Saturday, August 09, 2014

2014 Cinema Biennale Check #7 - Directors Born Elsewhere

There are some directors in Venezia 71 competition that were born in one country but are working in another country with films that do not have any money from their country of birth. One is in my opinion a very accomplished documentary filmmaker that last year rose to international fame, the second is a well-known director and the third is better-known for his mainstream movies.

Joshua Oppenheimer

Born in September, 1974 in Austin, Texas. Studied filmmaking at Harvard and University of the Arts London. Oppenheimer was born in USA but he lives and works in Europe, mainly London and Denmark. He has done short and documentaries but was his multiple award winner first feature-length documentary The Act of Killing that introduced him to world audiences.

His second feature-length documentary, The Look of Silence is another take into the Indonesian genocide this time told by a family that survived and dare to confront the men who killed one of the family members. It is the only documentary in competition for the Golden Lion.

The Act of Killing was extremely hard to watch but you're so mesmerized that you're unable to stop watching;  Oppenheimer mentioned in some interviews that The Look of Silence has different style, but I believe that no matter the style film will be also hard to watch, will capture your undivided attention and wont release you until well after you finish watching.  Yes I will watch but know that have to be in a very good mood to withstand what I am going to see.

Basic info about The Look of Silence
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Language: Indonesian and Javanese
Length: 102 mins
Production countries: Denmark, Indonesia, Norway, Finland and UK
Production company: Final Cut for Real, Making Movies, Piraya Film, Spring Films, Anonymous

The film follows a young optometrist as he attempts to bring the past into focus. The family discovers how their son was murdered during the Indonesian genocide -- as well as the identity of the men who murdered him. The film documents the confrontation in the absence of any truth and reconciliation process, while the murderers remain in power.

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu

Born in Mexico City on August 1963. After studying and working in many activities far away from filmmaking, is in the nineties that he created Zeta Films where he did TV advertising and pilots. In 1996 he meets Guillermo Arriaga and everything changes as in 2000 their first collaboration, Amores Perros, becomes a critical and commercial success. After his huge success he is propelled to Hollywood where he does films that try to travel the fine line of both commercial and non-mainstream-arty odd avenue as his films usually travel the festival circuit, do ok at the box office (US Lifetime Gross Total at BoxOffice Mojo: US$61 million; Worldwide US$241 million) but on a qualitative level seems impresses less and less audiences and critics.

He has been three times in Cannes and seems that is his third time in La Mostra, this time with Birdman that to my HUGE surprises is labeled as a Comedy! The only hope is film to have dark comedy and not regular American humor, sigh. From trailer some critics speculate calling situations "absurd", "surreal" which definitively are words not related to any of his previous films. I know that will see movie but definitively my expectations changed dramatically the minute I learned this movie is a comedy. Sigh.

Basic info about Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
Scriptwriter: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr. and Armando Bo
Language: English
Length: 119 min
Production countries: USA
Production company: Fox Searchlight Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Worldview Entertainment, New Regeny Pictures, M. Productions and Le Grisbi Productions
Starring: Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis,

Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) was Birdman, a crime-stopping superhero with a beak and a three-film franchise. Now, he's a washed up actor trying to get his career and life back together by opening his own play on Broadway. On the eve of it's opening, the play is close to falling apart and Riggan is forced to sign a younger, egotistical lead actor, whom he despises. What results over the next three days is strange, dark and downright hilarious, nearly costing Riggan his career, family and sanity in the process.

Andrew Niccol

Born on June 1964 in Paraparaumu, New Zealand. Began his career in London directing TV advertising but moved to Los Angeles where he started to write and his first script was for The Truman Show. He is a well known scriptwriter and director of films like Gattaca, S1m0ne, Lord of War, In Time and The Host.

It is the first time that one of his films premiers at a major film festival and can't deny that find it surprising but seems that Good Kill could be the first film that is not that much Sci-Fi which maybe makes film style a lot more interesting. I suppose film will be alright for entertainment purposes.

Basic info about Good Kill
Director: Andrew Niccol
Scriptwriter: Andrew Niccol
Language: English
Length: 104 min
Production countries: USA
Production company: Voltage Pictures, Dune Films, Sobini Films
Starring: Zoë Kravitz, Ethan Hawke, January Jones

A Las Vegas-based fighter pilot turned drone pilot fights the Taliban by remote control for 12 hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other 12. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he’s killing? Is he fighting a war without end? This story follows one soldier’s tale with epic implications.

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