Wednesday, August 17, 2016

73rd Venice Film Festival' showcases cutting edge films

By Moira Sullivan
Yolande Moreau, Judith Chemla, Jean-Pierre Daroussin - Une Vie

The 73rd Venice Film Festival will be held from Aug 31 through Sept 10, one of the oldest film festivals in the world that is a part of the famous art exhibition "La Biennale di Venezia".

The festival is renowned for its selection of international films with an artistic edge. Due to dwindling ticket sales this year the president of the festival Alberto Barbera has created a special screening venue of popular films. This puts a perplexing color on the festival that is known for cutting edge films with artistic content that general audiences seem to find difficult to navigate. They come to see the movie stars and get autographs but the prestigious festival has not been an event that the public supports financially and now they have the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, the usual sections remain with this side venue hoping to fill the festival coffers.

The OFFICIAL SELECTION, Venezia 73 is an international competition of feature films which enjoy their world premieres and have never been screened elsewhere. Parallel to this is the Orizzonti or Horizons international competition and it is these films in this section that portray new aesthetic and expressive trends in art cinema and give the festival its provocative character.

For the fourth year, part of the Orizzonti section is available online in the Sala Web theater. Eight films from this section and selections from Biennale College can be purchased through a limited showcase capped at 800 tickets, which go on sale August 27. The Biennale College provides microbudgets and workshops for film production to young emerging filmmakers.

The other sections of the festival include out of competition films and Venice Classics

A selection of restored classic films and documentaries this year includes Woody Allen’s "Annie Hall". Allen remains the belle of the European film festival circuit despite being taken to task by Susan Sarandon at Cannes this year in May for marrying his adopted daughter that he raised from a child with Mia Farrow.

The festival also finances a special workshop entitled to support the post-production of films from Africa and the Middle East, which is a current trend among first nation festivals.
There is also the International Critics’ Week with debut films by international directors and
Venice Days, an independent section promoted by the Italian Association of Filmmakers.

The titles in the official selection this year include :

UNE VIE ‐by STÉPHANE BRIZÉ (France/Belgium ) is an historical piece set in Normandy in 1819 that spans the life of Jeanne (Judith Chemla) between 18 and 45 who was educated in a convent and who marries Julien (Jean‐Pierre Darroussin), a local viscount who brings her only unhappiness. Brize’s ambition is to show the lives of over protected women in society that later cannot cope with the real world.

The fashionista Tom Ford presents "NOCTURNAL ANIMALS USA" --A two-part film about a manuscript a woman receives from her ex-husband of twenty years and his misadventures on a holiday, played by Jake Gyllenhaal

DAMIEN CHAZELLE’s film "LA LA LAND" from the USA is a tribute to American musicals starring Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a budding jazz musician.

DEREK CIANFRANCE’s  "THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS" a USA Australia New Zealand coproduction is set in Australia during World War 1 starring the real life and on screen couple (Michael Fassbender playing a lighthouse watchman and his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander) who after a failure at childbirth discover a baby washed ashore.

Cannibalism continues to be a provocative theme in new films today such as Nicolas Winding Refn’s "Neon Demon" in the official selection at the Cannes festival in May. ANA LILY AMIRPOUR  - "THE BAD BATCH USA"- about a community concerns a community of Texas cannibals in post-apocalyptic world starring Diego Luna, Jim Carrey, Jason Momoa, Suki Waterhouse and Keanu Reeve, who had a bit part in Neon Demon. Amirpour previously made "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night " (2014) about a vampire girl in an Iranian city.

Also of notice is a special film presented in collaboration with Venice Days, a documentary by Enrico Caria The Man Who Didn't Change History, based on the diaries of archaeologist and art historian Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, with images from the archive of Istituto Luce ‐ Cinecittà.Bandinelli serves as a guide for Hitler and Mussolini on the Fuhrers visit to Italy who wanted to help organize the two dictator’s assassination. Caria’s reconstruction of the incident is particularly relevant today, according to festival president Alberto Barbera.

© 2016 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 08/17/17
Movie Magazine International

New Bourne with old female tropes

By Moira Sullivan

I have followed the Bourne franchise for the first three installments and even when Mat Damon was replaced by Jeremy Renner for the last installment. Now that Jason Bourne it is out, it would have been better if it HAD been Aaron Cross and not Jason Bourne continuing in the story arc. What Paul Greengrass , director of the second and third Bourne’s, has done to revive the franchise leaves it just a little warmer than stillborn. In trying to stay current it doesn’t work to create new blood out of cardboard characters and plot design.

Mat Damon is back and is the executive producer of Jason Bourne. There are many disappointments in the latest version. There is a still a creepy old guy at the helm (Tommy Lee Jones as CIA director Robert Dewey, looking very decrepit indeed) and a young woman on the inside of the CIA that will try to help Bourne or get co-opted by Bourne or Bourne will fall in love with-  though not in this film. Tge disappointing aspect of Jason Bourne is that Alicia Vikander brandishing a remarkably plastic name - Heather Lee, quickly moves up the chain of command and could have had a great role in a role that is not great. Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) abundantly outsmarts her. Lee represents today’s gutsy soul snatching Millenial, a CIA cyber head who went to Silicon Valley think take Stanford with budding leadership entrepreneurs. In a plot maneuver a little like Harvard alumni Rosamund Pike as M16 double agent Miranda Frost and South Korean Colonel Moon played by Will Yun Lee in Die Another Day, Lee went to school with the visionary Millenial - Aaron Kalloor (Riz Ahmed),  a guru for a social media enterprise that is compromised by his early involvement with the CIA. Aaron Kalloor sporting tennis shoes announces there will be no invasion of privacy with his site 'Deep Dream' to a jubilant primarily Millenial audience.  

Vikander who is only seven years younger than Julia Stiles gets to stay longer on screen than Nicky Parsons. Lee is an empty sign in an exchange system between men --her stereotype shifts from arrogant know-it-all, patsy and yes man to victim and manipulator. Her meaning changes within a communication system among men –from the Director of National Intelligence Edwin Russel (Scott Shepard) to CIA director Robert Dewey to operative Jason Bourne and back to the Director of National Intelligence.

Bourne resurfaces through intelligence operative Julia Stiles as Nicky Parsons who is still out there in hiding like him. She finds information on the black ops he has been a part of and contacts him at great risk in a surveillance world where cameras are everywhere. Someone is still out there that killed Bourne's father referred to as the Asset (Vincent Cassel) The incident shown in flashback not just once but twice in case we need our memory prodded. The film’s journey begins in Iceland with Cyber hacker activists and continues to Syntagma Square with protesting Greeks, to Berlin with cloak and dagger plain clothes secret police, and finally to Las Vegas with more of the same in suits with head wires. In the Nevada tinsel town, an expensive and unimpressive car chase finale with invasive screeching tires, gunned gear stripping motors, twisted metal and burning rubber fail to launch Jason Bourne from its predictable plot twists.

The worst message of the film is that although the old guard of surveillance run by Robert Dewey is fashionably out of style, cyber brat Heather Lee in a new Millenial leadership is out to bring in all her own people, young people, to the CIA, people like Aaron Kalloor. Both schools seem equally inept—the old school that assassinates asset threats and the new school that tries to use assets in hiding like Bourne and if they can’t, kill them.

Surveillance and invasion of privacy is the subject of the film whether it be black ops ,white ops, assets, rouge operatives, or malevolent or maverick intelligence officers. Facebook subscribers continue to supply intelligence organizations with phone numbers, addresses, likes and dislikes, check ins, photographs, interests and background information. The premise of this Bourne pits the existence of cooperative intelligence against secret government black ops and the Deep (Dark)

Web in a nonsensical thriller. The new guard headed by Heather Lee will hopefully bring clarity to the questions raised in Jason Bourne, if Lee is allowed to do anything as a woman in command.

© 2016 - Moira - Air Date: 08/17/16
Movie Magazine International