic again. Three years ago, Driver and his co-star Scarlett Johansson became instant Oscar contenders for “Marriage Story” after winning acclaim in Venice. Netflix was also behind the film, which went on to earn six Oscar nominations, including one for best picture. It earned Laura Dern the Best Supporting Actress award.
“It’s a truly wonderful thing to return to the Venice Film Festival, and an incredible honor to have ‘White Noise’ as our opening night film,” Baumbach said in a statement before the kickoff. sending off the festival. “It’s a place that loves cinema so much, and it’s a thrill and a privilege to join the incredible films and filmmakers who have premiered here.”
Netflix has several movies debuting in Venice besides “White Noise.” The streamer’s other debuts include Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Bardo” and Andrew Dominik’s “Blonde”. The three films are in competition for the Golden Lion.
“White Noise” will then open the New York Film Festival in September. Netflix will release the drama in theaters on November 25 before its streaming release on December 30.