Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez on the Lido

(Venice, Italy) As promised, there are Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez together on the Lido for the 67th International Venice Film Festival. Quentin Tarantino is the President of the Jury, and Robert Rodriguez's newest film MACHETE will have its world premiere tonight at midnight. At the press conference, Rodriguez described the film as a "Mex-ploitation" film. Starring Danny Trejo, a former convict-turned-drug-counselor- turned-movie actor, Trejo said Rodriguez transformed him "from ex-con to icon." The eclectic ensemble includes Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Don Johnson, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey and Cheech Marin. When asked if he ever took his hat off, Rodriguez said, no, if he ever took his hat off all the good ideas would go out of his head.

BLACK SWAN, the opening film in competition, stars Natalie Portman as Nina, and Mila Kunis as Lily, combatants over the lead in the ballet, "Swan Lake." Director Darren Aronofsky sees BLACK SWAN as a companion film to THE WRESTLER, which won the Golden Lion in 2008, since they are both about people who take their bodies to extreme levels. Full of symbolism, BLACK SWAN is a dark psychological thriller set in the world of ballet about a good girl getting in touch, literally, with her dark, sexual side. The director of the New York City ballet company, played by Vincent Cassel, pushes her to the extreme on one side, and her mother, played by Barbara Hershey, pulls her to the other -- but no one is lifting her to the light except Nina herself, destroying herself with the effort -- what she is trying to achieve is "perfection." In the production notes, Hershey sums up her own character, Erica, a former dancer who never made it out of the background, which gives insight into Nina:

“I’m sure some people will look at Erica as the mother from hell but I see her as a mother in hell, which is a big difference,” says Hershey.  “I think she’s pretty tortured. For everything she does, there’s this opposite thing happening at the same time.  She loves her daughter yet there’s an obsession to it.  She wants her to succeed but at the same time she knows her fragile mental state.  She’s terribly jealous of her daughter, yet she wants the world for her.  She wants Nina to fly -- but she doesn’t want her to leave.”

Portman said that Aronofsky had originally spoken to her about the role back in 2002, and told her there would be a scene in which she had sex with herself. At the press conference, people were buzzing about the sex scene, but some people are always buzzing about the sex scene -- it was not much more than you would see in a music video. BLACK SWAN delves into something more profound than sex between two women -- the eternal struggle between the Dark and the Light.

Ciao from the 67th Venice International Film Festival,

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