Venice Flashback: Cate Blanchett Danced Her Way to the Lido 22 Years Ago

Venice Flashback: Cate Blanchett Danced Her Way to the Lido 22 Years Ago

Cate Blanchett has become a main-stay of the Venice Film Festival. She was named best actress in 2007 for her turn as a reimagined version of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, and she served as the international jury president in 2020 as the festival emerged from COVID.

But her allegiance to Venice dates back to 1998, when, at age 29, the Australian actress made her first visit to the fest with Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, in which she played the English queen as a young woman, earning her first Oscar nomination in the process.

Two years later, she returned with British director Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried. In the film, set mostly in Paris on the eve of World War II, Christina Ricci played a dislocated Russian Jew who joins a singing and dancing troupe, where she is befriended by a Russian dancer (Blanchett) and also meets up with a horse handler (Johnny Depp) and an Italian singer (John Turturro). The film failed to win any prizes, but Blanchett emerged with good notices. The Hollywood Reporter’s Mark Adams noted that the actress “has such a great time playing the classic blond vamp — wearing figure-hugging gowns and delivering the choicest of lines in the thickest of Russian accents — that her performance tends to dominate, overshadowing that of Christina Ricci, whose character is actually
the focus of the film.”

Blanchett will be in the spotlight again this year as the star of Todd Field’s third feature, Tár, playing a fictional composer who becomes the first female conductor of a German orchestra.