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.
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 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)
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
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, 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 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.
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.
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’ 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.
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.
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
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’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
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’ 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.
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 tabletsorder domperidone from canadawhere to buy motilium in the usbuy domperidone from canada