Wednesday, July 31, 2013

OUTERSPACE EXPLOSION! What's Playing on the Lido - 70th Venice Film Festival 2013

GRAVITY - Sandra Bullock & George Clooney
(Venice, Italy) Whenever George Clooney arrives in Venice his wattage lights up the entire town, which is why it's excellent news that Alfonso Cuaron’s long-awaited  Gravity will open the 70th edition of the Venice International Film Festival. Also starring another Hollywood-great, Sandra Bullock, the human stars are adrift amongst the celestial stars after a space explosion -- in 3D! Could there be a more awesome film to kick off the festival?!

The entire Venice Film Festival line-up was announced last week in Rome, the USA showing a strong presence with 18 feature films in the official selection, seven in competition. If you are a long-time reader of Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog, you will know that I love Hollywood (after having lived there for many years), and am an unabashed flag-waving American patriot when it comes to American films on the Lido. In addition, I think George Clooney is a very wise man, in addition to being gorgeous, charming and witty, so I am very much looking forward to this year's festival.

I've read different numbers about how many US films are in competition, and the discrepancy seems to be if you include Terry Gilliam's The Zero Theorem and Jonathan Glazer's Under the Skin, which are joint UK, USA productions. I say, let's include 'em because those are two very cool Brits. Terry Gilliam has always been one of my favorites, and the plot of The Zero Theorem sounds right up his alley. Whenever life becomes too ridiculous, we must be thankful that Terry Gilliam is still on the planet to set things straight. From Wikipedia:

Qohen Leth is an eccentric and reclusive computer genius who lives in an Orwellian corporate world and suffers from existential angst. Under the instruction of a shadowy figure known only as "Management", Qohen works to solve the "Zero Theorem" – a mathematical formula which will finally determine whether life has any meaning. Qohen's work in the burnt-out chapel that serves as his home is interrupted by visits from Bainsley, a seductive woman, and Bob, the teenage son of Management.

Under the Skin directed by Jonathan Glazer is based on the sci-fi novel by Michael Faber where human beings are an extraterrestrial delicacy. Yum! Scarlet Johansson stars. From Wikipedia:

The protagonist is Isserley, an extraterrestrial sent to Earth by a rich corporation on her planet to pick up unwary hitchhikers. She drugs them and delivers them to her compatriots, who mutilate and fatten her victims so that they can be turned into meat—human ("vodsel") flesh is a delicacy on the aliens' barren homeworld. The novel is darkly satirical. It touches on political themes around big business, intensive farming, and environmental decay; and reflects on more personal questions of sexual identity, humanity, snobbery, and mercy.

 The five USA films are:

1. Child of God directed by James Franco, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy:

Set in mountainous Sevier County, Tennessee, in the 1960s, Child of God tells the story of Lester Ballard, a dispossessed, violent man whom the narrator describes as "a child of God much like yourself perhaps." Ballard's life is a disastrous attempt to exist outside the social order. Successively deprived of parents and homes and with few other ties, Ballard descends literally and figuratively to the level of a cave dweller as he falls deeper into crime and degradation.

2. Joe, directed by David Gordon Green and starring Nicolas Cage, based on the novel by Larry Brown. From the Hollywood Reporter:

Joe tells the story of an ex-con who becomes the unlikeliest of role models to 15-year-old Gary Jones, the oldest child of a homeless family ruled by a drunk, worthless father. Together they try to find a path to redemption and the hope for a better life in the rugged, dirty world of small town Mississippi.

3. Parkland directed by Peter Landesman. From Wikipedia:

Parkland is an upcoming drama film directed by Peter Landesman, and produced by Guy East, Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Nigel Sinclair. It will star Zac Efron, Tom Welling, James Badge Dale, Paul Giamatti, Jacki Weaver, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, Marcia Gay Harden and Bitsie Tulloch. It will follow the events that occurred at Parkland Memorial Hospital after the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. It is scheduled to be shown in the main competition section of the 70th Venice International Film Festival and at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

4. The Unknown Known, directed by Academy-Award winner Errol Morris, a documentary about Donald Rumsfeld.

The Unknown Known (also known as The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld) is an upcoming American documentary film directed by Errol Morris. It has been selected to be screened in the main competition section at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.

5. Night Moves by Kelly Reichardt. From Wikipedia:

Deadline.com described the film as about "three radical environmentalists who come together to execute the most spectacular direct action event of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam.

Sounds like an intriguing bunch of entries from the States, especially because the President of this year's jury is the world famous Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, who directed one of my favorite films of all times, Last Tango in Paris.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog


1 comment:

  1. Whenever George Clooney arrives in Venice his wattage lights up the entire town, which is why it's excellent news that Alfonso Cuaron’s long-awaited Gravity will open the 70th edition of the Venice International Film Festival. Also starring another Hollywood-great, Sandra Bullock, the human stars are adrift amongst the celestial stars after a space explosion -- in 3D! Could there be a more awesome film to kick off the festival?!

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