Julianne Moore Holds Court as Venice Film Festival Jury President, Talks Discovering Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ and Cassavetes as a Child

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Julianne Moore, who is presiding over the Venice Film Festival jury, spoke at a press conference on Tuesday morning that kicked off the 79th edition of the movie gathering.

She reminisced about how she first came to Venice as an actress on the American soap opera “As the World Turns” in 1986. “I never, ever in my life though I would be the head of this jury,” Moore said. “And If you had told me that one day I was going to head the jury of the Venice Film Festival I would have fallen into the canal, honestly.”

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Asked about the importance of film festivals during a time of change in the movie industry, as streaming threatens theatrical distribution, Moore pointed out that “curation matters so much.”

“It’s people gathering extraordinary works for us all to discover,” Moore said, before revealing a formative film experience she had as a child.

“For me, oddly, the first curator I met was the programmer of the first movie theater I went to when I was 10 years old and lived in Juneau, Alaska. They changed the movie every week. So I would go and see a Disney movie like ‘ The Aristocats’ or something,” she said.

“And then one day when I was 10 and I went and I saw ‘Minnie and Moskowitz,’ the [John] Cassavates film. At 10, to see that and say: ‘What is this? What’s this world out there! How do I fit in it?’ That to me was the most important part of filmmaking and being in films. At that’s what I appreciate so much about Venice, where there has been such incredible curation.”

Moore heads a seven-member jury panel with three women and four men that also comprises French director Audrey Diwan, winner of last year’s Venice Golden Lion for abortion drama “Happening,” and Iranian actor Leila Hatami, who broke out globally with Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation.”

Rounding off the main jury are British author and screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro (“Never Let Me Go”); Italian director Leonardo di Costanzo, who was in Venice last year with prison drama “The Inner Cage”; Argentina’s Mariano Cohn, also in Venice last year with comedy “Official Competition” starring Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas; and Spanish director and producer Rodrigo Sorogoyen, whose film “Mother” screened in Venice’s Horizons section in 2019.

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