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Auteurs and workers’ rights spotlit at a less starry Venice film festival

Hollywood strikes have deprived festival of glamour but not debate, while focus switched to varyingly controversial directors

From Elizabeth Taylor lounging barefoot on the beach and Marlon Brando catching a water taxi, to Brigitte Bardot frolicking on a green lawn, the Venice film festival has always been synonymous with celebrity and glamour.

But with dual strikes by the writers’ and actors’ guilds forcing a Hollywood shutdown, and actors prohibited from promoting studio films during labour action, this year’s edition of the world’s oldest film festival was always going to be different. Venice without the stars, the Italians can contend, is like a spritz without the fizz.

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