Monday, September 2, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 6

Palazzo del Cinema © la Biennale di Venezia
Day 6 - Monday, September 2

Screening today:

In competition, from Canada, Tom à la Ferme (Tom at the Farm) by Xavier Dolan.

The 24-year-old director's fourth feature, and his first in competition at a major festival. This is a psychological thriller based on a play by Michel Marc Bouchard that seems to be an intriguing departure from his established comfort zone of stories about unrequited love. It stars Dolan, alongside Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy, and Evelyne Brochu.

In competition, from the UK and the USA, The Zero Theorem by Terry Gilliam.

A very interesting looking sci-fi starring Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Mélanie Thierry, and Tilda Swinton from the imaginative director who brought us Brazil and 12 Monkeys.

Screening in the Orizzonti section, from the USA, The Sacrament by Ti West.

Rising horror director Ti West's highly anticipated latest is about a pair of investigative journalists who find themselves mixed up with a dangerous cult while working on a story.

Venezia 70 Competition Film
Tom à la Ferme
directed by Xavier Dolan
Canada, 95'

Tom, a young advertising copywriter, travels to the country for a funeral. There, he’s shocked to find out no one knows who he is, nor who he was to the deceased, whose brother soon sets the rules of a twisted game. In order to protect the family’s name and grieving mother, Tom now has to play the peacekeeper in a household whose obscure past bodes even greater darkness for his “trip” to the farm.
Critical Reception:

"The film marks (Dolan's) growth in all kinds of ways. We've found him a little awkward as a performer in his own previous films, but he gives a strong and even likable turn here. And it's his most expansive and impressive work visually too, with the photography by "Incendies"' Andre Turpin taking full advantage of the rural landscape and claustrophobic interiors." Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist)
"This is the sort of insidious scenario that someone like Claude Chabrol might have sculpted into compelling psychodrama. But Dolan is too posturing a filmmaker to be fully at the service of the material, showing scant interest in grounding the story in emotional truth." David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
"While it marks a turn in Dolan’s career, it still lacks a bit of maturity to become a genre classic." Domenico La Porta (Cineuropa)
"Confidently delivered, its shots composed with a careful eye, and its occasional stylistic flourish, hint at someone pushing at the possibilities of cinema, if not quite breaking through." John Bleasdale (Cine-vue)
Venezia 70 Competition Film
The Zero Theorem
directed by Terry Gilliam
UK, USA, 107'

An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence—or the lack thereof—once and for all. However, it is only once he experiences the power of love and desire that he is able to understand his very reason for being.
Critical Reception:

"Momentarily recalls the dystopian whimsy of the director’s best-loved effort, “Brazil,” but ends up dissolving into a muddle of unfunny jokes and half-baked ideas." Leslie Felperin (Variety)
"This is probably the director's most cogent and crisp work in some time, its simple narrative drive towards discovering the true nature of the Zero Theorem helping to ally some of the structural rot of his more indulgent, freeform and episodic features of the past." David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
"It’s not an unreserved return to form, but it’s an admirably ambitious and thoughtful sci-fi mindbender that movingly takes stock as the director enters his 70s. " Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist)
"Gilliam, whose recent films have generally been somewhere between frustrating and irritating as far as commercial cinema is concerned, once again bombards his audience with so much information, so many extravagant quips and such a lot of side alleys to venture down and look for hidden messages, that most viewers will be either bemused or infuriated." Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
"It’s anarchic, sometimes amusing, intermittently tedious, with ideas about digital alienation and the corruption of technology that too often feel blunt and tired." Dave Calhoun (TimeOut London)
"Though it was shot in Bucharest in just 36 days, it looks busy and expensive but at the same time lacks the dazzling special effects of the new American studio and Asian fantasy films." Deborah Young (The Hollywood Reporter)
"It is a wilfully iconoclastic film from a wilfully iconoclastic man. And it shows, for better or worse, that Gilliam is still in the game and eyeing the prize, despite his spectacularly ill-starred recent career." Xan Brooks (The Guardian)
Orizzonti Film
The Sacrament
directed by Ti West
USA, 95'

Two VICE Media correspondents set out to document their friend’s journey to find his missing sister. They travel outside of the United States to an undisclosed location where they are welcomed into the world of “Eden Parish,” a self-sustained rural utopia, comprised of nearly two hundred members. At the center of this small, religious, socialist community is a mysterious leader known only as “Father.” As their friend reunites with his sister, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that this paradise may not be as it seems. What started as just another documentary shoot, soon becomes a race to escape with their lives.
Critical Reception:

"It has its fair share of problems, but credit the flick with bringing a relatively fresh angle to the genre." Oliver Lyttelton (The Playlist)
"It’s a film that purists might insist isn’t horror in the strictest sense, though this slow-burning investigation of unseemly goings-on at a rural Christian commune is frightening in any genre language." Guy Lodge (Variety)
"Makes savvy use of the well-worn found-footage format, modulating its creepy scenario with considerable skill." David Rooney (The Hollywood Reporter)
Screening tomorrow (Tuesday, September 3):
  • Ana Arabia by Amos Gitai (In Competition)
  • Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer (In Competition)
  • Moebius by Kim Ki-duk (Out of Competition)

See our other #Venice2013 coverage:


Unknown said...

I really cannot wait for Under the Skin reviews tomorrow. So many surreal films in this year's festival!

Unknown said...

I still want to see "The Zero Theorem" no matter how divisive it is. It's Terry Gilliam!

Unknown said...

Curious about that Terry Gilliam's movie. It's bound to be polarizing but I've enjoyed a few of his work, I don't mind surreal films once in a while, ahah.

Unknown said...

See, this is nice. I wouldn't mind sitting through any of these. I think. Maybe not the 'perfect' flick, but a better watch than what I normally find on my own.

Unknown said...

I hope Tom a la Ferme soundtrack is good. Laurence Anyways had an great compilation of tracks.
Good to know the visuals are impressive, as that was another thing I liked in Dolan's 2012 film, and how it worked with the music.

Unknown said...

The reviews are divisive as you'd expect. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it.

Unknown said...

No doubt.

Unknown said...

Yeah he doesn't always deliver greatness, but you know it will always be interesting work.

Unknown said...

Yeah the lineup this year hasn't been the strongest so far, but everything today looks good.

Unknown said...

Yeah if one thing is for certain, it's that the soundtrack will be interesting.

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