Posts Tagged ‘La Biennale’

Venice Film Festival 2019 | Round-up

Celebrating its 76th Anniversary VENICE FILM FESTIVAL was another exciting occasion with the competition line-up featuring the latest from established directors with newcomers also presenting their work.

One of the standouts of this year’s mostra was a pre-festival showing of Gustav Machaty’s 1933 masterpiece ECSTASY which won him Best Director in the year following production,

The fun got going with The Truth by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. Then amongst the Golden Lion hopefuls was maverick Roman Polanski who finally brings his biopic about another controversial figure Louis Dreyfus to the competition which ran from 28 August until 7 September on the Lido.

Adapted from Robert Harris novel J’Acuse stars Louis Garrel, Mathieu Amalric and Emmanuelle Seigner (aka Mme Polanski). Other high profile features were Todd Phillips’ The Joker – which won the Golden Lion and starsJoaquin Phoenix. And once again the lack of women directors in competition was flagged up, although there were plenty of female stars to be seen in the elegant hotspot on the Venetian coast. 

In the 21-strong competition line-up there was one trail-blazing female director in the shape of Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadjda) who attended to present her fourth feature The Perfect Candidate. Set in Riyadh it tells the story of a woman doctor who navigates her way through the male-dominated scenery to run for the council elections. 

Other auteurs include Czech Vaclav Marhoul with a wartime drama three hours long and ten years in the making: The Painted Bird (CZE/UKR/SLO) follows the plight of a Jewish boy on the run through Nazi Germany. The film stars Stellan Skarsgard. Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain was last in Venice with The Club, his latest sees a couple dealing with the aftermath of adoption, and Mexico stars Gael Garcia Bernal heads the cast. From Colombia Embrace of the Serpent director Ciro Guerra ups his game considerably with a starry cast of Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson and Greta Scacchi in a period drama dealing with themes of loyalty and trust in a distant outpost of the Spanish Empire. Waiting for the Barbarians is based on a novel by South African writer J M Coetzee.

In the Italian corner, there is more about the Mafia from Sicilian director Franco Moresco, who won the Orizzonti Jury prize at Venice with Belluscone. Una Storia Siciliana back in 2014. La mafia non e piu quella di una Volta is a documentary exploring the history and origins of the organisation. From China comes Ye Lou’s historical drama Saturday Fiction and Hong Kong based director Yonfan breaks his 6 year silence with No. 7 Cherry Lane that centres on a English literature tutor caught up in a love triangle with a woman pupil and her mother. And Sweden’s Roy Andersson was in attendance with About Endlessness.

Steven Soderbergh also featured in competition with Panama papers themed The Laundromat that stars Meryl Streep and David Schwimmer as journalists uncovering political tax avoidance sculduggery in the US. Noah Baumbach makes his first appearance at Venice with another domestic satire, this timed entitled Marriage Story: an insightful drama tempered with his usual brand of dark humour and a impressive cast of Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Ray Liotta. Both these US outings are now on Netflix.

Veteran French filmmaker Robert Guedeguian presents a Marseilles-set family drama, and Olivier Assayas continues to surprises us with his versatility, this time with Wasp Network a story of intrigue involving Cuban political prisoners. Canadian director Atom Egoyan has selected an interested cast of David Thewlis, Luke Wilson and Rossif Sutherland (son of Donald) to flesh out a morally thorny story surrounding pupils in a high school. A slightly underwhelming feature that divided the critics.

Venice 76 ‘out of competition’ selection included documentaries and features –  from Alex Gibney, Costa Gavras, who tackles the Greek financial crisis in Adults in the Room; and Andrea Segre with ecological documentary Il Pianeta in Mare. Pink Floyd’s Roger Walters directs and appeared in a concert film going back over the last few years of his musical career. There was also a chance to see some remastered classics in the shape of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut; screened alongside a new doc about one of the greatest directors of all time Never Just a Dream: Stanley Kubrick and Eyes Wide Shut by Matt Wells. Gaspar Noé  Paolo Sorrentino and Sergei Loznitsa also featured in the out of competition competition section.

Meanwhile in the Horizons sidebar, German filmmaker Katrin Gebbe makes her feature debut with Pelican Blood starring Nina Hoss. And Alfredo Castro (from Golden Lion winner 2015 From Afar) is back to star in a psychological drama White on White from Chilean director Theo Court. MT


No. 7 Cherry Lane (HONG KONG) – Dir. Yonfan

The Laundromat (USA) – Dir. Steven Soderbergh

J’Accuse (FRA/ITA) – Dir. Roman Polanski

Joker (USA) – Dir. Todd Phillips

Babyteeth (AUS) – Dir. Shannon Murphy

Marriage Story (USA) – Dir. Noah Baumbach

Il Sindaco Del Rione Sanità (ITA) – Dir. Mario Martone

The Painted Bird (CZE/UKR/SLO) – Dir. Václav Marhoul

La Mafia Non È Più Quella Di Una Volta (ITA) – Dir. Franco Maresco

Martin Eden (ITA/FRA) – Dir. Pietro Marcello

Saturday Fiction (CHI) – Dir. Lou Ye

Ema (CHILE) – Dir. Pablo Larraín

Waiting For The Barbarians (ITA) – Dir. Ciro Guerra

Gloria Mundi (FRA/ITA) – Dir. Robert Guéndiguian

Ad Astra (USA) – Dir. James Gray

Guest Of Honour (CAN) – Dir. Atom Egoyan

Wasp Network (FRA/BEL) – Dir. Olivier Assayas

About Endlessness (SWE/GER/NOR) – Dir. Roy Andersson

The Perfect Candidate (SAU/GER) – Dir. Haifaa Al-Mansour

A Herdade (POR/FRA) – Dir. Tiago Guedes

The Truth (JAP/FRA) – OPENING FILM – Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda

Out Of Competition (fiction)

The King (UK/HUN) – Dir. David Michod

Seberg (USA) – Dir. Benedict Andrews

Vivere (ITA) – Dir. Francesca Archibugi

The Burnt Orange Heresy (USA/ITA) – CLOSING FILM – Dir. Giuseppe Capotondi

Mosul (USA) – Dir. Matthew Michael Carnahan

Adults In The Room (FRA/GRE) – Dir. Costa-Gavras

Tutto Il Mio Folle Amore (ITA) – Dir. Gabriele Salvatores

Out of Competition (non-fiction)

Il Pianeta In Mare (ITA) – Dir. Andrea Segre

Citizen K (UK/USA) – Dir. Alex Gibney

Woman (FRA) – Dir. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Anastasia Mikova

Roger Waters Us + Them (UK) – Dir. Sean Evans, Roger Waters

I Diari Di Angela – Noi Due Cineasti. Secondo Capitolo. (ITA) – Dir. Yervant Gianikian, Angela Ricci Lucchi

Citizen Rosi (ITA) – Dir. Didi Gnocchi, Carolina Rosi

The Kingmaker (USA) – Dir. Lauren Greenfield

State Funeral (NET/LIT) – Dir. Sergei Loznitsa

Collective (ROM/LUX) – Dir. Alexander Nanau

45 Seconds Of Laughter (USA) – Dir. Tim Robbins

Out of competition (special screenings)

No-One Left Behind (MEX) – Dir. Guillermo Arriaga

Zerozerozero – Episodes 1 & 2 (ITA) – Dir. Stefano Sollima

Electric Swan (FRA/GRE/ARG) – Dir. Konstantina Kotzamani

Irréversible – Inversion Intégrale (FRA) – Dir. Gaspar Noé

The New Pope – Episodes 2 & 7 (ITA/FRA/SPA) – Dir. Paolo Sorrentino

Never Just A Dream: Stanley Kubrick And Eyes Wide Shut (UK) – Dir. Matt Wells

Eyes Wide Shut (USA/UK) – Dir. Stanley Kubrick


Venice International Film Festival at Biennale 2013


The Venice Lido hosts the longest-running international film festival. A highlight in the cultural calendar, Venice is legendary for its glamorous parties and innovative and cutting- edge cinema, screening the latest films that missed the runway at Cannes, and are narrowly squeezed in before Toronto follows hot on its heels in September 2013.

Hollywood stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock open this year’s 70th festival with Alfonso Cuarón’s GRAVITY, a fantasy sci-fi in 3D and, for the first time ever, a documentary has been chosen for the closing gala. AMAZONIA, a docu-fiction that follows a monkey from captivity to the heart of the jungle to fend for itself, again in glorious 3D.

But enough of the Hollywood hype. Festival Director, Alberto Barbera’s official line-up this year actually reflects some rather stark economic and culture realities around the World with the focus on family break-down, domestic violence and prostitution: it’s a social crisis all rolled into 10 days!


Bernardo Bertolucci is president of the jury this year. Amongst others, he is joined by Martina Gedeck fresh from success in eco fantasy drama The Wall and our own Andrea Arnold, best known for her edgy urban features Fish Tank and Red Road. Chilean director and writer, Pablo Larrain, whose latest film NO won 7 academy-award nominations in 2013 and French actress Virginie Ledoyen (Farewell My Queen) will also take part.


With seven North American indies competing for the Golden Lion this year, Venice is feeling very much like the European equivalent of Toronto. The tireless James Franco is on board with CHILD OF GOD, a violent drama set in Tennessee and David Gordon Green’s (Prince Avalanche) latest offering JOE, starring Nicolas Cage is among the role call. Venice has stolen the chase on Toronto with the premiere of Peter Landesman’s Kennedy-themed PARKLAND, starring Paul Giametti, Zac Effron and Billy Bob Thornton. Documentaries also feature heavily in the competition line-up, with Errol Morris’s political title THE UNKNOWN KNOWN, about the life of Donald Rumsfeld featuring alongside THE WIND RISES, an animated fictionalised biography of WWII aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi, from the Japanese Studio Ghibli .Moebius_4-550x309

Italy is well represented in competition with Gianni Amelio’s comedy L’INTREPIDO, starring Antonio Albanese and director, Emma Dante’s VIA CASTELLANA BANDIERA, a Sicily-based comedy drama in which she also stars alongside Alba Rohrwacher (Dormant Beauty). On the Italian documentary front, award-winning Gianfranco Rosi’s unveils his adventurous road movie: SACRO GRA.


Stephen Frears heads the UK contribution to the competition line-up with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in PHILOMENA, a drama about a woman searching for her lost son and Terry Gilliam’s eagerly-awaited sci-fi drama THE ZERO THEOREM stars Tilda Swinton, Matt Damon and Christoph Waltz.




From Canada, Xavier Dolan brings another gender-busting indie TOM A LA FERME with Evelyn Brochu (Café de Flore). The French entry this year is from Philippe Garel who directs his son Louis in LA JALOUSIE, an adaptation of Alain Robbe-Grillet’s fifties novel. Anna Mouglalis (Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky) also joins the cast.

Out of Competition there’s plenty to look forward to on the documentary front with Alex Gibney’s THE ARMSTRONG LIE, about the myth of Lance Armstrong following on from his Wikileaks exposé, and PINE RIDGE by Anna Eborn, exploring inhabitants of the Native Indian Reservation in South Dakota. From Poland comes WALESA, the great Andrzej Wajda’s depiction of the Polish Nobel Prize winner and leader. On the drama front, Korean auteur, Kim Ki-Duk is back (after winning the Golden Lion last year for Pietà) with MOEBIUS, a controversial film restricted in his own country, that depicts the moral breakdown of a family.Still-Life_1-∏-Red-Wave-Embargo-Films-First-choice-550x366

The Orizzonti Section focuses on the avantgarde and new trends in world cinema and offers such delights as PALO ALTO, Gia Coppola’s debut (co-written by the ubiquitous James Franco). STILL LIFE, Uberto Pasolini’s poignant drama starring Eddie Mersan as a council-worker tracking down relatives of those who have died alone.  Dane, Luca Moodysson will be there with VI AR BAST! (WE ARE THE BEST) about a teenage punk band in 80s Stockholm and fashion designer Agnes B’s latest production as director, JE M’APPELLE Hmmm… which sees a young girl and an old man bring hope and experience to a glorious road movie. MT





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