The Black Dahlia opens Venice Film Festival
Story by Jack Foley
SCARLETT Johansson’s The Black Dahlia opened the 63rd Venice Film Festival in style on August 30 and is one of several films competing for the prestigious Golden Lion Award.
The film is directed by Brian De Palma from an adaptation of the novel by James Ellroy. It is based on the as-yet unsolved murder of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short in 1940s Los Angeles.
Along with Johansson, the film also stars Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart and two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank.
Most of the principal cast joined De Palma at the showpiece ceremony, attending both the press conference and premiere.
Speaking at the former, Johansson compared the media interest in the Black Dahlia case to that surrounding the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.
“People distract themselves with those type of news stories so as not to pay attention to their own depression,” she said. “Generally, when there are periods of depression in a country, people distract themselves oftentimes with scandal.”
Ellroy told journalists that much of the inspiration for the novel came from an “obsessive period” in his own personal history following the death of his own mother in 1958.
He also paid tribute to director, De Palma, saying that he had managed to adapt his novel into an excellent film.
“Twice in my 27-year novel career I’ve been lucky with film adaptations. The first was LA Confidential [directed by Curtis Hanson], and now The Black Dahlia.”
The Black Dahlia is one of 21 films in the running for the Golden Lion, which was won last year by Brokeback Mountain.
Other contenders include The Queen, which dramatises the Royal Family’s response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, Bobby, which revisits the assassination of US Senator Robert F Kennedy in 1968, and Hollywoodland, a drama based on the mysterious death of Superman actor George Reeves, played by Ben Affleck.