Tilda Swinton honored the late Chadwick Boseman in her own way on the first night of the 2020 Venice Film Festival. The Oscar-winning actress was the recipient of the festival’s annual Golden Lion award for career achievement. Following a rousing speech about the power of cinema, Swinton concluded, “Viva Venezia. Cinema cinema cinema. Wakanda Forever. Nothing but love.” The “Wakanda forever” line is a reference to Boseman’s billion-dollar blockbuster “Black Panther.” Boseman passed away August 28 after a four year battle with colon cancer.
“Cinema is my happy place, my true motherland,” Swinton said during her speech (via Variety). “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.”
Swinton, an Oscar winner for “Michael Clayton,” has a rich history with the Venice Film Festival, which has screened countless Swinton star vehicles such as Sally Potter’s “Orlando” and Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love” and “A Bigger Splash.” The actress referred to Venice as “the most venerable and majestic film festival on Earth” and thanked the festival for pushing through the coronavirus pandemic with a modified event. Swinton said that thanks to Venice, “we can continue to rely on the great, elastic, wide, wild, bouncy, boundary-less and perpetually inclusive state of cinema.”
Venice competition jury president Cate Blanchett awarded Swinton with this year’s Golden Lion award for career achievement. The audience at the ceremony remained socially distanced with empty seats in between attendees. Swinton earned a standing ovation for her rousing acceptance speech (watch the actress’ full speech in the video embedded below).
Next up for Swinton is a reunion with her “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Grand Budapest Hotel” director Wes Anderson in “The French Dispatch.” The Searchlight release was supposed to world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May. While originally dated for release on October 16, Searchlight has since removed the movie from the release calendar and has yet to announce a new opening.
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