Saturday, September 08, 2007

Notes from Venice - Queer Lions & awards...

Boyd from European Films here, reporting on the Venice Film Festival before it wraps tonight. (Note: your visits to my home base fried my server, but things should be okay again now, though the site could be running slower than usual. Thanks to all for understanding and stopping by.)

First awards: Queer & Not so Queer (unless you consider all Europeans as Queer)
US indie The Speed of Life (Superheroes) from Ed Radtke won the first ever Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival, one of the first collateral awards handed out before the official Golden Lion awards ceremony this evening. The prize is given to a film that accurately depicts or deals with homosexual characters or themes. It is, if you will, the Venetian version of Berlin's long-established Teddy Award, which has helped such filmmakers as Pedro Almodovar and Gus van Sant earn early recognition before entering the arthouse mainstream. The Queer Lion special mention went to Kenneth Branagh's Sleuth (my review). In the picture above, the man behind the Queer Lion, Daniel Casagrande, shows off the plaque with the name of the winner on it (photo courtesy of Fabrizio Maltese).

The Polish film Sztuczki (Tricks) from Andrzej Jakimowski was awarded the Europa Cinemas Label, a prize that helps a European film with distribution in other European countries - a necessity because of the glut of US films on most European screens and the problems local films have to travel beyond their own borders. Past winners of the prize include Anton Corbijn's musical biopic Control, the documentary Darwin's Nightmare and the Romanian comedy 12:08 East of Bucharest.

Both The Speed of Life and Sztuczki are about manipulating the world, the former by having NYC street kids stealing cameras and creating new and faraway worlds with the obtained footage, the later by having Polish country kids make bets with or sacrifice to fate to obtain a desired result. Visually, both films are from two different worlds: the dirty smudges of VHS-quality necessary for Radtke's semi-autobiographic film are the complete opposite of Sztuczki's lyrical cinematography that bathes the Polish countryside in burnished summer yellows and browns during the day and cool blues and rich blacks during the night-time sequences.

Lion speculation
I won't spend too much time on this now, since in two hours this post will be obsolete. Favorites for top prizes are four at the moment: Paul Haggis's In the Valley of Elah (I wonder what wager he's made with fate to be considered so awardable?); French immigrant drama La graine et le mulet (The Secret of the Grain); Russian legal drama 12, a remake of the Sidney Lumet film 12 Angry Men from 1957, and De Palma's Iraqi war drama Redacted. Outsider options: Greenaway's Rembrandt pic Nightwatching and Ang Lee's Se jie (Lust, Caution). [update: WINNERS ANNOUNCED]

Personal Favorites

Films I cannot wait to see again: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, La fille coupée en deux (The Girl Cut in Two), Se jie (Lust, Caution), Sügisball (Autumn Ball).
Films I wouldn't mind seeing again: En la ciudad de Sylvia, Sztuczki, Un baiser, s'il vous plait, The Nines, Nessuna qualità agli eroi.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is that picture of you, Boyd? If so you are really hot. You look like rough trade. This is good.

NATHANIEL R said...

if you read the article it tells you who the picture is of. it's not Boyd. But Boyd is still hot ;)

Boyd said...

Hahaha... no that's not me ;-)

It's Daniel Casagrande, the man behind the Queer Lion, the gay film prize of the Venice Film Festival. I did an interview with him for a Dutch Gay magazine and I he is just as nice as he looks.

Boyd said...

And thanks Nathaniel...

Middento said...

Redacted winning the Golden Lion? Really??! I saw it at Telluride and I didn't think much of it at all. I'll be shocked if it wins.

Anonymous said...

This is 100% off topic, but I was wondering, Nat, when will the next Oscar predic update be? It's been a while.

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett won best actress.

Bow down to the age of Blanchett!

NATHANIEL R said...

the next prediction update will be when TORONTO wraps. No sense in updating now when next week 15 more movies's fates will change.

Anonymous said...

"Lust, Caution" won the Golden Lion.

WHOA!

Where are you guys?

L said...

Ang Lee won the golden lion again! De Palma won for directing, Pitt and Blanchett obtained the Volpi Cups for acting. The jury special prize goes to "La graine et le mulet" by Abdellatif Kechiche and also to "I'm not there", a tie. Loach's movie, "In this free world" wins the award for best screenplay...

NATHANIEL R said...

ah here we go finally on the newswires.

NATHANIEL R said...

GOLDEN LION (film) lust, caution directed by Ang Lee
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE (tie) I'm Not There and La Graine et Mulet
DIRECTOR -brian depalma Redacted
SCREENPLAY paul laverty it's a free world
ACTOR brad pitt assassination of jesse james by the coward robert ford
ACTRESS cate blanchett i'm not there
GOLDEN LION (career) Bernardo Bertolucci

NATHANIEL R said...

and Boyd has another post up too