The 2023 festival season is officially open. The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival kicked off yesterday, with a notably lighter crowd at the opening day events. Jury president Damien Chazelle was on hand, and the opening ceremony, which included a lifetime achievement award for Italian filmmaker Liliana Cavani, boasted Charlotte Rampling and Italian actress Caterina Murino, as well. But this is not going to be the typical international glamour jet set festival, we all knew that going in. There will be some famous people in attendance but not as many as usual—at least from Hollywood, the whole world isn’t on strike—but it’s going to be a muted festival season, in terms of red carpets.


At the opening day press conference, Damien Chazelle addressed the strike (he is on strike as a member of the WGA, but not on strike as a member of the Directors’ Guild). Wearing a tee shirt and lapel pin in support of the WGA, he talked about “art vs. content”, particularly how the word “content” has been weaponized in recent years to diminish the role and purpose of art.

On a related note, Brad Pitt’s Formula 1 movie is expected to film scenes this weekend at Monza during the Italian Grand Prix. Sports Illustrated hilariously calls the film “Lewis Hamilton’s F1 film”, as if to discourage from anyone wondering whether or not Brad Pitt is scabbing (again). Of course, you could say that non-SAG actors involved in the film aren’t on strike, and director Joseph Kosinski isn’t on strike, so they are surely free to go to the track and capture race footage and location shots and whatnot for their film. True enough! 


But the reporting on this also makes it sound like Pitt himself is expected to film scenes, which WOULD be scabbing. It’ll be interesting to see if he is spotted on set, it’s a public race with thousands of spectators, if he’s there someone will see it. And just in case you think this F1 film has a SAG waiver to keep filming, they do not. It’s backed by Apple, an AMPTP company, they’re not even eligible to apply for waivers. So if Pitt DOES show up at Monza and film scenes this weekend, he IS scabbing. Just to be clear.