67th Venice International Film Festival

By Moira Sullivan
Robert Rodrigues, Jessica Alba, Danny Trejo - Machete

The 67th Venice International Film Festival ran from 1 -11 September. Sofia Coppola took home the highest award, the Golden Lion for her film Somewhere. It stars Stephen Dorff as an errant and popular film director Johnny Marco who spends his time on partying and women. When his13 year old girl Cleo played by Elle Fanning shows up he is forced to look as his life.  The film is set in a series of hotels, which Coppola said were common dwellings when she was on the road with her father Francis Ford Coppola. Family friend and director/actor Vincent Gallo didn't provide any pre-publicity for his new film Promises Written in Water, in the official competition along with Sofia’s film but it certainly fulfills this festival’s vision for innovative and genre breaking cinema. This new film stands out from the crowd for the official competition and is an achievement that lingers for a long time. It should encourage young filmmakers to do something different, not something that has been done again and again - with their cameras, dialogue, editing and sound. 

Vincent Gallo took home a best actor award however from another film: Essential Killing. 
The midnight film on opening day was Robert Rodriguez’ and Ethan Maniquis’ Machete. With a face that looks like he might have had too many close encounters with a sharp instrument, Danny Trejo plays Federale Machete, and courts the bad guys and the likes of Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez and Lindsay Lohan. This rock n' roll extravaganza spared no details in providing adrenaline-rushing entertainment. Highlights are the machine gun toting Lindsay Lohan dressed as a nun (playing the daughter of a drug dealer), the punchy ICE agent Sartana (Jessica Alba) and resistance fighter Luz, (Michelle Rodriguez). Danny Trejo, Robert Rodriquez and Jessica Alba were in town for the world premiere. John Woo said he was pleased to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Festival. When festival director Marco Mueller called him with the news he admitted to being shocked, but Mueller convinced him that his avantgarde style really fit at Venice.
At a panel discussion held on September 3, Woo was joined by the cast and crew of a film that he produced that opened at the festival: Reign of the Assassins, starring Michelle Yeoh. The film directed by Chao-Bin Su is the story of the origins of Kung Fu in China. Michelle Williams as Emily Tetherow is the middle ground behind Meek's Cutoff a film directed by Kelly Reichard in the official competition.  It is about three covered wagons with settlers trying to make it across the rough in Oregon, in what was later to be called "Meek’s Cutoff".

Numerous shots position the wagons and the bonneted women, and the landscape for a good part of the introduction to the film. But when Emily spots "The Cayuse" (Rod Rondeaux), a Native American, while gathering firewood the settlers go after him and tie him up. Emily Tetherow knows he can bring the settlers to safety.                                
Swedish actor/director Pernilla August presented her film Beyond at International Critics Week. The film is based on a novel by the Finnish author Susanna Alakoski.  The Swedish title is an expression used for housing areas in Ystad in Southern Sweden composed primarily of Finnish immigrants and referred to as "pigsties".
The story is about a Finnish couple whose relationship is troubled due to alcoholism. Finnish actors Ville Virtanen and Outi Mäenpää play the parents.Young Leena is played by (Tehilla Blad) who takes care of her younger brother Sakari (Junior Blad) The film critically looks at adult children of alcoholics with insights into how such a childhood leaves emotional wounds that take years to heal. Noomi Rapace and Tehilla Blad play the younger and older Leena and were both featured in the Millennium Trilogy based on the novels by the late Stieg Larsson. 
Next week more from the Venice Film Festival.
For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Venice

© 2010 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 09/05/10
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