Thursday, August 26, 2010

Raavanan at The 67th Edition of The Venice Film Festival

Barney’s Version, the movie based on Mordecai Richler’s acclaimed novel, is among the high-profile titles making their world debuts at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Organizers of the venerable Italian festival unveiled the lineup for the 67th edition Thursday, with director Marco Mueller touting this year’s coup of 79 world premieres.

Canadian-Italian co-production Barney’s Version — directed by Richard Lewis, produced by Robert Lantos and starring Paul Giamatti — is among the 22 films that will compete for the festival’s highest honour, the coveted Golden Lion.

The film then makes its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Following Tuesday’s TIFF announcement in Toronto, Lantos told CBC News that because the Canadian festival’s opening night takes place on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, he chose not to premiere the film on that date.

Although Richler is undoubtedly a CanLit icon, Lantos has often acknowledged how much Barney’s Version is revered in Italy as well.

“The book is so celebrated in Italy and has so many champions that it has become an integral part of Italian popular culture,” Lantos said while filming in Rome last fall.

Golden Lion competitors

Another film vying for the prestigious prize will be Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, a U.S.-made thriller set in the ballet world and starring Natalie Portman. Black Swan had previously been announced as Venice’s opening night selection.

Also screening in competition are:

* La Pecora Nera, (Black Sheep), by Ascanio Celestini (Italy).
* Somewhere, by Sofia Coppola (United States).
* Happy Few, by Antony Cordier (France).
* La Solitudine Dei Numeri Primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers), by Saverio Costanzo (Italy).
* Ovsyanki (Silent Souls), by Aleksei Fedorchenko (Russia).
* Promises Written in Water, by Vincent Gallo (United States).
* Road to Nowhere, by Monte Hellman (United States).
* Balada Triste de Trompeta (A Sad Trumpet Ballad), by Alex de la Iglesia (Spain).
* Venus Noire (Black Venus), by Abdellatif Kechiche (France).
* Post Mortem, by Pablo Larrain (Chile).
* Noi Credevamo (We Believed), by Mario Martone (Italy).
* La Passione (The Passion), by Carlo Mazzacurati (Italy).
* Jusan-nin no shikaku (13 Assassins), by Takashi Miike (Japan).
* Potiche, by François Ozon (France).
* Meek’s Cutoff, by Kelly Reichardt (United States).
* Miral, by Julian Schnabel (United States).
* Noruwei no mori (Norwegian Wood), by Anh Hung Tran (Japan).
* Attenberg, by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece).
* Di Renjie zhi Tongtian diguo (Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame), by Tsui Hark (China).
* Drei (Three), by Tom Tykwer (Germany).

American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino will head the competition jury that decides the main prizewinners on the festival’s final night.

He will be joined by Mexican novelist and filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga, Lithuanian actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite, French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin, U.S. composer Danny Elfman and Italian filmmakers Luca Guadagnino and Gabriele Salvatores.
Out of competition screenings

The Affleck brothers, Ben and Casey, are among the many filmmakers screening new works out of competition at Venice, the crime drama The Town and the Joaquin Phoenix documentary I’m Still Here, respectively.

Also set to unspool at Venice are:

* A Letter to Elia, Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones’s documentary on director Elia Kazan.
* Infernal Affairs director Andrew Lau’s star-studded martial arts epic Jingwu Fengyun — Chen Zhen (Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen).
* Robert Rodriguez’s action thriller Machete, starring Danny Trejo and Robert De Niro.
* Both the Tamil and Hindi versions of Mani Ratnam’s drama Raavanan/Raavan, starring Tamil actor Vikram and Bollywood queen Aishwarya Rai.
* Passione, John Turturro’s documentary on Neapolitan song.
*Martial arts tale Jianyu (Reign of Assassins), produced by Chinese film legend John Woo.

Venice organizers have also unveiled the full lineup for the Orizzonti sidebar, a program of nearly 70 full-length films, documentaries and shorts comprising experimental productions and those that explore new filmmaking trends.

Controversial French filmmaker and writer Catherine Breillat’s La belle endormie opens the Orizzonti program, which also has four new prizes this year, including awards for full-length film, a special jury prize and for short- and medium-length films.

Other festival highlights will include:

* A tribute to the late Dennis Hopper in the form of screenings of his 1971 film The Last Movie.
* A retrospective devoted to Italian comedies.
* The presentation of a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Chinese filmmaker John Woo.
* A tribute to iconic Italian actor and director Vittorio Gassman on the 10th anniversary of his death.

Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, screening out of competition as the closing-night film and starring Helen Mirren as Prospera, will close the festival.

The Venice Film Festival runs Sept. 1 to 11.


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