Saturday, September 08, 2007

Notes from Venice - Ang Lee strikes again

update 01/22/08. This post is suddenly getting hit from web searches. I'm not sure why. The news is true. Heath Ledger has died. So, so sad.

This is an old post about his appearance at the Venice Film Festival where he was calling himself "Keith Ledger"

***

Boyd from European Films here, reporting from the Venice Film Festival.

Ang Lee has done it again! He has again won the Golden Lion, the Venice Film Festival's top prize, just two years after Brokeback Mountain, but now with a drama set on another continent and in another language: Se jie (Lust Caution), a war-time drama set in an occupied Shanghai in which a theatre student (Wei Tang) is asked to seduce a high-placed official (Tony Leung) who collaborates openly with the occupiers. The film also won the prize for Best Cinematography for DOP Rodrigo Prieto, the same man who shot Brokeback Mountain.

Besides this Taiwanese-US co-production, US films won several other prizes, including Brian De Palma's Redacted (Best Director); Todd Haynes's I'm Not There (Best Actress for Cate Blanchett, Special Jury Prize) and Andrew Dominik's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, which was awarded the Best Actor Coppa Volpi for Brad Pitt.

Neither Pitt nor Blanchett were present, though Blanchett's co-star Heath Ledger accepted the Best Actress award on her behalf. Ledger was in top shape, rocking the red carpet with the coolest pair of socks ever before apologizing for not being Cate Blanchett but "just this dirtbag" when accepting the award. He later referred to himself in Cate's thank-you note he read out loud as "Keith Ledger". Funny man.

If anything, like with Brokeback Mountain, Lust, Caution just got a serious Oscar boost after early mixed-to-positive reviews. (From my Lust, Caution review: "An uncompromising and incredibly seductive piece of filmmaking that is too long but has so many good elements going for it that it is hard to really care that on certain points the director seems to have thrown caution to the wind.")

Check out European Films for a full list of 2007 Venice Film Festival winners.

24 comments:

Catherine said...

Yay. I'm really looking forward to this, even though I did a quick brain scan and realised I've only seen two Ang Lee films (Brokeback Mt. and The Ice Storm). Both are amazing, though and TIS is one of my favourite films ever, so that's not a bad track record...

NATHANIEL R said...

I love Keith Ledger.

Chinese Odyssey said...

Two trivia:

Ang Lee won his first Golden Bear in 1993, Zhang Yimou was also in the jury.

As a actor, Tony Leung is now responsible for three golden Lion winner : City of Sadness in 1989, Cyclo in 1995, and Lust, Caution in 2007.

BTW,Boyd; Your name in chinese sounds exactly the same^v^

Boyd = 博伊德

Boyd said...

"Keith" is the best and every bit as rock 'n' roll as his Rolling Stones namesake!!

Boyd said...

And my name in Chinese looks cool. How are the sounds divided between the characters (since I see three)?

Boyd said...

Yeah - the only thing missing is a Golden Palm, but that will be tough... from what I gathered they are not too keen on Lee. I mean, they refused Brokeback Mountain in 2005 (they did screen The Ice Storm, but it did not win any major awards).

Chinese Odyssey said...

It divided like this(only in mandarin): 博/bo 伊/y 德/d

J.D. said...

I can't wait for it now. On DVD. But for some reason, I'm not angry by that...

Agustin said...

did brad stole casey?

Anonymous said...

does this mean blanchett will campaign as lead for i'm not there if the golden age is not very good or have a double nominne year,she is on her way to a 2nd win for supp i feel.

Kamikaze Camel said...

She can't get two noms in one category (against the rules), and she won Best Actress because festivals don't tend to destinguish between lead and supporting.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Although (sorry, more) I do tend to think that some critics groups will lump her two performances together and claim them as "Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth: The Golden age (and I'm Not There)" like they always tend to do.

Anonymous said...

ha. i'm awaiting just what on earth "jesus wept" means in the space next to your tba grade for the brave one.

Arkaan said...

Yeah, like Kamikaze said, festivals don't do supporting/lead distinctions. Marie-Jose Croze at Cannes in 2003, for example.

I think Blanchett will be pushed lead for Golden Age and Supporting for I'm Not There like everyone else. I doubt she's winning so soon, and I think I'm Not There is a longer shot than many.

Boyd said...

I do think that Casey Affleck was robbed. If they wanted to honor That Really Long Title than they should have gone with Casey's performance, which is not only the lead but also heaps better than Pitt's. Plus: a) it would have been the first time in the history of the festival two brothers got Best Actor Coppa Volpi in two subsequent years, and b) Affleck's career would have benefited a lot more from a Coppa Volpi win than Pitt's.

I guess the jury just wanted the glamor factor...

Anonymous said...

i now feel she will win in support i'm not there's buzz for her is huge and the golden age buzz for her seems to be going down if she wins in supp who is the fave for lead knightley,berry,cotillard,christie,kidman or foster

adam k. said...

I really think this year's lead oscar will go to either Blanchett, Moore, or Winslet (who I still think could be released at the last minute).

I just saw the new, longer trailer for Golden Age, and WOW, Cate looks great. It seems like awards will be drawn to her like moths to a flame. Though with the rise of I'm Not There and the now-official title Elizabeth: The Golden Age I'm starting to feel like a supporting win may be the better bet. The longer, colonated title just makes the film seem... cheaper. Like part of a series. i.e. they don't need to award her for this one.

Also, I think even critics will put both her perfs in different categories, cause I don't see how she could be a lead in I'm Not There. Not when 5 other people are playing Dylan. So looks like this year Blanchett's supporting run will NOT involve category fraud (for a change).

Adam Luis said...

I'm so glad Ang Lee won. I'm not generall in favor of craftsman-as-awards-magnet (Paul Haggis), but it's so hard to fault Ang Lee for anything. He's just so good.

- Adam

NATHANIEL R said...

awarding cate for dylan makes perfect Oscar sense...

except that we're still dealing with festival reactions. a different crowd than AMPAS for sure. Todd Haynes still might make films that are too esoteric for them.

we'll see. can't wait to see it

amir_uk said...

Love Heath's outfit in that photo!

Arkaan said...

except that we're still dealing with festival reactions. a different crowd than AMPAS for sure. Todd Haynes still might make films that are too esoteric for them.

Yep. Lets flashback for a moment to 2002. Far From Heaven was undoubtedly the most critically acclaimed film of the year. No one seriously thought it would be a best picture nominee, but a solid nomination total seemed to be possible. Actually, when you think about it - something like eight nods shouldn't have been exceptional. Directing was a longshot to be sure, but the film was in a good position to be the Screenplay + Director (but not picture) the academy does every so often (The Truman Show, Being John Malkovich, Billy Elliot, City of God). Sandy Powell was a shoo-in for Gangs of New York, but her costume work on FFH was amazing (and they'd nominated her for small works before - see 1998).

And what happened? Not only did it not get the "possible but not locked" nominees, it was the recipient of the biggest snub of the evening: Dennis Quaid. He gave his best performance in years and did it twice in 2002 (The Rookie was solidly acclaimed). And he was still ignored (and the category was quite weak).

Now, he didn't have the gimmick that Blanchett has, but I doubt I'm Not There will get the raves that Far From Heaven got (a little too thinky perhaps?). And I'm Not There looks more esoteric than FFH (which, despite it's appropriation of Sirkian techniques, is a straightforward narrative). It will be interesting.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Adam, if Moore is even nominated - let alone wins - for Savage Grace (which is what I assume you mean by Moore's inclusion) then I will pull a Werner Hertzog and eat my shoe*

(*I won't actually eat my own shoe, but you get the idea, right?)

Anonymous said...

I think iñarritu is very influencial. Most of the main prizes were given to some of his closest friends, ang lee, rodrigo prieto cinematography, Kate and Brad.

Boyd said...

In terms of the jury: Inarritu seems to have called the shots together with Verhoeven, Breillat and jury president Zhang Yimou. Campion championed the Dylan biopic, while Ozpetek tried to push La graine et le mulet, both of which ended up with the Jury Prize...