Venice International Film Festival 2012 (29 August – 8 September)

September 8th, 2012 - Graham Eley

A quick analysis of the recently completed high-profile features from leading auteurs not having world premieres at TIFF, usually provides a strong indication of the films heading for the main competition at Venice.  And so it turned out this year with Venice’s new artistic director, Alberto Barbera, confirming that new features from leading US filmmakers, Terrence Malick, Harmony Korine and Brian De Palma, would compete for the Golden Lion against such influential voices from world cinema as Olivier Assayas and Brillante Mendoza.

 

Last year’s career Golden Lion winner, Marco Bellocchio, best known for Vincere, returns in the main competition this time around with his keenly awaited Dormant Beauty, starring Isabelle Huppert.  The busy, Daniele Cipri, the cinematographer on both Dormant Beauty and Vincere, also competes with his latest film, E Stato il Figlio.  Francesca Comencini completes the Italian contingent with Un Giorno Speciale, the follow-up to her Venice hit of three years ago, Lo Spazio Bianco.

 

The Austrian filmmaker, Ulrich Seidl, who unfairly spent too many years in the shadow of Michael Haneke, follows his Palme d’Or nomination last May for Paradise: Love, with the next part of the trilogy, Paradise: Faith having a Venice competition berth.

 

There is also a competition screening for Venice regular, Kim Ki-duk’s potentially controversial Pieta, which has already encountered censorship complications in his native South Korea.

 

Xavier Giannoli’s intriguing Superstar could prove to be a dark horse for honours.  An ironic Post Modern take on that symbol of Post Modern simulacrum gone mad, the talentless celebrity, focuses on an ordinary man who suddenly finds himself famous for no apparent reason.

 

Main Competition:

 

The Master

Paul Thomas Anderson

 

Paul Thomas Anderson’s much discussed new film, ‘The Master’, was a late confirmation for the main competition due to technical complications with its 70mm projection.  It is Anderson’s sixth feature and stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a charismatic religious leader, whose emergence in Fifties America has similarities with the rise to prominence of L. Ron Hubbard.  The world premiere, which has a prime Saturday slot, will represent the first time that Anderson has competed for the Golden Lion.

 

 

Something In The Air (Apres Mai)

Olivier Assayas (France)

 

Olivier Assayas semi-autobiographical follow-up to his Cannes hit, Carlos, takes place in the aftermath of the May 1968 French protests.  Clément Metayer, in his big screen debut, plays a young student conflicted between the political demands of his peers and his own artistic aspirations.  Acclaimed cinematographer, Eric Gautier (‘Into The Wild’, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ & ‘Wild Grass’), is also on board.

 

 

At Any Price

Ramin Bahrani

 

Ramin Bahrani returns to Venice IFF where he won the coveted FIPRESCI Prize for his last film, ‘Goodbye Solo’, which screened in the Horizons’ sidebar four years ago.  His fifth feature, ‘At Any Price’, finds mainstream family values and the American Dream in conflict when an investigation into a farmer’s business threatens his son’s motor racing career.  Dennis Quaid leads a strong cast, which includes Heather Graham and Zac Efron.

 

 

La Cinquieme Saison

Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth

 

Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth collaborate on their third feature, ‘La Cinquieme Saison’, an apocalyptical nightmare of nature in chaos, set in the depths of the Ardennes forest.  No strangers to Venice, the pair won the Luigi De Laurentiis Award (best debut film) for their festival hit, Khadak, six years ago.  Flemish actor and dancer, Sam Louwyck (‘Ex Drummer’, ‘A Day In A Life’), stars alongside Aurélia Poirier (‘The Adopted’), best known for her work on the stage.

 

 

Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata)

Marco Bellocchio

 

Two of the world’s finest performers, Isabelle Huppert and Toni Servillo, star in Marco Bellocchio’s philosophical new feature, ‘Dormant Beauty’ (‘Bella Addormentata’). The real life case of a woman who remained in a vegetative state for 17 years provokes diverse reactions from the film’s characters, as they play out the debate on euthanasia.  A Venice regular, Bellocchio received the career Golden Lion at last year’s edition of the festival.

 

 

Fill the Void

Rama Burstein

 

Family complexities come to the fore in Rama Burstein’s debut film, ‘Fill the Void’, where a daughter must choose between duty and love in an arranged marriage drama.  Hila Feldman, who won best actress two years ago at the Jerusalem Film Festival for ‘…Be yom hashlishi’ stars alongside Razia Israeli (God’s Sandbox) and Yiftach Klein (Policeman, Noodle).

 

 

E Stato il Figlio

Daniele Cipri

 

Daniele Cipri, who is cinematographer on Marco Bellocchio’s high profile competition entry, ‘Dormant Beauty’, also competes with his latest film as director, ‘E Stato il Figlio’, starring Toni Servillo and Giselda Volodi.  Based upon Roberto Alajmo’s novel of the same name, state compensation for an accidental Mafia killing becomes the source of serious family strife.  It is Cipri’s first film in the director’s chair since ‘La vera storia di Franco e Ciccio’, which screened at Venice eight years ago.

 

 

Un Giorno Speciale

Francesca Comencini

 

Francesca Comencini returns to Venice where her previous feature, ‘Lo Spazio Bianco’, also competed for the Golden Lion.  Her new film, ‘Un Giorno Speciale’, has a young man driving an actress to an appointment when both are starting their first ever jobs.  Based upon Claudio Bigagli’s novel ‘Il Cielo Con Un Dito”, it focuses on their apprehension whilst embarking upon this crucial new phase of adulthood.  Filippo Scicchitano (‘Easy’) and newcomer, Giulia Valentini, star.

 

 

Passion

Brian De Palma

 

One of Hitchcock’s most celebrated successors, Brian De Palma, remakes Alain Corneau’s ‘Love Crime’, an erotic thriller, which, in turn, contains many Hitchcockian influences.  So, potentially, De Palma finds a new way of exploring Hitchcock, this time mediated via a third party.  Retitled ‘Passion’, Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace play the business women whose mind games spiral out of control.

 

 

Superstar

Xavier Giannoli

 

Xavier Giannoli’s ‘Superstar’, his first film to screen in the main competition at Venice, provides an ironic take on that symbol of Post Modern simulacrum gone mad, the talentless celebrity.  Kad Merad, best known for his performance in ‘Don’t Worry, I’m Fine’, stars as an ordinary man who suddenly finds himself famous for no apparent reason.  It is the follow-up to ‘In the Beginning’, which received a César Awards’ best film nomination.

 

 

Pieta

Kim Ki-duk

 

‘Pieta’ is Kim Ki-duk’s fourth film to compete for the Golden Lion but his first since ‘3-Iron’ won the FIPRESCI Prize eight years ago.  Starring Min-soo Jo and Jung-jin Lee, a woman confronts a ruthless debt collector claiming to be his mother.  ‘Pieta’ has already provoked controversy in Kim’s native South Korea where the local censorship board awarded it a 19+ rating.

 

 

Outrage Beyond

Kitano Takeshi

 

Kitano Takeshi won the Golden Lion for ‘Hana-Bi’ fifteen years ago and his latest feature, ‘Outrage Beyond’, is his seventh to screen in the main competition.  The sequel to ‘Outrage’, which debuted at Cannes, sees a serious escalation of organised crime warfare in familiar Kitano fashion.  ‘Outrage Beyond’, which stars Kitano himself alongside Ryo Kase (‘ I Just Didn’t Do It’) and Toshiyuki Nishida (‘Gakko’, ‘Tonkô’), opens in Japan on October 6.

 

 

Spring Breakers

Harmony Korine

 

Harmony Korine has been busy making shorts and segments, including his contribution to ‘The Fourth Dimension’, since ‘Trash Humpers’ three years ago.  His return to features, ‘Spring Breakers’, starring James Franco and Selena Gomez, has four college girls funding a spring vacation through crime before getting out of their depth with a drug dealer.  Korine’s debut film, ‘Gummo’, screened at Venice fifteen years ago and received a FIPRESCI Prize – Honorable Mention.

 

 

To The Wonder

Terrence Malick

 

As always, Terrence Malick’s new feature, ‘To The Wonder’, is shrouded in mystery but a few quasi-teasers along the way hinted at an experimental film with a conventional plot.  Ben Affleck plays an American man who marries a European and revives a friendship with a local girl after things fall apart.  The powerful connotations of the title, no doubt explain the essence of the film – in a ‘Tree of Life’ sort of a way – but only once we have seen it.

 

 

Brillante Mendoza

Thy Womb

 

Brillante Mendoza’s latest film, ‘Thy Womb’, provoked early discussion when the Metro Manila Film Festival surprisingly snubbed it.  The screening at Venice, though, will represent the second time this year that a major film festival has selected one of his features for its main competition with Berlin having given a world premiere to ‘Captive’ last February.  Both films are set in Mindanao; ‘Captive’ dramatising a true-life terrorist kidnapping and, in a change of pace, ‘Thy Womb’ focusing upon a Badjao midwife having to overcome her own infertility.  Mendoza attracted top actresses to each of the films; Isabelle Huppert for the first and Nora Aunor for the other.  It is the second time that Mendoza has competed for the Golden Lion after the nomination of ‘Grandmother’ (aka ‘Lola’) three years ago.

 

 

The Lines of Wellington

Valeria Sarmiento

 

Raúl Ruiz’s widow and experienced filmmaker, Valeria Sarmiento, continued with the Chilean auteur’s last project, ‘The Lines of Wellington’, following his death last year.  Set during the Battle of Bussaco, it explores the desperate resistance to the Napoleonic invasion from multiple perspectives.  Nuno Lopes (‘Alice’ and ‘Goodnight Irene’) and Soraia Chaves (‘Call Girl’), both of whom have won best acting awards at the Portuguese Golden Globes, lead an exceptional cast that includes John Malkovich as the Duke of Wellington.

 

 

‘Paradise: Faith’

Ulrich Seidl

 

‘Paradise: Faith’ is the second part of Ulrich Seidl’s trilogy exploring three women from the same family that take very different journeys loosely connected to the notion of paradise.  Seidl regular Maria Hofstätter, who won a special jury award at the Gijón International Film Festival for her performance in ‘Dog Days’, stars a Catholic missionary whose Muslim husband unexpectedly returns to her life.  The first in the trilogy, ‘Paradise: Love’, received its debut at Cannes earlier this year.

 

 

Betrayal

Kirill Serebrennikov

 

Russian filmmaker and theatre director, Kirill Serebrennikov, is likely to draw on both disciplines for his exploration of marital deception in his latest feature, ‘Betrayal’.  Two casual friends discover that their partners are having an affair in a plot that has some similarities with Pinter’s play of the same name.  Serebrennikov’s ‘Ragin’ won the East of West Award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival seven years ago.buy motilium tabletsdomperidone buy order domperidone from canadathuoc domperidone where to buy motilium in the usdomperidone suspension buy domperidone from canada

 

 

Venice International Film Festival has awarded this year’s Golden Lion to Kim Ki-duk’s ‘Pieta’, an uncompromising drama that has an unknown woman claiming to be the mother of a callous debt enforcer.  The South Korean filmmaker won the international critics’ prize (FIPRESCI) at Venice eight years ago for ‘3-Iron’ and it is the fourth time that he has competed in the main competition.

 

It was also a good night for the much debated, ‘The Master’, with Paul Thomas Anderson taking the best director’s Silver Lion and co-stars, Joaquin Phoenix & Philip Seymour Hoffman, sharing the best actor prize.  For those that don’t already know, Anderson’s sixth feature depicts the rise of a religious leader, who has similarities with Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard.

 

The special jury prize went to ‘Paradise: Faith’ being the second part of Ulrich Seidl’s trilogy looking at three women from the same family who embark on different journeys in search of happiness.  The first part of the trilogy, ‘Paradise: Love’, received its world premiere at this year’s Cannes.

 

Olivier Assayas received the best screenplay award for ‘Something In The Air’, the semi-autobiographical account of a student torn between political demands and his own artistic ambitions.

 

The best actress prize went to Hadas Yaron for her performance in Rama Burstein’s arranged marriage drama,’Fill The Void’.

 

Michael Mann led the jury.

 

 

AWARDS

 

VENEZIA 69 (The Competition):

 

Golden Lion for Best Film: 피에타 Pieta, Kim Ki-Duk, South Korea

 

Special Jury Prize: Paradies: Glaube (Paradise: Faith), Ulrich Seidl, Austria, France and Germany

 

Silver Lion for Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, USA

 

Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson, USA

 

Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Hadas Yaron in Lemale Et Ha’Chalal (Fill The Void), Rama Burshtein, Israel

 

Osella for Best Screenplay: Après mai (Something in the Air), Olivier Assayas, France

 

Osella for Best Cinematography:  È stato il figlio, Daniele Ciprì, Italy

 

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Fabrizio Falco in È stato il figlio, Daniele Ciprì, Italy and Bella Addormentata (Dormant Beauty), Marco Bellocchio, Italy and France

 

Lion of the Future – Luigi de Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film:  Küf (Mold), Ali Aydin, Turkey and Germany

 

 

Orizzonti Awards:

 

Best Film: San Zi Mei (Three Sisters), Bing Wang, France, Hong Kong and China

 

Special Jury Prize: Tango Libre, Frédéric Fonteyne, Belgium, France and Luxembourg

 

Best Short Film: Cho-De (Invitation), Min-Young Yoo, South Korea, 16′

Short Film Nominee for the European Film Awards: Titloi Telous (Out of Frame), Yorgos Zois, Greece, 10′

 

 

Autonomous Sections:

 

9th Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days

Europe Cinemas Label: Crawl, Hervé Lasgouttes, France

 

27th Settimana Internazionale Della Critica – Venice International Film Critics Week

RaroVideo Audience Award: Äta sova dö (Eat Sleep Die), Gabriela Pichler, Sweden

 

 

FIPRESCI Prizes:

 

Best Film from Venezia 69: The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson, USA

 

Best Film from Orizzonti and International Critics’ Week: L’Intervallo, Leonardo Di Costanzo, Italy, Switzerland and Germany

 

Main competition:

 

Something In The Air (Apres Mai)

Olivier Assayas (France)

 

At Any Price

Ramin Bahrani (US-UK)

 

Dormant Beauty (Bella Addormentata)

Marco Bellocchio (Italy-France)

 

La Cinquieme Saison

Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth (Belgium-Netherlands-France)

 

Fill The Void (Lemale Et Ha’Chalal)

Rama Burshtein (Israel)

 

E Stato il Figlio

Daniele Cipri (Italy-France)

 

Un Giorno Speciale

Francesca Comencini (Italy)

 

Passion

Brian De Palma (France-Germany)

 

Superstar

Xavier Giannoli (France-Belgium)

 

Pieta

Kim Ki-duk (South Korea)

 

Outrage Beyond

Takeshi Kitano (Japan)

 

Spring Breakers

Harmony Korine (US)

 

To The Wonder

Terrence Malick (US)

 

Thy Womb (Sinapupunan)

Brillante Mendoza (Philippines)

 

Linhas de Wellington

Valeria Sarmiento (Portugal-France)

 

Paradise: Faith (Paradies: Glaube)

Ulrich Seidl (Austria-France-Germany)

 

Betrayal (Izmena)

Kirill Serebrennikov (Russia)

 

 

Critics’ Week:

 

Eat Sleep Die (Sweden)

Gabriela Pichler

 

The Ideal City (Italy)

Luigi Lo Cascio

 

Lotus (People’s Republic of China)

Liu Shu

 

Mold (Turkey/Germany)

Ali Aydin

 

A Month in Thailand (Romania)

Paul Neogescu

 

She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone (Mexico)

Natalia Beristain

 

Welcome Home (Belgium)

Tom Heene

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