Saturday, August 31, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 4

Nicolas Cage on the red carpet 30/08/2013 © la Biennale di Venezia
  • Day 4 - Saturday, August 31

  • Screening today:

    In competition, from the USA, Night Moves by Kelly Reichardt.

    The American director returns to Venice after winning the SIGNIS award in 2010 with Meek's Cutoff. Reichardt's latest, is the story of three radical environmentalists in a plot to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard.

    Also from the USA, Child of God by James Franco.

    Another American director who is showing up everywhere (he also stars and co-wrote Gia Coppola's debut film Palo Alto which premiered in Telluride yesterday and screens in Venice tomorrow in the Orizzonti section). Franco's first film in competition on the Lido is a grisly tale adapted from a Cormac McCarthy novel. It stars Scott Haze, Tim Blake, and Nelson Jim Parrack.

    The third film in competition today, from the UK, Philomena by Stephen Frears.

    Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in a story of a mother's search for the son that was taken from her fifty years ago.

Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 3

William Friedkin (2013 Golden Lion recipient for Lifetime Achievement) © la Biennale di Venezia
  • Day 3 - Friday, August 30

Screening today:

In competition, from Germany, Die frau des polizisten (The Police Officer's Wife) by Philip Gröning.

Gröning, whose last film was the lengthy documentary Into Great Silence. A curious examination of life inside a French monastery which garnered a Special Jury Mention at Sundance in 2005.  He follows that up with a three hour long drama shot without a script, about the virtues of love, curiosity, and joy.

Also in competition, from the USA, Joe by David Gordon Green.

Fresh from winning the Silver Bear for Best Director in Berlin for Prince Avalanche, Green quickly returns to the major festival circuit. This film stars Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan and is an adaptation of a novel by Larry Brown about an ex-con who takes a hard-luck kid under his wing.

And screening out of competition, from Australia, Wolf Creek 2 by Greg McLean.

The sequel to McLean's well regarded 2005 horror film about a group of stranded backpackers who fall victim to a serial killer in the outback. Will be interesting to see if he manages to repeat the first film's success.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 2

Palazzo del Cinema © la Biennale di Venezia
  • Day 2 - Thursday, August 29

  • Screening today:

    In competition, from Australia, Tracks by John Curran.

    The remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson (played by Mia Wasikowska), a young woman who made a 2000 mile solo journey through the Australian outback accompanied only by her dog and four camels.

    Also in competition, the first Italian entry, a co-production with Switzerland and France, Via Castellana Bandiera (A Street in Palermo) by Emma Dante.

    This is the film debut for acclaimed Sicilian stage actress, director and playwright Emma Dante, who also writes, directs and stars in the film set in Palermo on a Sunday afternoon.

    Screening in the Orizzonti section, from Japan, 地獄でなぜ悪い (Why Don't You Play in Hell?) by Sion Sono.

    This latest film from the prolific and talented Japanese director, is the result of a script he wrote nearly two decades ago, and is what he calls a "Requiem to 35mm Film". The story is framed around two feuding gangsters. It stars Jun Kunimura and Shinichi Tsutsumi.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 1

The 70th Venice International Film Festival (Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica), organized by La Biennale di Venezia and directed by Alberto Barbera, opens today, bringing eleven days of excitement to the Venice Lido and to this blog.

The festivities begin this evening with the inauguration ceremony, hosted by Italian model/actress Eva Riccobono (winner of the 2013 Ciak d'Oro for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Passione Sinistra by Marco Ponti).

The ceremony will be followed by the highly anticipated World Premiere of Out of Competition opening film, Gravity by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón. A 3D outer space thriller, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

Eva Riccobono © la Biennale di Venezia

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Locarno Film Festival Award Winners

The 66th Locarno Film Festival came to an end this weekend, with the closing awards ceremony held Saturday (August 17) evening at the Piazza Grande.

The international competition jury presided by Filipino director Lav Diaz awarded this year's Golden Leopard (Pardo d'oro) for Best Feature Film to Story of my Death (Historia de la meva mort) from Spanish director Albert Serra. A Spanish/French co-production set in 18th century France, about an imagined meeting between Casanova and Dracula.

Ever prolific South Korean director Hong Sang-soo won the prize for Best Directing, with his latest work titled Our Sunhi.

The Silver Leopard for Best Actor went to Fernando Bacilio for his role in El Mudo, from Peruvian directors Daniel and Diego Vega.

While the Best Actress trophy went to Brie Larson for her role in Short Term 12 (a film you may have already heard about, it took home two prizes earlier this year at SXSW) by Hawaiian director Destin Cretton, which also picked up a Special Jury Mention. This American drama to look out for, follows a 20-something supervisor at a foster care facility for troubled teenagers.

Read on for the list of winners from the Concorso internazionale section of the 2013 Festival del film Locarno: