Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Sandra Bullock & George Clooney on Red Carpet - Venice Film Festival
 (Venice, Italy) [UPDATED 8-30-13] Prediction: GRAVITY will be a blockbuster.

Seriously. I have not been on a roller coaster ride like that for years. Visually, the film is mind-blowing. See it in 3D, or even better, in IMAX, and you will be in outer space. There are a couple of scenes when the dialogue is a little too on-the-nose, but that's a minor quibble. From Variety:

As scripted by [Alfonso] Cuaron and his son Jonas, this tale of one woman’s grim expedition into the unknown is a nerve-shredding suspenser, a daring study in extreme isolation, and one of the most sophisticated and enveloping visions of space travel yet realized onscreen. It falls among that increasingly rare breed of popular entertainments capable of prompting genuine “How did they do that?” reactions from even the most jaded viewers, even as its central premise is so simple and immediately gripping that one might just as readily ask, “Why didn’t anyone do it sooner?”

Heyman, Bullock, A. Cuaron, Clooney, J. Cuaron  Photo: La Biennale
The core team was here in Venice: The stars, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock; the director, Alfonso Cuaron, and his son, Jonas, who share writing credit, and the producer, David Heyman, who produced all eight HARRY POTTER films.

During the press conference, Alfonso and Jonas Cuaron spoke about the script. Jonas had written it  years ago; then the financial crisis hit, and the film fell apart. He wanted to place two characters in a hostile environment in order to overcome adversities. And there is no better metaphor for adversity than floating, untethered, through space. What defines us is the after-effect that adversity has on us. How do we handle adversity? He wanted a stripped-down narrative and to rely on the development of the characters so that it would not only be a movie that grabbed you on the edge of your seat for 90 minutes, but at the same time juggle with something bigger.

GRAVITY is inspired by the Kesler Syndrome. From Wikipedia:

The Kessler syndrome, proposed by the NASA scientist Donald J. Kessler in 1978, is a scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit (LEO) is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade – each collision generating space debris which increases the likelihood of further collisions. One implication is that the distribution of debris in orbit could render space exploration, and even the use of satellites, infeasible for many generations.

In other words, there is so much stuff floating around up there -- satellites, telescopes, space stations and whatnot -- that if something goes wrong with one object, the whole thing could go down.

Bullock and Clooney both looked great, especially super-toned Bullock, who is 49-years-old (and is a Leo, born one day before and a few years after me:). They were asked if they did special training.

CLOONEY: Sandy had a trainer. I drank my way through.

Photo: La Biennale
 BULLOCK: (Joking) I drank my way through, too.

When I heard the words "wire systems," I knew I needed a lot of training. I wanted my character to look a certain way... not "androgynous," but to remove the feminine, maternal aspects. I wanted my body to be a machine. It was a lot of training, but it was worth it. I'm not great at anything, but I'm good at lots of little things, and this role allowed me to use those things. I was a dancer, and a gymnast, and my parents were opera singers. The soundtrack helped me get the emotions.

 Someone said they wanted to ask Clooney two questions:

QUESTION #1 - Why did you make this movie?

CLOONEY: I liked the character. If you're lucky enough in this business to get to make choices, then it comes down to three things: the script, the director, and the other actors. You can't make a good film out of bad script, but you can make a bad film out of a good script. I have a lot of respect for Alfonso, and I have been friends with Sandy for many years.

QUESTION #2 - Do you think Barack Obama should send troops to Syria?

CLOONEY: And here I thought the second question would be what I thought about Ben Affleck playing Batman!

Needless to say, Clooney did not answer the second question.

Bullock said that she had the opportunity to speak with the astronauts on the International Space Station, and that the cell phone signal works great to space. She said she was most impressed with the reason they are up there: because they care deeply about life, and our life.

Someone said that they had heard that George Clooney had gotten a satellite, and now that he was here in person, he wanted to know if it was true or just gossip.

CLOONEY: Yes, I have one, and I am watching you.

I have a satellite to keep an eye on the atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan. And it seems to be working. Now they only do things at night or under cloud cover. Next, it will be infrared. Whatever it takes. ...And we are watching you.

Paolo Baratta, Pres. of La Biennale, Sandra Bullock, Giorgione Orsoni, Mayor of Venice, Alberto Barbera, Dir. of Cinema
 More reviews:

The Guardian:

The Venice film festival lands on its feet with a brilliant opening night thriller which sees Sandra Bullock and George Clooney flailing in space and director Alfonso Cuarón masterfully steering the ship

The Hollywood Reporter:

At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space, Gravity is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise. Not at all a science fiction film in the conventional sense, Alfonso Cuaron's first feature in seven years has no aliens, space ship battles or dystopian societies, just the intimate spectacle of a man and a woman trying to cope in the most hostile possible environment across a very tight 90 minutes. World premiered at the Venice Film Festival, with Telluride showings following quickly on its heels, this Warner Bros. release is smart but not arty, dramatically straightforward but so dazzlingly told as to make it a benchmark in its field. Graced by exemplary 3D work and bound to look great in IMAX, the film seems set to soar commercially around the world. 

The Independent

A decade after collaborating on Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban (2003), Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron and British producer David Heyman have combined forces again on Gravity, a 3D survival thriller set in deepest, darkest space. The new film (which opens the Venice Film Festival) is a visual triumph even if its storytelling is less than sure-footed.

GRAVITY opens on October 4, 2013, and will be released in 3D, 2D and IMAX, and is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Prediction: GRAVITY will be a blockbuster.

    Seriously. I have not been on a roller coaster ride like that for years. Visually, the film is mind-blowing. See it in 3D, or even better, in IMAX, and you will be in outer space.