Tuesday, 2 August 2016

La La Land in the Lagoon - 15 US Films at the 2016 Venice Film Festival

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in La La Land
(Venice, Italy) I actually lived in La La Land for much of my adult life, so I'm euphoric that Damien Chazelle's musical about Hollywood starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is opening the 2016 Venice Film Festival on August 31.

The full lineup was announced last week, and is packed with a bunch of intriguing films from the United States. Let's take a break from all the wickedness over in Washington that is making the whole world nervous -- where the Chairperson of the Democratic National Party was forced to resign for sabotaging Democratic presidential-hopeful Bernie Sanders(!); where Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, was called out by a Muslim Gold Star family(!); where Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, was called out by a white Gold Star mother(!), and focus on something where the US really excels: MOVIES!

I'm going to flip through all the American films that are coming to Venice, even if they are co-produced by other countries. Well, not all, because there are so many -- I'm not going to delve into the Orrizonti, but if you would like to know everything that will screen, go to Biennale Cinema.


1. Arrival, (US) directed by Denis Villenueve; a sci-fi flick starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Alien spacecrafts land around the world, and an expert linguist is recruited by the military to figure out if they come in war or peace. I'm sure I'm not the only one who would welcome some alien spacecrafts right now.

2. The Bad Batch, (US) directed by Ana Lily Anapour; starring Jim Carey, Keneau Reeves and Suki Waterhouse. Black-comedy horror-thriller set in a cannibal community in a Texas wasteland.

Natalie Portman as Jackie
3. Jackie, (US, Chile) directed by Pablo Larrain, starring Natalie Portman. Jackie Kennedy's days right after JFK was shot.

4. La La Land, (US) directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Comedy-drama-musical about a jazz pianist who falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

5. The Light Between Oceans, (US, Australia, New Zealand) directed by Derek Cianfrance, starring Michael Fassbender (whom I adore) and Alicia Vikander. Romantic drama set during WWI about a lighthouse keeper and his wife who find a baby girl drifting in a lifeboat and decide to raise her.

6. Nocturnal Animals, (US) directed by Tom Ford -- I loved his debut film film A Single Man, which premiered here in Venice on September 11, 2009, and I love Tom Ford, who spoke from his heart at the press conference. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals is a thriller about the owner of an art gallery who is haunted by her ex-husband's violent novel.

7. Voyage of Time, (US, Germany) directed by Terrance Maleck, an IMAX documentary film about the birth and death of our universe, narrated in the 40-minute IMAX version by Brad Pitt, and the 35mm feature-length version by Cate Blanchett (do you think they got equal pay?:-).


1. The Bleeder, (US, Canada) directed by Jeff Faraldeau, starring Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber and Ron Perelman -- I hope Ron comes to Venice because he used to live close by me in Los Feliz, and he worked with my ex-husband on a TV movie. The Bleeder is inspired by the life of heavyweight boxer, Chuck Wepner.

2. Dark Night, (US) directed by Tim Sutton, starring Anna Rose Hopkins, Robert Jumper and Karina Macias about a massacre at a suburban Cineplex that intersects the lives of six strangers.

3. Hacksaw Ridge, (US) directed by Mel Gibson. Mel! Making his Venice debut! Starring Teresa Palmer, Andrew Garfield and Sam Worthington, it's a bio based on a true story about WWII Army medic Desmond T. Doss who refused to kill people, and became the first Conscientious Objector in US history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

4. The Magnificent Seven, (US) directed by Antoine Fuqua, starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawk, Chris Pratt and Haley Bennett about seven gunmen in the Old West hooking up to save a village from the bad guys. A remake of a remake of a remake.

5. The Mountain (Monte), (Italy, US, France) directed by Amir Nadieri, starring Andrea Sartoretti, Claudia Potenza and Zaccaria Zanghellini about a man who tries to knock off the top of a mountain so his crops can get some sun.


1. American Anarchist, (US) directed by Charlie Siskel. I can find nothing regarding what this documentary is about, although I did see Siskel's 2013 Finding Vivien Maier documentary about a mysterious nanny who turned out to be a brilliant photographer.

2. I Called Him Morgan, (Sweden, US) directed by Kasper Collin about the jazz musician, Lee Morgan, who was shot to death by his wife, Helen, in 1972 at a club in New York.

3. Our War, (Italy, US) directed by Bruno Chiaravaloti, Claudio Jampaglia, Benedetta Argentieri, and starring Joshua Bell, Karim Franceschi, and Rafael Kardari. A former US Marine, an unemployed Italian and a Swedish guard volunteer to fight the Islamic State, and face problems when they return home.

There are a lot of juicy films on the plate, don't you think? And those are just the ones from the US -- there's an entire planet of films that will arrive here in Venice. I'm really looking forward to the insanity and excitement of the 73rd Venice International Film Festival at the end of the month, running this year from August 31 to September 10.

Stay tuned...

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. I actually lived in La La Land for much of my adult life, so I'm euphoric that Damien Chazelle's musical about Hollywood starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling is opening the 2016 Venice Film Festival on August 31.