Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Venice International Film Festival: Day 7

Palazzo del Cinema © la Biennale di Venezia
Day 7 - Tuesday, September 3

Screening today:

In competition, from Israel and France, Ana Arabia by Amos Gitai.

This one depicts a moment in the life of a group of Jews and Arabs who live together in an enclave in Israel. Notably filmed in one continous shot.

In competition, from the UK, Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer.

Glazer returns to Venice with his first film in nine years, the last one was Birth (2004). His latest is based on a novel written in 2000 by Michel Faber, it stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien in human form on a journey through Scotland.

Also of note, screening Out of Competition, from South Korea, Moebius by Kim Ki-duk.

Winner of last year's Golden Lion for Pieta. The South Korean director's latest is unfortunately not in competition, but it looks to be another delightfully twisted creation.

Venezia 70 Competition Film
Ana Arabia
directed by Amos Gitai
Israel, 84'

Synopsis:
Filmed in one sequence-shot of 1:25, Ana Arabia is a moment in the life of a small community of outcasts, Jews and Arabs, who live together in a forgotten enclave at the “border” between Jaffa and Bat Yam, in Israel.
Critical Reception:

"A meditative if somewhat contrived drama that’s most notable for being constructed from a single Steadicam-shot take" Leslie Felperin (Variety)
"The film doesn’t offer any easy answers, though taken together, the stories mainly underline the humanity of the characters, an effect reminiscent of Gitai’s own Wadi documentaries, about a group of Jews and Arabs living together in northern Israel." Boyd van Hoeij (The Hollywood Reporter)
"The listening attitude of the beautiful journalist, allows us to know at the same time she does this small self-sufficient neighbourhood which is a world of itself, a world left behind that scrapes by, with its old but still fresh wounds, but also a world that remembers a time when Jews and Muslims cohabitated and spoke to each other." Bénédicte Prot (Cineuropa)
Venezia 70 Competition Film
Under the Skin
directed by Jonathan Glazer
UK, 107'

Synopsis:
The story of an alien in human form on a journey through Scotland. Part road movie, part science fiction, part real, it’s a film about seeing our world through alien eyes.
Critical Reception:

"Glazer has always been longer on atmosphere and uncanny moods than on narrative, but the fatal flaw of “Under the Skin” isn’t that not much happens; it’s that what does happen isn’t all that interesting." Scott Foundas (Variety)
"Glazer’s astonishing film takes you to a place where the everyday becomes suddenly strange, and fear and seduction become one and the same. You stare at the screen, at once entranced and terrified, and step forward into the slick. " Robbie Collin (The Telegraph)
"Far and away the best picture in the competition so far: a story that plays as a kind of malarial dream, bathed in cold sweat and seeing hallucinations in every corner." Xan Brooks (The Guardian)
"Johansson's performance is strong and careful, but just falls short of transcendent. And for this film to really nail all of its conceptual cues, she really needed to be out of this world." David Jenkins (Little White Lies)
"Johannson turns out to be perfectly cast, being able to shift from blank alien mode to kittenish seduction without ever letting you see the switch being turned on or off." Chris Willman (The Playlist)
"Glazer certainly has managed to make one of the most outlandish portraits of alienation in recent memory. "Under the Skin," no matter its faults, certainly will get under yours." Eric Kohn (Criticwire)
"An original piece of cinema that is gorgeous, mesmerizing, heartbreaking, frustrating and pretentious all at the same time. It has some of the most haunting images of the year and features the bravest performance of Scarlett Johansson's career." Gregory Ellwood (In Contention)
"Carrying the film, Johansson is eerily superb, her neutral British accent and easy flirtatiousness - she's most certainly not an obvious sex siren - are totally believable" John Bleasdale (Cine-vue)
"It’s an intoxicating marvel, strange and sublime: it combines sci-fi ideas, gloriously unusual special effects and a sharp atmosphere of horror with the everyday mundanity of a woman driving about rainy Scotland in a battered transit van." Dave Calhoun (TimeOut London)
Out of Competition
뫼비우스 (Moebius)
directed by Kim Ki-duk
South Korea, 90'

Synopsis:
Consumed with hatred against her husband for his long time infidelity, the wife wants to take revenge against him but ends up inflicting a fatal wound to the son, and then disappears overwhelmed with guilt. For the son, who has become miserable because of him, the father tries, only to realize that it is not recoverable, so he cuts off his manhood which is the source of all this misery and dedicates himself entirely to his son. As a result, the wound somewhat heals, but when the wife returns home one day the family is driven towards a more horrific destruction.
Critical Reception:

"Devoid of dialog and drenched with unflinching depictions of sexual violence, channeled through gritty sequences filmed on handheld cameras -- Moebius is, even in the context of the maverick South Korean cineaste’s oeuvre, a challenge to sit through." Clarence Tsui (The Hollywood Reporter)
"Kim’s latest ups the ante with arguably his most twisted nuclear family yet, a lust-and-guilt-ridden menage a quatre." Leslie Felperin (Variety)
"Having decided to do away with dialogues, he directs his actors in the best tradition of silent movies, excessive expressions, unsubtle body language to prevent any misunderstandings and the camera always underlining them that much farther." Dan Fainaru (Screen Daily)
Screening tomorrow (Wednesday, September 4):
  • The Unknown Known by Errol Morris (In Competition)
  • l'Intrepido by Gianni Amelio (In Competition)
  • Une Promesse by Patrice Leconte (Out of Competition)

See our other #Venice2013 coverage:

10 comments:

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yey, so glad to see several raving reviews for UtS. I just wish the film was more faithful to the novel.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I've ordered Under the Skin by Michel Faber from the library, so that's a start...

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I haven't read it yet. I'll have to do that before I see it.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Think I'll do the same.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Forgive me if I misunderstood here, because I think I'm wrong, but is Ana Arabia filmed ENTIRELY in one shot? As in somehow, magically an entire movie was shot in 84 minutes? I feel stupid just asking it.

Moebius caught my attention. It sounds.. terrible enough for me to watch.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

You're not wrong. but I'm afraid there's no magic, just digital cameras.

And yeah Moebius sounds exactly so.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I love Jonathan Glazer's work though I had mixed opinions on "Birth" which I hope to revisit soon. Hearing about "Under the Skin" excites me and to see that Scarlett Johansson is finally going to prove her doubters after a period of uneven work since "Lost in Translation"/"Girl with a Pearl Earring" that she is an actress. I just hope it's a step into more darker and serious roles as I'm still working on a project that I'm writing just for her as part of a thematic trilogy.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I agree it would be great to see her in more roles like this. I'm intrigued by your trilogy idea. How far along are you?

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Right now, I'm half-way done on the outline for the first part. I've gotten a 1/3 of the outline for the third part written but I'm still unsure about the second part. All three stories center around American women living in different continents of the world. The first part is in Austria. The second part is in South America, and the third in Tokyo. It's still a work in progress.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

That sounds really cool. You should check out MUSEUM HOURS by Jem Cohen. About a Canadian woman in Austria.

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