Venice Film Fest 2020: Tilda Swinton Accepts Golden Lion with ‘Wakanda Forever’

Venice Film Fest 2020: Tilda Swinton Accepts Golden Lion with ‘Wakanda Forever’


Tilda Swinton_Cate-Blanchett_Venice-2020
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The British actress paid tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman in the opening night ceremony of the Venice Film Festival, which kicked off the first post-lockdown festival with a call to ‘restart cinema.’

Tilda Swinton paid tribute to cinema, “my true motherland” and, closing with a simple “Wakanda Foever” gave a graceful nod to her late college Chadwick Boseman, in a stirring awards speech Wednesday night as the British actress accepted a Golden Lion for career achievement at the Venice International Film Festival.

Venice’s opening night event is rarely an emotional affair but as the first first major film festival held since the coronavirus lockdown, this year was bound to be special.

Before Swinton’s accepted the prize from Venice jury president Cate Blanchett, the audience heard a stirring tribute to Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who died earlier this year, and a powerful message of solidarity from the directors of Europe’s major festivals.

Swinton captured the mood, using her acceptance speech to launch into a full-throated tribute to the art of the big screen.

“Cinema is my happy place, my true motherland,” she said. “Its fellowship is my heart’s family tree. The names on the list of those awarded this honor, meanwhile, they are the names of my masters. They’re the elders of my tribe. The poets of the language I love above others. I sing their songs in the bath. I’m the punk kid film nut hitching a ride to the station to get to the foothills of the heights of their achievements.”

The audience, starved of a film festival experience for months, ate it up. To see a film in Venice, said Swinton, is “pure joy.” She thanked the festival for showing the resilience of cinema and reminding everyone that “we can continue to rely on the great, elastic, wide, wild, bouncy, boundary-less and perpetually inclusive state of cinema.”

The Oscar-winner closed with a tribute to the Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman: “Wakanda Forever. Nothing but love,” she said, to a standing ovation.

Aside from Swinton and Blanchett, the 77th Venice International Film Festival opened Wednesday with few stars and fewer fans but with a determination that, coronavirus pandemic or not, the show must go on.

Photo: Once Upon a Time…..hugging Tilda with whom I had served on the grand jury of the 2003 Sundance Film Fest