“Bones and All” receives 8.5 minutes of standing ovation

Timothee Chalamet saw all of Venice red on Friday night at the world premiere of “Bones and All.” The actor donned a sparkling backless jumpsuit in a shade of red – a cheeky nod to the drama’s central protagonists, two cannibals in love.

The film, which reunites Chalamet with “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino, lives up to its title with gruesome assaults and scenes involving limb-chewing and eating. But despite the uncomfortable subject matter, the audience at the Venice premiere for the film gobbled up “Bones and All.” The film received an 8.5-minute standing ovation, the longest and most enthusiastic of the festival so far. (It easily beat the previous record holder “Tar,” a drama starring Cate Blanchett as a tortured composer, which had a 6-minute standing ovation.)

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As the crowds inside the Sala Grande cheered “Luca! Luca!”, the Italian director wiped the tears from his eyes. Chalamet and the cast – including Taylor Russell, who plays the film’s anti-heroine Maren – descended the theater’s mezzanine steps to welcome the crowd to the orchestra that showered them with so much applause. And Chalamet encouraged the applause to continue as he held up pieces of paper with Guadagnino and Russell’s names on them, intended to hold their seats, to elicit more applause.

Chalamet plays Lee, a pale young man who embarks on a road trip with a woman he meets and shares an equally troubled past. The odyssey is marked by self-exploration and murder (with a tone that suggests what you’d get if Guadagnino had directed one of the ‘Twilight’ movies). In a scene set at a carnival, Lee seduces a man, suggesting that he is bisexual (or perhaps pansexual), but ends up falling in love with Maren.

“Bones and All” is based on the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis. Guadagnino’s “Suspiria” writer David Kajganich adapted the screenplay. The supporting cast includes Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, André Holland, Jessica Harper, Chloë Sevigny, Francesca Scorsese and David Gordon Green.

Notably, “Bones and All” is Guadagnino’s first film shot in the United States. It also marks a reunion between the director and Chalamet, who became one of the youngest best actor Oscar nominees in history for his work in their first collaboration, “Call Me By Your Name.” Guadagnino called Chalamet’s role in “Bones and All” heartbreaking.

“The second I read it, I said, I think only Timothee can play this role,” Guadagnino said in an interview last year. “He’s fantastic, a great performer and seeing him soar the way he’s doing now makes me proud of him. And this character is something very new for him, both endearing and heartbreaking.”

The Guadagnino has had a rich history with the Venice Film Festival. His directorial debut ‘The Protagonists’ debuted at the 1999 festival. His films ‘I Am Love’, ‘A Bigger Splash’ and ‘Suspiria’ also had their world premieres at Venice.

MGM releases “Bones and All” in theaters on November 23.

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