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.

Venezia 70 Competition Film
Die Frau des Polizisten (The Police Officer's Wife)
directed by Philip Gröning
Germany, 175'

A simple film. A man, a woman, a child. A small town. The square apartment. Perfect Sundays. The story of a young family. The ceaseless labor of love out of which emerges what is later called the soul of a person. Creating the cradle of love that nurtures the child’s evolving soul.
Critical Reception:

"A big, arty and relentlessly dour family saga" David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
"Intimate but enervating drama aims for subtlety, yet its overwhelming pretensions deny the wife agency and generate irked pity rather than sympathy." Jay Weissberg (Variety)
"Extremely pretentious in its formal demeanor and indulging in excessive lengths." Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
"Sitting through the three-hour version becomes something of an endurance test." Boyd van Hoeij (The Hollywood Reporter)
Venezia 70 Competition Film
directed by David Gordon Green
USA, 117'

Hard-living, hot-tempered, ex-con Joe Ransom, is just trying to dodge his instincts for trouble—until he meets a hard-luck kid who awakens in him a fierce and tender-hearted protector.
Critical Reception:

"The fluency of the storytelling isn't always up to snuff, and Green is prone to inserting in spurious single-serving scenes which feel like they're there to artificially bolster the character motivations" David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
"It’s not exactly doing anything new, but it’s a muscular and textured piece of work that shifts assuredly through tones and genre, and features a rich and rewarding performance from Cage, and another excellent turn from his young co-star Tye Sheridan." Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist)
"Much darker and moodier than director David Gordon Green’s recent films, but his take on the moral, financial and physical issues ordinary working types struggling to get by in the underbelly of America is striking" Mark Adams (Screen Daily)
"As usual with the director’s artier excursions, there’s a deliberate unevenness at work here, an off-center quality to the storytelling that intrigues as well as frustrates, as the film often willingly suspends traditional narrative satisfactions for the sake of color and atmosphere." Justin Chang (Variety)
Out of Competition
Wolf Creek 2
directed by Greg McLean
Australia, 126'

The Australian outback is a lonely, isolated place—the perfect playground for a sadistic serial killer with a penchant for bloodthirsty sport.
Critical Reception:

"McLean’s superb grasp of technique and his talent for inducing major fear in audiences should be a gift to gore and splatter fans." Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
"Neither as striking nor as fundamentally scary as its predecessor, this pumped-up, robustly crafted pic is still quite a ride." Guy Lodge (Variety)

Screening tomorrow (Saturday, August 31):
  • Night Moves by Kelly Reichardt (In Competition)
  • Philomena by Stephen Frears (In Competition)
  • Child of God by James Franco (In Competition)

See our other #Venice2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

I want to see "Joe" because I heard it's David Gordon Green trying to return to his earlier work after making some pretty bad comedies. I still want to see it despite the mixed reviews. And congrats to William Friedkin. I really enjoyed his last film "Killer Joe" which I think is one of his best films.

Unknown said...

I'm happy as long as Green does anything except that Suspiria remake he was trying to get made.

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