The reviews look pretty positive for the out-of-competition debut of director Lasse Hallstrom’s Casanova at the Venice Film Festival. Do not expect an art film. Turns out it has precious little to do with actual history or high-voltage nookie-mongering. What we have instead is a rather broad comedy, or as the director himself puts it, ” the Disney version” of one of history’s randiest dudes.
Hallstrom says he flipped through Casanova’s journals, then decided to invent his own rake. "The real Casanova is a wonderful idea for another film," said Hallstrom, "but we pretty much threw that one out the window to make this one."
This is a pic designed to play in the Red States, for sure. The Hollywood Reporter writes that it’s “a genuine crowd-pleaser that should have exhibitors everywhere smiling along with huge numbers of moviegoers”. And London’s Evening Standard says “the film has energy and pace but very little sophistication. But if you like pretty costumes to go with pretty faces, and the kind of historical romp that murders reality but provides instant, easy entertainment, this Casanova is for you.”
Comparisons to Richard Lester’s madcap film, The Three Musketeers, abound. Screen Daily says the film is “more a farce-tinged rom-com than a risque sex romp”. The Hollywood Reporter says that Heath Ledger portrays Casanova like an “overgrown kid rather than the smooth seducer; more Gerard Depardieu than Errol Flynn.”
Translation: it’s OK to sit next to your parents for this one.
The city, as always was ready for its close-up. Writes the Hollywood Reporter, “Venice has never looked so scintillating on screen”. It wouldn’t be Venice without some controversy, though, would it? And so the Gazzettino is reporting that cultural commissioner Sandro Parenzo is grousing about how the production company cheaped-out and exploited the Comune, paying only US $90,000 for unprecedented access to calles, campi and the insides of countless, rarely filmed palazzi and other vintage buildings.