Monday, 30 August 2010

Venice Film Festival 2010

Blimey I'm a bit lax with this one - I thought it didn't start until next week but Black Swan opens the festival on Wednesday! Eeek-a-mouse! Better hurry up and showcase my picks, although having had a quick browse through the line up yesterday there doesn't seem to be an awful lot catching my eye. Apart from the obvious...

**Opening Film**
Black Swan
Dir: Darren Aronofsky
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey
I am soooo excited to see the first reviews of this film! People absolutely adored The Wrestler but The Fountain was heavily booed when it opened in 2006. But that's what I want - an extreme reaction. Obviously I want the roofs to shatter from the ceilings when the credits roll, but I'd rather people absolutely hated it than shrugged their shoulders and went, "meh."  The other way you can look at it is if it can win the prestigious Golden Lion award (for the best film screened at the festival) then I think things are looking very positive for awards season in America at the beginning of next year. And it's about time Natalie stopped floating under the radar and was propelled back into the big league of nominations and success again. I'm going to have my fingers crossed solidly for the next two days! Although the opening film hasn't won the big prize for quite a while...

Dir: Sofia Coppola
Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Benicio Del Toro, Michelle Monaghan
Another film which I'm really looking forward to that get its premiere at Venice. I remember when Stephen Dorff used to be a pin up boy from the 1990s - he ain't done a lot since (or ever), but this could certainly kick start his career again. Her last film, Marie Antoinette wasn't received so well, but in general Sofia Coppola is a darling for film festivals. And I think her latest offering takes her back to her best: an alienated lonely figure who is awakened by another individual. And there's a hotel in it, too.

Happy Few
Dir: Antony Cordier
Marina Fois, Elodie Bouchez, Roschdy Zem, Nicolas Duvauchelle
"Two couples meet and fall madly in love - they try to move forward together." --> from this brief synopsis I read it as two couples who swap and change partners and try to make it work, rather than four people who become two couples who try and make it work side by side - that wouldn't make any sense, would it? It would be too normal a story, and I don't think that's what this is implying. Now I'm all for my complicated love shapes and rampant jealousy and angst, and it's always more vociferous in French. Stellar!

Norwegian Wood
Dir: Anh Hung Tran
Rinko Kikuchi, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Kiko Mizuhara
Well here's a very, very pleasant surprise! I think it deserves a 'squee' actually - SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I DID NOT KNOW THIS WAS PREMIERING AT VENICE! I'd forgotten all about it in all honesty - I remember rushing to look it up when I finished reading the book (last year? The year before?) and getting all excited about it - especially for the fact it's all Japanese and they haven't made the cast American. Has the remake been ordered yet? Lolz. But it's an absolutely beautiful, beautiful book - the kind of book that keeps you hooked on every page when very little is actually happening with the characters. By the looks of the stills and the teaser trailer (below - God I feel so behind with this! I've just seen it's showing at Toronto as well!) it's been lushly shot and put together as well. WOW, HOW EXCITING! It's out in Japan in December, and better hurry up coming over here!

Dir: Tom Tykwer
Devid Striesow, Sophie Rois, Sebastian Schipper
Now, the premise of this actually doesn't entice me very much - happy couple in their 40s meet a new man and unbeknown to the other, BOTH fall in love with him. Hmm, bit silly. BUT - and the only reason why it's included here - it's the new film from Tom Tykwer, who has made some excellent films. I forget what an impressive repertoire he has - Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior, Natalie's segment in Paris Je T'aime: he very rarely makes a bad film (Perfume, cough). So even though this sounds ludicrous, it'll probably be an emotional and utterly convincing drama. And it's his first German film for ten years.

The Town
Dir: Ben Affleck
Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Chris Cooper, Blake Lively
Another film I'm very keen to see, and that will be in cinemas next month in fact (see Filmdar for what else is making September shine). This isn't in the running for the Golden Lion prize, but it's still undoubtedly going to make an impression when it screens during the festival, and I can't see it getting bad reviews, myself. I think Ben Affleck has a real talent behind the camera, although whether he strikes gold when he's in the film as well has yet to be seen...

And that's about all that's interesting me in Venice. A few others of note:  I'm Still Here - the Joaquin Phoenix documentary about his venture into rapping (directed by Casey Affleck no less! I did not know that), Robert Rodriguez's Machete which I don't give two hoots about; two shocking (but in a way hilarious) looking horror movies from Hong Kong and Japan: The Child's Eye and The Shock Labyrinth: Extreme (which I actually beg you to go and watch the trailer for) both of which have "3D" worryingly tacked on the end like a bad degree course. And something called Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City. YES.

The 67th Venice Film Festival runs from September 1-11. The verdict on Black Swan to come... God, I wish I was there.

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