Showing posts from September, 2021

Cecilia Mangini documentary at 78th Venice Film Festival

Moira Jean Sullivan Cecilia Mangini has been filming and photographing nearly her entire life and was the first female documentary filmmaker in Italy. In the documentary presented at Venice. In The World in Shots she collaborates with Paola Pisanelli who provides some movement to her stills and puts together her life with old passports, photographs, programs and artefacts from her spacious apartment in Rome. In fact, it is a living archive, with Cecilia telling us the background, her thoughts instead of a voice over after her death. She is in Iran at an Italian Retrospective of Documentary Film l in 2018, and that year she is also at Créteil Films De Femmes in a public meeting with festival director Jackie Buet. The filmmaker is in Vietnam, with photographs she intended to use for a film with her husband Lino Del Fra Lwhich Pisanelli animates with sound effects of gunfire. She is at art galleries looking at great works of art. There are clips from her films such as "To

The 78th Venice Film Festival Report 2

By Moira Jean Sullivan Three top awards went to women behind the camera at the 78th Venice Film Festival that ended Sept 11. The Golden Lion went to Audrey Diwan’s abortion drama “Happening” in what jury president Bong Joon Ho deemed a “unanimous decision". The film is about a student in provincial France, Anamaria Vartolome, who realizes she is pregnant during the countdown to her final examinations. The film comes at a time when abortion rights are being hotly debated in the US. After a 12 year absence from feature filmmaking Jane Campion does it again with a Silver Lion for The Power of the Dog at Venice based on a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. At the press conference with cast and Campion said that the “climate has changed” for female driven films. As for The Power of a Dog she remarked that she “doesn’t calculate in terms of gender but thought it was an amazing piece of literature”. Venice does not have the same criteria for films as Cannes that a film must first

Fauci - Movie Review

By Monica Sullivan In the 1980's AIDS hit San Francisco like a bomb.  You lost friends and relatives you thought would be part of your life forever.  In some ways I still think of them that way.  Some of the top writers in the city were lost to us forever.  We mostly focused on people in San Francisco in the war against AIDS, but there were other people fighting just as hard in the rest of the country.  One doctor, many miles away, was Anthony Fauci, whom I did not become really aware of until a tourist ship arrived in San Francisco in early 2020 with passengers who caught a new disease called Covid 19. Another epidemic had started in San Francisco.  Frantic people searched desperately for a vaccine and learned about the disease from Dr. Fauci, who was the voice of sanity in an insane time.  We got conflicting information from conflicting government agencies.  Yes, it was a terrible nightmare.  Many persisted in cooperating with Dr. Fauci's recommendations, but not everybody.

The Seer and the Unseen in Iceland

The Vikings spoke with the elves on arrival to Iceland according to the introduction to this documentary Seer and the Unseen by Sara Dosa . So does an Icelandic seer and Lorax – elf spokesperson - grandmother Ragnhildur “Ragga” Jónsdóttir. She has seen how they live, their homes and their restaurants and an Elf Church and there are other believers who have not seen but believe. While we don’t get to see the elves, some helped in the making of the film. We hear the testimony of Icelanders and breathtaking shots of the Icelandic peninsula. More than 50% of Icelandic citizens believe in the elves so the environmental movement is active and important in the preservation of lava rock, the homeland of the elves, and through seers they communicate about what parts of the land it is important to preserve. The film opens with footage of Icelandic volcanoes and it is the formation of lava rock that became the home of elves. The elves are part of Icelandic folklore and old Norse poems

The 78th Venice Film Festival Report 1

By Moira Jean Sullivan The 78th Venice Film Festival is being held 1-11 September with three main competitions – the Venice (Venezia) official Competition, Horizons (Orizzonti) or visionary film, and Lion of the Future (Luigi De Laurentiis) for a feature debut. President of the official competition jury is Bong Joon Ho for the official competition (South Korea). Jane Campion will debut her latest film The Power of the Dog and her first completed feature film in 12 years. The film is set in Montana in the 1920's and stars Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Benedict Cumberbatch. "The Power of the Dog" is an adaptation from a 1967 novel by Thomas Savage. Dunst plays a widow who moves to Montana with her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to be with her husband George (Jesse Plemons) on his family ranch. His brother (Cumberbatch) is not happy with his new in-laws. The film was meant to debut at Cannes but the festival has a policy to only screen films that will debut in theatres