Posts Tagged ‘Venice Film Festival 2013’

We Are the Best (2013) Venice 2013

Director: Lukas Moodysson

Writer: Lukas and Coco Moodysson

Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne, Johan Liljemark, Matthias Wiberg

102min  Sweden   Drama

Lukas Moodysson moves away from his more serious fare with this upbeat celebration of teenage girlhood set in eighties Stockholm and based on a graphic novel by his wife, Coco. Refusing to believe that punk is dead; rebellious, rank outsiders Bobo (Mira Barkhammer) and Klara (Mira Grosin) get together to form a girl-band. The only trouble is, they can’t play any instruments. Enter the unlikely figure of Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne), a committed Christian and classical guitar player, who is persuaded to join the fun and frolics and, voilà, the band is born.  The tone turns more serious when the girls join forces with a boy band and competitiveness enters the arena but their strong friendship conquers all in the end.  The music may be outdated but it’s their natural performances as actors that really win the day as they embark on unexpected stardom in a confident and fun-filled way. Brim-full of irreverence and teenage angst as well as exuberant charm, We Are The Best, has appeal for all age-groups with its superb sense of place and infectious joie de vivre that  captures the era and guarantees some out loud moments. MT

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Parkland (2013) 70th Venice Film Festival 2013

Dir.: Peter Landesman; Cast: Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti, Colin Hanks, Mark Duplass, Marcia Gay Harden, Jacki Weaver, USA 2013, 93 min.

The only thing PARKLAND gets right is its timing: the 50th anniversary year of JFK’s assassination. But it is nearly impossible to imagine such a dull realisation of one of history’s most dramatic moments. To start with, the acting is wooden, with everyone is hamming it up, like they think it should have looked on November 22nd 1963. So we see Jackie clutching skull and brain parts of her husband, eyes wild. The trauma surgeon hammering away on JFK’s chest like a drummer; the nurse fetching a cross from the cupboard with all the solemnity of a papal ceremony; the CIA man dragging the coffin with the corpse through the plane door with the violence associated with American football players, just to underline their unwillingness for an autopsy.

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But worst of all is the total lack of standpoint – Landesman declared in the press conference, that he just wanted to show the emotional impact of the tragedy on the main participants but not touch on the question of who shot the president. How anybody can be so wilfully naïve is hard to understand. To make a point, the filmmaker mentions none of 18 material witnesses of the shooting who died: six were shot, 3 died in car accidents, 2 committed suicide, 3 died of heart-attacks, just two from natural causes. Did the shooting not impact emotionally on their lives and those of their loved ones? And how can we judge the impact on Harvey Oswald, when Landesman leaves it open as to if he was the assassin or not – even though the Abraham Zapruder film (which is used in  PARKLAND) shows clearly that JFK was shot from the grass hill and not from the fourth floor of the library, where Oswald was supposed to be.

PARKLAND’s film aesthetics top the list of conventional boredom and its supposedly naïve a-political message is disingenuous. Paul Giamatti convinces as Zapruder in a fine performance. Otherwise, this is one of the few films that can compete with any propaganda film – just by leaving out the truth. Make up your own mind.  If you’re looking for more on the Lee Harvey Oswald story, KILLING OSWALD makes the intellectual argument and works an interesting companion piece to this dumbed-down Hollywood pap. ANDRE SIMONOWEICZ.



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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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