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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Day 7 - 69th Venice International Film Festival


Not many interesting films today, but today we have the latest work by one of my most admired master filmmakers, Kim Ki-Duk.

Venezia 69

Pieta by Kim Ki-Duk

As many say: Kim Ki-Duk films are an acquired taste. Agree and yes, I have the taste. Most of his films are visually stunning but I think that maybe this one could be different as from what I seen film stays in urban settings. Still trailer shows a magnificent use of light and darkness. The synopsis.

Hired by moneylenders, a man lives as a loan shark brutally threatening people for paybacks. This man, without any family therefore with nothing to lose, continues his merciless way of life regardless of all the pain he has caused to a countless number of people. One day, a woman appears in front of him claiming to be his mother. He coldly rejects her at first, but gradually accepts her in his life. He decides to quit his cruel job and to live a decent life. Then suddenly the mother is kidnapped. Assuming that it would be by someone he had hurt in the past, he starts to track down all the people he had harassed. The man finally finds the one, only to discover most horrifying dark secrets better left unrevealed.

Puzzling story that tickles my interest as seems movie explores one of the devils of the capital society, money. Check the director's statement.

Money inevitably puts people to the test in a capitalist society, and the people today are obsessed with a fantasy that money can solve anything. Money is the problem for most of the incidents that occur today. In this film, two people who give and receive pain over money, unlikely to meet, comes across each other and become family. And through such family, we realize that we are accomplices to everything that occurs in our period. Money will ask sad questions until the people of this era die. Ultimately, we will end up becoming a money to each other and grind ourselves on an asphalt. I again cry out towards heaven with a meager faith today. God, have mercy on us.

First reviews mention that film is hard-to-watch for its violence but tend to be positive; surprising is to find that most already out reviews come from media agencies (!) which is not common at all. Good as there must be more people with the acquired taste than what I could imagine. Some Italian media see film as a strong contender for top award.

Linhas de Wellington by Valeria Sarmiento

A period film prepared by Raúl Ruiz and completed by his widow Valeria Sarmiento. Film has a truly amazing cast, but imagine that most will have more cameos than developed roles. Still take a look at the great cast with the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Vincent Pérez, Chiara Mastroianni, Michel Piccoli, Elsa Zylberstein, John Malkovich, Mathieu Amalric, Melvil Popupaud, Marisa Paredes and more. Impressive.

Take a good look at movie photo; yes they're together and talking to each other. How many times can we see Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert in the same scene? Not many, just for this scene movie is more than must be seen for me. The synopsis.

After the attempts of Junot and Soult, in 1807 and 1809, Napoleon Bonaparte sent a powerful army, commanded by Marshal Massena, to invade Portugal in 1810. The French easily reached the center of the country, where the Anglo-Portuguese army, led by General Wellington, was waiting for them...

Seems like a classic tale from a classic director, but definitively I'm curious to find out what his widow did with this film that also will become a TV miniseries. The director's statement

When Paulo Branco asked me to carry on the film about the Napoleonic wars that Raoul Ruiz had been preparing, it seemed an almost impossible task. Reading Carlos Saboga’s script, however, everything was a surprise: I discovered the exodus of the Portuguese people, the typical fate of the common people, the everyday life existing in a conflict, perspectives that allowed me to appropriate the story. The rest was to outline the actors, especially the female characters, who suffer so much during a conflict, and, above all, to feel the landscape following with the camera a paradoxical tactic of war: this contradictory pilgrimage which was the retreat to the “Lines of Wellington.”

So, indeed, film seems could be more Valeria Sarmiento vision than Ruiz, which is good news for me as sometimes Ruiz's films become "too soapy" for my eyes.

International Critics' Week

O Luna In Thailandia (A Month in Thailand) by Paul Negoescu

There is nothing surprising with me interested in a Romanian film, but what is surprising is that after learning about film, I'm still interested. Check the synopsis from fest official site.

Radu and Adina, a young couple of graduates, have just made love and are now ready for New Year’s Eve. She is profoundly in love with him and cannot wait to move to his place; instead, he has a few reservations on their relationship. While going shopping in a superstore, he bumps into (or thinks to bump into) his ex girlfriend Nadia, and his intolerance becomes palpable.

Very nice isn't it? But then found another synopsis.

During the New Year's Party, Radu realizes that he is not satisfied with his love life and decides to break up with his girlfriend. Soon after, he departs in a journey through several nightclubs of Bucharest in the search of his true love. But is the woman he's looking for really the woman he needs?

Awful isn't it? Well, this is a good example why you shouldn't learn too much about a film, as official trailer shows more the second synopsis than the first. But yes, will watch it as not only is screened at a section that in any festival screens "strange" movies but by the time I finally see film I will have forgotten everything about it. Sigh.

Collateral Events - Premio Lux Award

Io Sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet), Andrea Segre

One of the three films in competition for the 2012 Lux Award. If one Italian film I've been impatiently waiting to see is this one that during the 2011 festival circuit collected many honors. This is the best opportunity to share with you all some info about film. The synopsis.

Shun Li works in a textile factory in the outskirts of Rome, in order to get her papers and enable her eight-year-old son to come to Italy. She is suddenly transferred to Chioggia, a small city-island in the Veneto lagoon, to work as a bartender in a pub. Bepi, a Slavic fisherman, nicknamed "the Poet" by his friends, has been a regular at that little pub for years. The friendship between Shun Li and Bepi upsets both the Chinese and local communities, who interfere with this new journey, which they are perhaps simply too afraid of.

Very, very curious about film that I believe is the frontrunner for this year Lux award. What do I expect from film? A visual poem.

News

Gianni Amelio wins the 2012 Pietro Bianchi award given by the SNGCI.

Photo of the Day

Great looking Pierce Brosnan.

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