30 July 2010

Gallo, Ozon, Reichardt, Schnabel, Hellman, Kechiche, Coppola, etc, Screening at Venice

The complete line-up of the 67th Venice Film Festival was announced yesterday, with twenty-two films competing for the the Golden Lion, the festival's highest honor which was awarded to Samuel Maoz's Lebanon last year. Not paying attention to films in production has its benefits; quite a few of the filmmakers presenting their works this year came as a pleasant surprise. Among those surprises: Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff which re-teams the director with her Wendy & Lucy star Michelle Williams; a brand new film written, directed, starring, composed and edited (naturally) by Vincent Gallo called Promises Written in Water; Pablo Larraín's follow-up to Tony Manero, Post mortem; Abdellatif Kechiche's Vénus noire [Black Venus], his first film since La graine et le mulet [The Secret of the Grain] which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2007 fest; Tran Anh Hung's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood; and Road to Nowhere, the first feature-length film from Monte Hellman in twenty-one years (following, uh, Silent Night, Deadly Night 3) which stars two former "It" girls Shannyn Sossamon and Dominique Swain. Gallo will also be presenting a short entitled The Agent as part of the Horizons sidebar, which–like Promises–stars Sylvester Stallone's son Sage. Other high profile filmmakers in competition: Sofia Coppola with Somewhere; Julian Schnabel with Miral; François Ozon with Potiche; Tom Tykwer with Drei [Three]; Tsui Hark with Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame; Takashi Miike with 13 Assassins; Darren Aronofsky with Black Swan; and Álex de la Iglesia with Balada triste de trompeta [A Sad Trumpet Ballad]. Four Italian films will be screening in competition, and unfortunately the national titles have proven to be the weakest entries in recent history. The sore thumb of the lot appears to be Barney's Version, whose fine cast feels overshadowed by the fact that the last film outing from the director, Richard J. Lewis, was a direct-to-video sequel to the buddy-cop-and-dog classic K-9 (starring, uh, Jim Belushi). Tran Anh Hung and Darren Aronofsky are the only past Golden Lion winners in competition, for Cyclo in 1995 and The Wrestler in 2008 respectively. The competition line-up can be found below. The festival runs from 1-11 September.

- 13 Assassins, d. Takashi Miike, Japan
- Attenberg, d. Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece, w. Yorgos Lanthimos
- Balada triste de trompeta [A Sad Trumpet Ballad], d. Álex de la Iglesia (Dance with the Devil), Spain/France, w. Carmen Maura, Fernando Guillén Cuervo, Antonio de la Torre
- Barney's Version, d. Richard J. Lewis, Canada/Italy, w. Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, Minnie Driver
- Black Swan, d. Darren Aronofsky, USA, w. Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Bruce Greenwood, Scott Speedman
- Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame, d. Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China), China/Hong Kong, w. Andy Lau, Carina Lau, Li Bingbing, Tony Leung Ka-Fai
- Drei [Three], d. Tom Tykwer, Germany, w. Devid Striesow
- Happy Few, d. Antony Cordier (Douches froides), France, w. Marina Foïs, Élodie Bouchez, Roschdy Zem, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Jean-François Stévenin
- Meek's Cutoff, d. Kelly Reichardt, USA, w. Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson
- Miral, d. Julian Schnabel, France/Israel/UK/Italy/USA, w. Hiam Abbass, Freida Pinto, Willem Dafoe, Vanessa Redgrave, Alexander Siddig, Stella Schnabel
- Noi credevamo, d. Mario Martone (L'odore del sengue), Italy/France, w. Luigi Lo Cascio, Toni Servillo
- Norwegian Wood, d. Tran Anh Hung, Japan, w. Rinko Kikuchi
- La passione, d. Carlo Mazzacurati (La lingua del santo), Italy, w. Stefania Sandrelli
- La pecora nera, d. Ascanio Celestini, Italy, w. Maya Sansa
- Post mortem, d. Pablo Larraín, Chile/Mexico/Germany
- Potiche, d. François Ozon, France/Belgium, w. Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini, Karin Viard, Judith Godrèche, Jérémie Renier
- Promises Written in Water, d. Vincent Gallo, USA, w. Gallo
- Road to Nowhere, d. Monte Hellman (Two-Lane Blacktop), USA, w. Shannyn Sossamon, Dominique Swain, John Diehl, Fabio Testi
- Silent Souls, d. Aleksei Fedorchenko (First on the Moon), Russia
- La solitudine dei numeri primi [The Solitude of Prime Numbers], d. Saverio Costanzo (In Memory of Me), Italy/France/Germany, w. Filippo Timi, Isabella Rossellini
- Somewhere, d. Sofia Coppola, USA, w. Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, Benicio del Toro, Michelle Monaghan, Benicio Del Toro
- Vénus noire [Black Venus], d. Abdellatif Kechiche, France/Italy/Belgium, w. Olivier Gourmet

Out of competition, you'll find directorial efforts from both the Affleck brothers. The elder will follow his well-received (but, still, not that good) Gone Baby Gone with The Town, a crime thriller about a Boston-area gang of thieves. Casey's directorial debut is I'm Still Here, a documentary that received a lot of press last year which follows Joaquin Phoenix's retirement from acting to pursue a career as a rapper. In addition to 13 Assassins, Takashi Miike's Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City will premiere, likely as part of the festival's midnight screenings, which will open with Robert Rodriguez's star-and-"star"-studded Machete. Julie Taymor's return to Shakespeare, The Tempest, will close this portion. Below you'll find a selection of the films playing out of competition.

- 1960, d. Gabriele Salvatores (I'm Not Scared), Italy
- The Child's Eye 3D, d. Oxide Pang, Danny Pang, Hong Kong/China
- I'm Still Here, d. Casey Affleck, USA, w. Joaquin Phoenix
- The Last Movie, d. Dennis Hopper, USA, w. Hopper, Tomas Milian, Samuel Fuller, Sylvia Miles, Peter Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Henry Jaglom, John Phillip Law, Michelle Phillips, Dean Stockwell, Russ Tamblyn, Toni Basil
- Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, d. Andrew Lau, Hong Kong/China, w. Donnie Yen, Shu Qi
- A Letter to Elia, d. Martin Scorsese, Kent Jones, USA
- Lope, d. Andrucha Waddington (House of Sand), Spain/Brazil, w. Leonor Watling, Pilar López de Ayala, Sonia Braga, Luis Tosar
- Machete, d. Robert Rodriguez, USA, w. Danny Trejo, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Steven Seagal, Don Johnson, Rose McGowan, Tom Savini
- Passione, d. John Turturro, Italy
- Přežít svůj život [Surviving Life], d. Jan Švankmajer, Czech Republic/Slovakia
- Raavanan, d. Mani Ratnam, India, w. Aishwarya Rai
- Reign of Assassins, d. John Woo, Su Chao-Bin, China/Hong Kong/Taiwan, w. Michelle Yeoh, Kelly Lin
- Shock Labyrinth 3D, d. Takashi Shimizu (Ju-on), Japan
- Showtime, d. Stanley Kwan (Lan yu), China, w. Carina Lau, Tony Leung Ka-Fai
- Sorelle mai, d. Marco Bellocchio, Italy
- The Tempest, d. Julie Taymor, USA, w. Helen Mirren, Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, David Strathairn, Chris Cooper, Alfred Molina, Alan Cumming, Ben Whishaw
- That Girl in Yellow Boots, d. Anurag Kashyap (Dev.D), India
- The Town, d. Ben Affleck, USA, w. Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively
- Vallanzasca - Gli angeli del male, d. Michele Placido (Romanzo criminale), Italy/France, w. Kim Rossi Stuart, Filippo Timi, Moritz Bleibtreu, Paz Vega
- Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City, d. Takashi Miike, Japan

The Horizons portion of this year's selection will open with La belle endormie [Sleeping Beauty], another fairy tale adaptation from Catherine Breillat following last year's Barbe Bleue; like its predecessor, La belle endormie was produced by Arte Télévision and employs a cast of unknowns. Hong Sang-soo's Oki's Movie will close the section; Oki's Movie is Hong Sang-soo's second film to premiere in 2010 following Ha Ha Ha, which was awarded the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes in May. Not a whole lot of information was available about the rest of the films (some of them shorts), but I listed below the films from directors I knew. And following that is a selection of the films screening as part of the Venice Days, one of the festival's autonomous sidebars.


- The Agent, d. Vincent Gallo, USA, w. Sage Stallone, Gallo
- La belle endormie [Sleeping Beauty], d. Catherine Breillat, France
- Better Life, d. Isaac Julien, UK/China, w. Maggie Cheung
- Cold Fish, d. Sion Sono, Japan
- Guest, d. José Luis Guerin, Spain
- The Leopard, d. Isaac Julien, UK/Italy
- A Loft, d. Ken Jacobs, USA
- News from Nowhere, d. Paul Morrissey, USA
- Oki's Movie, d. Hong Sang-soo, South Korea
- Painéis de São Vicente de Fora, Visão Poética, d. Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal, w. Ricardo Trêpa
- Red Earth, d. Clara Law, Hong Kong/China

Venice Days

- L'amour buio, d. Antonio Capuano (Luna rossa), Italy, w. Valeria Golino
- Le bruit des glaçons [The Clink of Ice], d. Bertrand Blier (Beau-père), France, w. Jean Duhardin, Albert Dupontel
- Cirkus Columbia, d. Danis Tanović (No Man's Land), Bosnia & Herzegovina/France/UK/Slovenia/Germany/Belgium/Serbia, w. Miki Manojlović, Mira Furlan
- Hitler à Hollywood [Hitler in Hollywood], d. Frédéric Sojcher, w. Maria de Medeiros, Micheline Presle
- Incendies, d. Denis Villeneuve (Polytechnique), Canada/France, w. Lubna Azabal
- Noir océan, d. Marion Hänsel (The Quarry), w. Adrien Joliver
- La vida de los peces, d. Matías Bize (En la cama), Chile, w. Santiago Cabrera, Blanca Lewin

16 July 2010

New Films from Bruce LaBruce, Isild Le Besco and Christophe Honoré at Locarno Film Festival

The official line-up for the 63rd annual Locarno Film Festival was announced yesterday, including new films from Bruce LaBruce, Christophe Honoré, Isild Le Besco, Aaron Katz and Denis Côté screening in competition. Katz's Cold Weather, which IFC picked up for US distribution after its premiere at SXSW, is the lone American film competing for the Golden Leopard this year. French porn star François Sagat looks to be the unexpected star of competition line-up, appearing as the lead in both LaBruce's LA Zombie and Honoré's Homme au bain [Man in Bath], the latter co-starring Honoré's muse as of late, Chiara Mastroianni. LA Zombie, a porn-ier counterpart to LaBruce's earlier Otto; or Up with Dead People, screened in Berlin earlier this year and stars a handful of gay porn stars, as well as Tony Ward (who memorably played the object of desire in LaBruce's Hustler White in 1996), pin-up boy Trevor Wayne, rapper Deadlee and Project Runaway finalist Santino Rice (hello, St Louis). In addition to presenting Bas-fonds, her latest project as a director, actress Isild Le Besco can be seen in front of the camera in Benoît Jacquot's Au fond des bois [Deep in the Woods], which marks the sixth collaboration with Jacquot. Au fond des bois also stars Nahuel Pérez Biscayart of Alexis Dos Santos' Glue and will be the opening film in the Piazza Grande section.

Other films in the International Competition: Pia Marais' Im Alter von Ellen [At Ellen's Age], with Jeanne Balibar in the title role; Morgen, the feature debut of Marian Crişan, whose short Megatron won the Palme d'Or in the courts-métrages section at Cannes in 2008; Pietro, the latest from Italian director Daniele Gaglianone (I cento passi); and Curling, from Canadian director Denis Côté who won the Directing Prize at Locarno in 2008 for Elle veut le chaos [All That She Wants]. Elle veut le chaos is available to stream (in certain territories) on MUBI.

Also in the Piazza Grande section: the Duplass' brothers Cyrus, currently in theatres across the US right now; the second directorial outing from respected editor Valdís Óskarsdóttir (The Celebration, julien donkey-boy, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), entitled Kóngavegur [King's Road] which stars Daniel Brühl and Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson; L'avocat [The Counsel], from director Cédric Anger–who co-wrote Xavier Beauvois' Le petit lieutenant and Selon Matthieu and Werner Schroeter's Deux–starring Benoît Magimel, Gilbert Melki, Aïssa Maïga, Eric Caravaca and Barbet Schroeder; Quentin Dupieux's killer-tire film Rubber, which premiered during the Semaine de la Critique at Cannes this year; also from Cannes, Aktan Arym Kubat's The Light Thief, which played in the Quinzaine des Réalisatuers; and restored prints of Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be and Francesco Rosi's Uomini contro [Many Wars Ago].

In the Cinema of the Present portion: Memory Lane, the "feature" debut of Mikhaël Hers, whose previous three films (Montparnasse, Primrose Hill and Charell) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival over the past few eyars and all clock-in around an hour-long; Ivory Tower, from first-time director Adam Traynor which marks the acting debut of musician Peaches; and Norberto apenas tarde [Norberto's Deadline], the directorial debut of actor Daniel Hendler, best known as Argentinean filmmaker Daniel Burman's cinematic persona.

And Out of Competition, a number of shorts from notable directors will be playing:

- Get Out of the Car - Thom Anderson (Los Angeles Plays Itself)
- Hell Roaring Creek - Lucien Castaing-Taylor (Sweetgrass)
- Low Cost (Claude Jutra) - Lionel Baier (Garçon stupide)
- Avant les mots - Joachim Lafosse (Nue propriété)
- Return to the Dogs - Lodge Kerrigan (Clean, Shaven)
- Where the Boys Are - Betrand Bonello (Tiresia)
- Pig Iron - James Benning (RR)
- Les lignes ennemies - Denis Côté
- Rosalinda - Matías Piñeiro (Todos mienten)
- Chef d'oeuvre? - Luc Moullet (A Girl Is a Gun)
- Toujours moins - Luc Moullet
- O somma luce - Jean-Marie Straub
- Corneille-Brecht - Jean-Marie Straub
- Joachim Gatti - Jean-Marie Straub
- Europa, 27 Octobre - Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet

I don't know exactly how Kerrigan's Return to the Dogs relates to his experimental Grace Slick feature Rebecca H. (Return to the Dogs) which played in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in May. And finally, there will be a special retrospective of director Ernst Lubitsch at the festival this year, as well as a new, restored print of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's little-seen Ich will doch nur, daß ihr mich liebt [I Only Want You to Love Me], which was made for German television. The 63rd Festival del film Locarno runs from 4-14 August. The full list of films in competition is below:

- Bas-fonds, d. Isild Le Besco, France
- Beli, beli svet [White White World], d. Oleg Novković, Serbia/Sweden/Germany
- Beyond the Steppes, d. Vanja d'Alcantara, Belgium/Poland
- Cold Weather, d. Aaron Katz, USA
- Curling, d. Denis Côté, Canada
- Homme au bain [Man at Bath], d. Christophe Honoré, France
- Im Alter von Ellen [At Ellen's Age], d. Pia Marais, Germany
- Karamay, d. Xu Xin, China
- LA Zombie, d. Bruce LaBruce, Germany/Canada/USA
- Luz nas Trevas, a Volta do Bandido da Luz Vermelha, d. Helena Ignez, Ícaro Martins, Brazil
- Morgen, d. Marian Crişan, Romania/France/Hungary
- Periferic, d. Bogdan George Apetri, Romania/Austria
- La petite chambre, d. Stéphanie Chuat, Véronique Reymond
- Pietro, d. Daniele Gaglianone, Italy
- Saç, d. Tayfun Pirselimoğlu, Turkey/Greece
- Songs of Love and Hate, d. Katalin Gödrös, Switzerland
- Winter Vacation, d. Li Hongqi, China
- Womb, d. Benedek Fliegauf, Germany/Hungary/France