By Eric RANDOLPH
Fast becoming the defining Gen Z film star, Timothee Chalamet will test the stomachs of his many fans with a bone-crunching, blood-splattered “cannibal romance”, premiering in Venice on Friday.
“Bones and All”, competing at the Venice Film Festival, reunites the 26-year-old with Italian director Luca Guadagnino following their much-loved gay romance “Call Me By Your Name”, which earned Chalamet his first Oscar nomination.
He stars with relative newcomer Taylor Russell as two young lovers in 1980s rural America, who face the usual coming-of-age challenges, but must also contend with an uncontrollable need for human flesh.
At least they did not have to deal with social media, Chalamet told reporters.
“It was a relief to play characters who are wrestling with an internal dilemma absent the ability to go on Reddit or Twitter or TikTok to see how you fit in,” he said.
The “Dune” star sounded less than optimistic about the state of the world and the pressure felt by his generation.
“To be young now… is to be intensively judged,” he said at the press conference, which was delayed by the frenzy of fans as he arrived on the Lido island.
“It’s tough to be alive now. Societal collapse is in the air. It smells like it. Without wanting to be pretentious, hopefully that’s why these movies matter because the role of the artist, so I’m told, is to shine a light on what’s going on.”
His co-star agreed it was “scary” to be young.
“Opinions are flooded into your everyday in such a drastic and severe way,” Russell said. “The hope is you can find your own compass in all of it but that seems a difficult task now.”
– ‘Intensely isolated’ –
The 11-day Venice Film Festival runs until September 10, with 23 films competing for the hearts of a jury led by actor Julianne Moore.
Critics have been divided on the entries so far.
There were a mix of gushing and so-so reviews for US satire “White Noise” starring Adam Driver that opened the festival on Wednesday.
Many reviews agreed that “Bardo” — the latest from Mexico’s two-time Oscar-winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu — was ambitious but “outrageously narcissistic”, in the words of The Guardian.
An early frontrunner for best actress award is Cate Blanchett who earned rave reviews for her complex turn as an impassioned but predatory classical music conductor in “Tar”.
Despite the gory premise, “Bones and All”, which premieres later on Friday, is another emotional coming-of-age drama from Guadagnino.
Chalamet said it focuses on “intensely isolated young people, without identity yet” and that it was made at the height of the coronavirus pandemic when he, too, felt “cut off from the social contact that helps us understand where we are in the world”.