Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 1 - 69th Venice International Film Festival

La Mostra will open tonight and some of us are hoping to have a great "cinema festa" for a few days. As of today in the www finally the fest started to have some coverage as in the previous days had very little, suggesting a slight lack of interest in the festival. But as we can state today things changed.

Still I'm recalling why is not interesting to daily follow this festival. First, official site does not have updated information and to learn what is going on you have to be very creative. For example, already there have been three photocalls and there is nothing in the site. How do I know it? Well, thanks to those sites with paid photographs and celebrity gossip sites. Unbelievable.

Second, intended to follow the fest with all their mobile apps, to my surprise there are none for La Mostra! At least none created by Biennale organizers, as for the last two years if you had a phone you could download the iMiBAC Cinema Venezia app, that has basic fest info and yes, sells tickets online. The drawback is that app is available only for phone, no ipad app, unless you download the iphone app to the ipad and use the 2x button, but honestly is not worth it as app doesn't take advantage of all the features an ipad has.

But was able to find the Rai Movie Venezia site dedicated to the fest with today's videos and live streaming open to world; so know where to find more info. Now the fest has possibilities to entertain me and hopefully you too.

Here are my spontaneous reactions to the two opening ceremony events.

The Red Carpet

Watching live the red carpet at RaiMovie. There is man talking and talking about the fest but saying not much about people walking the red carpet (lol!). "La Madrina" Kasia Smutniak looking really elegant in a red dress. Isabella Ferrari, member of debut film jury, walked by as well French Bob Sinclair. Thinking that this red carpet looks and feels very European (more than Cannes at least). Ah! Beautiful Nadine Labaki with her Orizzonti jury colleagues. Laetitia Casta is here, soon the other international jury members will arrive and here they are. Gosh Ursula Meier looks tonight like Alba Rorhrwacher; for a few seconds, Pablo Trapero wife, Martina Gusman. Laetitia gets an interview with not-interesting questions (lol!), now Michael Mann in English with dumb questions but great answers as he loves the same Italian directors I do.

Kate Hudson and the press goes crazy! Naomi Watts signing autographs and stealing the show from Hudson (ha, ha). Naomi gets a fast question but Leiv quickly follows with more dumb questions with nicer answers. Kate gets her interview to tell a lot about her character. With no interview Mira Nair entered the Lido. It's over, next the opening ceremony.

Not that interesting but if you wish to see the red carpet, the video has been uploaded at RaiMovie Venezia.

The Opening Ceremony

Protocol opening with welcome and presentation of the jurors in the different juries, Debut Film, Orizzonti and Venezia 69. The first montage with Michael Mann films, gee have seen them all but hardly recall them. Brief speech by Michael Mann. They also invited Jahfar Parani and there is an empty chair among the jurors. Now what I'm waiting for the second montage. Nice clips especially from those movies that I haven't seen moving images just stills. But if I'm not mistaken there are two movie clips missing from the 18 in competition, not surprisingly one is Terrence Malick' film and not expected Brillante Mendoza's film.

Ceremony was brief not really interesting except for what I like to watch ceremonies for, the film clips.

These are the films that will be screened today in the Official Selection and collateral events.

Out of Competition

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mira Nair.

The opening film that obviously is must be seen for me because of the director, even when I know story will not be easy to watch; still believe that Nair's narrative and beautiful visual storytelling style could make film a bit easier to see. Press has already seen the film and if you're into reading reviews (I'm not) browse the net to find the reviews.

Watching the English RaiMovie interview video and is interesting what Mira Nair talks about the project, very glad no spoilers. Press conference video is mainly in English. Can confirm that Keifer Sutherland did not attend tonight's premiere nor any of the other events related to the film. Great answers by Mira Nair, worth-watching for the answers in the beginning, before asking specifically about film. Soft spoilers from Liev Schreiber when talking about his character. Excellent Mira Nair's answer when asked how she thinks film will be receive in USA. Yes, definitively film has a story that will not be easy to watch.

Haven't read the book but after the press conference I'm interested; still my love for cinema tells me that will read it only after I have seen the movie.

Enzo Avitabile Music Life by Jonathan Demme.

This documentary is about Avitabile music but also about Naples and Avitabile's birthplace Marianella. Not familiar with this Italian musician, but was curious enough to learn a bit about him and found a site with excerpts from his latest work, Black Tarantella. Very Interesting music and voice. If you wish to "meet" Avitabile go here.  Did not watch them but there are two videos, an interview and the press conference, at raiMovie that if you wish you can check.

Medici Con L'Africa by Carlo Mazzacurati. A documentary about two Italian priests that work with African health institutions

Collateral Events

Citta di Venezia Award
Six films compete for award. Today will screen three of the films. To read about the award go here, available only in Italian.

Son of Babylon by Mohamed Al-Daraji, Iran
Sur La Route du Paradis by Uda Benyamina, Morocco
Aujoud'hui by Alain Gomis, Senegal

The Not So Serious

Since yesterday "celebrity" sightings activity began and the most covered are Kasia Smutniak, who is the hostess of this year opening and closing ceremonies, but most American sites got started with Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts. If you wonder why they are in Venice, well both came because the opening film. Hudson is in film while Watts is not but her real-life husband Liev Schreiber is.

Quite nice Colin Firth photos start to appear and since I like them one will be at the bottom. Most of the celebrities that are already in Venice attended last night "intimate" dinner party where L'Uomo Vogue issue dedicated to the fest was presented. One of the hostess was none other than Livia Firth, so now we know why Colin was there.

So that is for today, tomorrow's post will be more about the movies. A domani.


Laetitia Casta, Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts in first photo. Nadine Labaki and Colin Firth below.


The following video is what the fest organizers produced as highlights from August 29.

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