Thursday, July 30, 2009

Denis, Rivette, and Moore!: Venice Lineup Announced

Robert here, noticing that the Venice Film Festival announced the lineup for it's 66th installment on Thursday. Here's the in-competition list, with a few bits I managed to find about each film.

Baaria (Opening Film) dir. Giuseppe Tornatore
The director of Cinema Paradiso gives us a three-generation spanning epic about his Italian hometown.

Soul Kitchen dir. Fatih Akin (pictured)
Akin directed the terrific Head-On and The Edge of Heaven (if you haven't seen either or both, do now). He re teams with Birol Unel from Head-On for a comedy about culture and gender clash.

La Doppia Ora dir. Giuseppe Capotondi
It's been tough finding information on this as Venice's website (nor IMDb) has much at the moment. I can tell tell you is that it's a freshman effort, it's Italian, and it's fun to say... La Doppio Ora!

Yi ngoi (Accident) dir. Cheang Pou-Soi
A Hong Kong crime film about a policeman getting in too deep as he attempts to take down an Assassins gang.

Persecution dir. Patrice Chereau
The newest film from the director of Queen Margot and Intimacy is a tumultuous love story. No word on whether there will be explicit scenes but it stars Charlotte Gainsbourg so a man can dream can't he?

Lo Spazio Bianco (White Space) dir. Francesca Comencini
This Italian film deals with the tenuous empty time (ala white space) a mother spends between the premature birth of her baby and its removal from an incubator.

White Material dir. Claire Denis
While us Denis fans in the states are still anticipating her last movie 35 Rhums, she's moved onto her next. This one stars Isabelle Huppert and Isaak de Bankole and involves a French coffee grower in Africa during a time of great conflict. Those unfamiliar with Denis probably shouldn't expect any action sequences.

Mr. Nobody dir. Jaco van Dormael (pictured)
Here's a film about a 120 year old man who is the last mortal living in a world of immortals. I'm already sold. Jared Leto and Sarah Polley star.

A Single Man dir. Tom Ford
Ford's first film stars Colin Firth as a gay college professor dealing with the death of his lover. Julianne Moore also stars. I smell lots and lots of potential.

Lourdes dir. Jessica Hausner
Hasuner's films have been staples on the festival circuits (though still relatively unknown among wider audiences). Lourdes (which will also play Toronto) is about a wheelchair-bound woman who, wouldn't you know it, travels to Lourdes in the hope of a miracle.

Bad Lieutenant: Port Of New Orleans dir. Werner Herzog
Nicolas Cage stars as a wild flailing police lieutenant who totters on the edge of sanity... as directed by Werner Herzog. This will either be a horrible disaster or a fantastic disaster, or a total masterpiece. It'll certainly be something.

The Road dir. John Hillcoat
Remember back when Esquire called this the most important film of the year? We'll soon see.

Ahasin Wetei (Between Two Worlds) dir. Vimukhti Jayasundara
I look forward to finding out more about this film from award-winning short director Jayasundara. Meanwhile, here's a picture of him at some event with Miranda July. Cool.

El Mosafer (The Traveller) dir. Ahmed Maher
Word is, Maher's been trying to make this project his entire career. It's described as: "Set in three different time periods, “El Mosafer” traces the life of one man over three days in three different years: 1948 in Suez, 1973 in Alexandria and 2001 in Cairo."[src] I figured no paraphrasing of mine could do better.

Levanon (Lebanon) dir. Samuel Maoz
A semi-autobiographical picture about four soldiers at the start of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

Capitalism: A Love Story dir. Michael Moore (pictured)
Unfortunately there's not much on the internet about either this film or director. Apparently he's a documentarian of some sort who people don't feel strongly about one way or the other. Seriously though if Moore's latest is like the rest of his films it stands to be controversial, sad, and true (mostly).

Zanan-e-bedun-e mardan (Women Without Men) dir. Shirin Neshat
Neshat is an acclaimed photographer whose been delving into film recently. Her latest is about a group of women who band together to form their own personal rural utopia.

Il Grande Sogno (The Big Dream) dir. Michele Placido
This film is set in 1968. I wish I could have found more than that. It's Italian and despite what Quentin Tarantino might have you believe, that country has been turning out some really good cinema lately.

36 Vues Du Pic Saint Loup dir. Jacques Rivette
Rivette's latest is a biopic about author Raymond Roussel. And considering it's Rivette behind the wheel, I'm guessing it's not your standard biopic.

Life During Wartime dir. Todd Solondz
Solondz's new movie has been described as a "dark comedy of sexual obsession" [src] and a companion piece to Happiness and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Solondz fans should be excited... hooray for sexual obsession!

Tetsuo The Bullet Man dir. Shinya Tsukamoto (pictured)
This is the third film in Tsukamoto's underground cyberpunk Tetsuo film series. I can't personally claim to have seen any of them but know that the first, Tetsuo The Iron Man is about a man who finds himself transforming into metal. I'm told it's weird... in a good way.

Lei wangzi (Prince of Tears) dir. Yonfan
Chinese director Yonfan gives us an exploration of friendship between four individuals in socially unresty 1960's Taiwan.

Hopefully that spread some interest around, and my apologies for the more sketchy summaries.


Jason Adams said...

I'm almost having trouble believing that Todd Solondz's new movie even really exists. I've been wanting it for so long... that it's actually going to play at festivals and then someday, supposedly, I'll get to see it? Insanity.


wheeeeee. if only i had been invited to an all expenses paid trip to Venice


and Robert... how do you know Claire Denis's movies aren't jampacked with action sequences? We just don't realize they're action sequences. I mean what exactly is happening in L'Intrus or Trouble Every Day or Friday Night... Denis is so sneaky! ;)

Victor S said...

Why, why Nicolas Cage had to do a movie with Herzog??
I was sober from Cage for 3 and a half years (since january 2006) and now Herzog has to spoil everything.
The only good thing (or its bad?) that based on Herzog's movies history of getting a brazilian release I will probably complete 5 years of sobriety easily.

Marco said...

Vimukhti Jayasundara's pic with Miranda July "at some event" was actually taken when they shared the Caméra d'Or award at Cannes Film Festival 2005; 99% sure Jayasundara's is the first movie from Sri Lanka to be in competition in Venice.
On paper, great competition, and great collateral sections too!

Glenn said...

Such an interesting mix and, while lacking the big names of Cannes, should be exciting to follow.

Not sure why people are just assuming Tom Ford will be a good film director.

anna said...

I'm SO looking forward to "Soul Kitchen"! I've loved every single one of Akin's films so far (well, maybe I just liked "Solino", not loved it). :)
Btw, Birol Ünel isn't the only actor he re-teams with here, Moritz Bleibtreu was in both "In July" and "Solino" and Adam Bousdoukos (the other actor in the still) was in Akin’s very first short film, played one of the leads in his feature length debut “Kurz und schmerzlos” (“Short Sharp Shock”, highly recommended!) and has appearences in most of Akin’s later films as well. Looking forward to seeing him in another leading role.

BLH said...

Even being as optimistic as I can, I can say there's a very good chance I'll never get to see most of these films.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. Tom Ford thinks he can direct now. Why of course he does. Expect a lot of pretension and zero substance. Barf.

whitney said...

I was terrified for the Herzog film, but the more I think about it, the more its perfect. Herzog probably saw Cage in The Wicker Man and saw the Klaus Kinski (not the actor but the MAN) resemblance.

I am convinced he's doing it as the best joke ever.

Janice said...

Tom Ford is directing? God help us all from the tsunami of his raging ego. (If it's a brilliant film then I'll shut up.)


BLH nah. you'll be able to see some on DVD won't you? Aren't all of Akin's movies on DVD? I highly recommend Head On... so intense.

A Single Man will also become available at some point since it's got stars in it.

anna said...

Head-On,The Edge of Heaven, In July and his documentary Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul should be easy enough to find, I'm just not sure about Short Sharp Shock and Solino. You can easily get these two in Germany, but I don't know whether there are subtitled versions available.