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Romance rekindled as J-Lo and Affleck cuddle up at Venice Festival

Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck arrive in Venice, Italy, for the screening of The Last Duel at the Venice Film Festival. Photo: Yara Nardi/Reuters

Cristiano Corvino

Looking radiant and holding hands, singer Jennifer Lopez and actor Ben Affleck arrived for the Venice Film Festival yesterday, getting into a water taxi to be whizzed off to their hotel in the lagoon city.

Affleck is in Venice for the festival premiere of Ridley Scott’s medieval epic The Last Duel , which also stars his close friend Matt Damon.

Once in the water taxi, the couple had a brief cuddle as Affleck put his arm around Lopez.

The two stars, a glamorous pair known popularly as Bennifer, have recently rekindled their romance after nearly 20 years.

They became the most talked about couple in the celebrity world in the early 2000s, with his-and-her luxury cars and a large 6.1-carat pink diamond engagement ring for Lopez.

But they abruptly called off their wedding in 2003 and split up a few months later.

The film festival, which is the oldest in the world, is desperate to salvage some of the sparkle and glitz stripped off last year, when coronavirus restrictions kept away many participants, including the major box office draws.

Thanks to stringent anti-Covid controls, La Mostra, as it is known in Italy, has managed to reassert its supremacy as the indispensable springboard for the Oscars.

Among the stars to grace the red carpet this week have been Kristen Stewart – playing Diana, Princess of Wales in Pablo Larrain’s Spencer – Benedict Cumberbatch, Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. The rich sampling of films has wowed audiences and critics.

It has been the showcase for big-budget releases such as Dune , the €140m sci-fi .

The competition kicked off on Wednesday evening with Madres Paralelas (Parallel Mothers), the latest movie from Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, starring Cruz as one of two women from different generations and backgrounds awaiting childbirth in a maternity ward.

A Golden Lion for career achievement will be awarded to Italy’s Oscar-winning actor and director Roberto Benigni, who is best-known for the 1997 comedy drama Life is Beautiful , which he co-wrote, directed and starred in.

Netflix, which has had previous success at the festival with Roma and Marriage Story , is behind two of this year’s hopefuls, The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion and Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God .

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