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Praising cinema art: 66th film festival kicks off in Venice

Published time: September 02, 2009 20:40
Edited time: January 22, 2011 14:53

One of the most prestigious film festivals has opened in Venice, and 24 movies have made it to the main show. Russian films will be screened within the “Horizons” program and the International Critics’ Week.

Russians in Venice

Russians are not new to the Venice Film Festival. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s "The Return" won two Golden Lion awards back in 2003. Nikita Mikhalkov received the main festival’s award for his "Urga" in 1991 and a special lion for "12" in 2007. Last year Aleksey German, Jr. was named best director for his "Paper Soldier".

This year, however, no Russian movies made it into the main competition’s lineup.

Nevertheless, German will still present his film in Venice together with Pyotr Buslov, Ivan Vyrypaev, Kirill Serebrennikov and Boris Khlebnikov. Their film-almanac “Crush” will be screened within the “Horizons” program.

Aleksandr Sokurov will also show his “Blockade Book” in the same program on September 9.

RT's Valeria Paikova caught up with the quintessential Russian filmmaker prior to the film's world premiere in Venice, to speak about some of the challenges that lie ahead.

On the list of the International Critics’ appears the directorial debut of Muscovite restaurant-keeper and producer Ilya Demichev, a film about officials’ lives titled “Crowfish Like.”

Russian filmmaker Sergey Bodrov, meanwhile, will be present in Venice not as a participant, but as a juror.

The lineup

Michael Moore’s documentary about financial crisis-related issues, "Capitalism: A Love Story,” will be the most anticipated American premiere.

Other films “Made in the USA” include Werner Herzog’s remake of Abel Ferrara’s "Bad Lieutenant," with Nicolas Cage in the leading role; “Life During Wartime” by Todd Solondz; “The Road” by John Hillcoat with Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron; “A Single Man,” a directorial debut from famous fashion designer Tom Ford; and the next zombie-horror by George Romero, the paradoxically named “Survival of the Dead.”

This year’s main program features a plenty of old-school Italians, including Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Baaria,” which opens the festival and stars Monica Bellucci, and Michele Placido’s “Big Dream.”

The third film to represent Italy is a thriller “Double Hour” (La Doppia Ora), a full-length debut from rather successful local clip-maker Giuseppe Capotondi, with the leading part played by Russian Ksenia Rappoport. The last Italian film in the main program is “White Space” (Lo Spazio Bianco) by Francesca Comencini.

France is represented by four movies in the main show: “White Material” by Claire Denis; “36 views from Saint Loup Peak” by Jacque Rivette; Patrice Chereau’s “Persecution,” featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg; and “Mr. Nobody” by Jaco Van Dormael.

The German Turk Fatih Akin brings his “Soul Kitchen,” The program also includes an Austrian film by Jessica Hausner, “Lourdes,” as well as entries from Israel and Egypt.

By the way, for the Venetian festival – which is known for its passion for new cinematography in general and for Asian cinema in particular – this time there are not so many movies from the East on the program. However, the closing film will still be Chinese. It is a fantastic melodrama, “Chengdu, I Love You” by Cui Jian and a director from Hong Kong, Fruit Chan. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Japan will also present films in the main program.

Out of competition

The out-of-competition program in Venice, as a rule, arouses no less interest than the main one. This year is not an exception: Steven Soderberg’s “The Informant”, with Matt Damon; “The Hole” by Joe Dante, “South of the Border” by Oliver Stone; Abel Ferrara’s documentary drama “Napoli Napoli Napoli”; “Green Days” by Hana Makhmalbaf, the daughter of celebrated Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf; and many others.


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