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.

    Venezia 70 Competition Film
    directed by John Curran
    Australia, 110'

    Tracks is based on the inspirational and iconic true story of Robyn Davidson. Robyn’s phenomenal solo trek from Alice Springs to Uluru and on to the Indian Ocean saw her traverse 2700km of spectacular yet unforgiving Australian desert accompanied only by her loyal dog and four unpredictable camels.
    Critical Reception:

    "If the revelations seem a bit tidy, as revelations usually do, Wasikowsa’s characterization feels so authentically jagged and lived-in that it easily supports such explanations without in any way relying on them"Justin Chang (Variety)
    "Alternately haunting, inspiring and dreamily meditative, this is a visually majestic film of transfixing moods and textures. "David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "A rewarding and memorable film built around a mesmerising performance by Mia Wasikowska"Screen (Screen Daily)
    "Wasikowska gets the balance of her performance exactly right. Still and reactive rather than ostentatious or emotional"Matt Mueller (Thompson on Hollywood)
    "The star of Tracks is the Australian outback itself, dazzlingly captured by Mandy Walker. She turns the open desert into a riot of colour."Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "What director John Curran offers up in Tracks is a gap-year hash of every walking-through-nature movie ever, with a bunch of hokey episodic sub-plots coalescing to make the film as a whole feel like one giant montage sequence."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "Feels like an admirable 'Walkabout', despite never really getting anywhere."John Bleasedale (Cine-vue)
    Venezia 70 Competition Film
    Via Castellana Bandiera (A Street in Palermo)
    directed by Emma Dante
    Italy, Switzerland, France, 90'

    Shut inside their cars, two women face off in a silent duel that is fought out in the intimate violence of their stares. A wholly female duel punctuated by the refusal to drink, eat and sleep; more obstinate than the sun of Palermo and more stubborn than the ferocity of the men who surround them. For, as in every duel, it is a question of life or death...
    Critical Reception:

    "The despair at an Italy built around hypocrisy and petty criminality is almost palpable."John Bleasedale (Cine-vue)
    "A concept movie which falls flat at the very first hurdle."David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
    "The handheld camera nails the visceral quality of this godforsaken periphery where donkeys and Vespas coexist, where badly-paved rubbish-strewn streets end in sudden cliffs, and several houses have the same street number, because everybody chooses the number they like best."Lee Marshall (Screen Daily)
    "The relentless tale of a two-car traffic jam that could more profitably have been written as an absurdist stage play; as a one-location film animated by incessant handheld camera work, its battle of wills quickly turns tedious."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Largely shot on one street but avoiding a claustrophobic feel, the pic can’t sustain its thematic intensity and feels stretched too thin, notwithstanding a strangely powerful finale."Jay Weissberg (Variety)
    Orizzonti Film
    地獄でなぜ悪い (Why Don't You Play in Hell?)
    directed by Sion Sono
    Japan, 126'

    Two men, Muto and Ikegami, hate each other. Muto desperately wants to help his daughter Mitsuko star in a movie. Meanwhile, Ikegami falls in love with Mitsuko, knowing that she’s the daughter of his foe. Getting dragged into this complicated situation are the movie director Hirata and a young movie-lover named Koji and the story moves on to an unexpected direction.
    Critical Reception:

    "Totally outrageous but surprisingly successful on its own terms, this wild melange of yakuza wars and student filmmaking marks Japanese veteran Sion Sono’s return to the Suicide Club genre, with farcical teenage rom com thrown in as an extra."Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
    "Sion Sono’s rousing, freewheeling, scattershot and ultimately astonishingly bloodthirsty film is a classic cult title that will keep midnight movie fans entertained and amused."Mark Adams (Screen Daily)
    "Sono is not trying to be taken seriously here. He simply wants to remind us, and perhaps himself, of the visceral pleasures of cinema at its very lowest, and this grease-glistening banquet of crash-zooms, gore plumes, gurning and chopping achieves that with a resounding wham. "Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
    "Relentlessly jokey, strenuously deranged and conspicuously pleased with itself, this overstuffed yarn about two warring yakuza clans and an amateur filmmaking crew is an empty exercise in carnage maximus."Justin Chang (Variety)
    " Sono’s ardent movie-love does comes through loud and clear in the film’s litany of cinematic references – both Eastern and Western, high and low – but this is the kind of self-reflexive movie that congratulates itself just for being a movie at all."Guy Lodge (In Contention)
Screening tomorrow (Friday, August 30):
  • Die frau des polizisten (The Police Officer's Wife) by Philip Gröning (In Competition)
  • Joe by David Gordon Green (In Competition)
  • Wolf Creek 2 by Greg McLean (Out of Competition)

See our other #Venice2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

My only reason to see "Tracks" is Mia Wasikowska whom I'm really liking at the moment as I loved her in "Stoker".

Unknown said...

I'm a fan of John Curran's two previous outings with Naomi Watts, which are kind of underrated. Didn't care too much about Curran's latest Stone (2010). I suppose you'll be reviewing Tracks (2013), since you love Walkabout (1971), so I'll wait for your review.

Unknown said...

Mia is a talent. I've been impressed with her acting since her appearance in the HBO show In Treatment.

Unknown said...

I didn't care for STONE either, but I am a fan of Mia, and yeah it has that WALKABOUT thing going for it. It's one I'm looking forward to.

Unknown said...

SONO STRIKES AGAIN!!! Just looking at the trailer (about 100 times), I had faith that this would be good.

Unknown said...

A Street in Palermo actually sounds real fun. It sounds scary to sit through, but the minute and a half I got to see there was intense. I wanted more.

The other two just seem like movies I'd be okay to watch. I'm questioning my views now.

Unknown said...

Can't wait to see that 'sliding through a river of blood' scene on the big screen!

Unknown said...

It sounds to me like a great concept for a short. Maybe not so much a feature. We'll see.

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