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Entries in Venice (36)


TIFF: Berlin and Venice Winners, "Taxi" and "Desde Allá"

Amir continues our coverage of TIFF '15 with reviews of this year's Golden Bear and Golden Lion winners.

The studio Celluloid Dreams recorded a remarkable success this year by winning the top prize at all of Europe’s big three festivals. The journey started in Berlin with the Golden Bear for Taxi, continued into Cannes with the Palme d'or for Dheepan (review) and ended just last week with Venice's Golden Lion for Venezuela’s Desde Allá. Jafar Panahi’s Taxi is the film that piqued my interest most, both as an Iranian, and as a fan of the auteur’s complex career, which I have followed in real time since his first film—a children’s movie—back in 1995.

Taxi is filmed digitally with incredibly modest means, borne of the director’s complicated situation with government authorities...

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Venice Film Festival Winners

Manuel here. It’s that time of year when it’s hard to keep track of festivals, juries, awards and red carpets. Thankfully, here at TFE we keep you covered on all of the above. While we wait for more reviews out of TIFF, Alfonso Cuarón’s Venice Film Festival jury (which as José singled out had striking fashionistas in its midst) handed out their awards.

From Afar first-time director, Lorenzo Vigas

The big news, if you’re an American Oscar pundit, is that Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl was shunned (gasp!) but if you’re an avid festival goer interested in finding plenty of foreign titles to add to your must-see list of films, the big news was that it was a great day for Latin American cinema with the Golden and Silver Lion going to films from my very own part of the world.

Oh, and Charlie Kaufman’s collaboration with Duke Johnson (the bonkers sounding Anomalisa) won the Grand Jury Prize. Check out the full list below. (Links take you to the Biennale's film descriptions)

Golden Lion: From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas

Silver Lion, Best Director: Pablo Trapero, The Clan

Grand Jury Prize: Anomalisa, dirs: Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson

Anomalisa is a stop-motion picture that was partially funded through Kickstarter

Volpi Cup, Best Actor: Fabrice Luchini, L’Hermine

Volpi Cup, Best Actress: Valeria Golino, Per Amor Vostro

Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Abraham Attah, Beasts Of No Nation

Netflix's film is off to a fine start with this festival bow

Best Screenplay: Christian Vincent, L’Hermine

Special Jury Prize: Frenzy, dir: Emin Alper

Vigas's debut (!) film is the first Latin American film to be awarded The Golden Lion. That it is also an LGBT May-December story just makes it all the more exciting. Overall, Cuarón and his jury (which also included Pawel Pawlikowski, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Diane Kruger, Lynne Ramsay, Francesco Munzi, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Elizabeth Banks) look like they made bold choices. Any of them spark your curiosity?


Red Carpet: A Couture Splash at Venice and Meh for TIFF

Diane Kruger wears L-R: Oscar de la Renta, BOSS, Cushnie et Ocs, Prada

Jose here with a very important question: can you imagine deigning to be the film that plays in a theater where Diane Kruger is dressed looking like she always does? Not only does she usually make a case for being the one human being worthy of Best Cinematography awards, she must also distract fellow audience members who can't resist but admire her, rather than see whatever's happening onscreen. The exquisite fashionista has once again been leaving her mark at the Venice Film Festival where she's also serving as a Jury member. First she dazzles in bold Oscar de la Renta, then she's "boss" in BOSS (hardy har-har) and is so confident in the beauty of her dress that she doesn't even bother doing her hair (hats off!), then she lets her hair down in a stunning Cushnie et Ocs jumpsuit, and she finishes off in regal Prada which she wore to the premiere of Everest. Can we now start a campaign to have her be in every Jury for every film festival ever? 

But Diane wasn't the only one giving fashiongasms in Venice! Another Jury member left me speechless. Find out who it is after the jump (and no, it's not Alfonso Cuarón...) 

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Emily Watson is nobody's mother (this time)

Here's Murtada on a favorite actress we'd like to see more of.

Watson at the press confrence

The paparazzi might have been more interested in jurors Diane Kruger and Elizabeth Banks. The trades were into what jury head Alfonso Cuaron had to say. Most of the press coverage had more pictures of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke. But on the first day of the Venice Film Festival we had our eyes for Everest star Emily Watson.

It was nice to see her smiling and looking good. As the only woman from the film making the press rounds - seems Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Debicki had other plans - naturally eyes gravitated towards her. This is a far cry from the frumpy mothers she has played recently in The Book Thief, Testament of Youth and especially The Theory of Everything. The latter was the nadir of that niche that was carved for her by casting directors. It was no more than a cameo and was hilariously lampooned by Nathaniel & company on the podcast. 

Watson was born same year as Nicole Kidman. She’s one year older than Naomi Watts, 2 years older than Cate Blanchett. Those actresses are still getting plum parts in major movies. It’s too soon for Watson to start competing with Julie Walters and Brenda Blethyn for parts. While she’s never been the glamorous star, her fantastic turns in Breaking the Waves, Hilary & Jackie and Gosford Park certainly make her the equal of the actresses mentioned. But perhaps the more apt comparison is with someone like Helena Bonham Carter - who coincidentally turned down Watson career-making role in Waves. Helena still manages a varied range of opportunities. (We acknowledge we might be blind to fantastic work Watson has done recently for TV in the UK.)

on the boat with her co-stars John Hawkes, Clarke and Brolin (courtesy of Brolin's instagram).

This is a long way of saying that we hope Everest is the beginning of a new exciting phase of Watson’s career. She plays the base camp co-ordinater who is the climbers' main contact to the world outside the mountain. The reviews have been mostly positive. Some singled out Watson as “heartrending’’, others expected more. We are just grateful she has more to do than be somebody’s mother.

What would you like to see Watson do next?


Beasts of No Nation Character Posters

Another day, another fall movie releases a poster. Murtada here with the details. 

Following the Beasts of No Nation trailer, the character posters for the African war drama have arrived. The trailer told us a lot about the film by introducing its two main characters - played by Idris Elba and newcomer Abraham Atta - and the hypnotic dynamic between them in one brief scene. The striking but simple posters continue the efficient storytelling and with just a few pictures and words tell us all we need to know. For now...


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Eddie Redmayne starts his Oscar Campaign

Here's Murtada on the first major magazine cover of the 2015 Awards Season.

Our current best actor winner is ready for his second straight nomination. Eddie Redmayne is starting his Oscar campaign for Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl more than 3 months before the movie’s release. This week he covers OUT magazine’s fall preview issue with a lengthy interview that touches on everything from where he keeps his Oscar, to his privileged upbringing, to playing transgender artist Lili Elbe.

Perhaps what people are most curious about is how he handles the potential minefield of his casting as a transgender woman. Elbe, who had sexual reassignment surgery in 1930s, was one of the first known transgender people to transition and a movie about her life has been in the making for more than a decade.

Redmayne and his handlers are obviously trying to get ahead of any potential controversy. Hence the careful choice of the publication to which he gives his first interview about the film, and the inclusion in the article of advocates from the trans community like Paris Lees and Lana Wachowski. Lees is quoted and says about Redmayne's casting “Politically, it makes me groan. But if anybody’s going to do this justice, then I’m happy it’s Eddie. We had a good chat about everything”.

The interview is a good read and he handles some of the thornier issues with deft and careful thought. He comes through as humble while acknowledging his luck and privilege. He recognizes how divisive his portrayal of Elbe might become.

People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open. Virtually all of the trans men and women I met would say ‘Ask me anything.’ They know that need for cisgender people to be educated. I felt like, I’m being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [an audience]. Gosh, it’s delicate. And complicated.”

As for the movie itself, the verdict will be out soon. It plays at both the Venice and Toronto film festivals in early September. Venice comes first and that will be our first indication whether or not that nomination is happening as we’ve seen many an Oscar campaign start at the Biennale.

In the last 10 years, 8 men and 3 women have won the Volpi Cup for English language performances, a big percentage. Of those performances David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck), Cate Blanchett (I’m Not There), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix (who won jointly for The Master) went on to land Oscar nominations. Michael Fassbender (Shame) came close but ultimately missed. However the only winner this decade at Venice who went on to win an Oscar is Helen Mirren (The Queen).

Are you looking forward to The Danish Girl? Do you think Redmayne is a good choice to play Elbe?


Elizabeth Banks' 2015 World Domination Tour Continues. Next Stop Venice

As previously noted, Team Experience won't be covering Venice Film Festival (no funds *sob* but I've wanted to go to Venice ever since I saw virginal Madonna singing on that gondola on MTV as an impressionable young lad) but we have planned a couple of Venice-related treats for you this year. And speaking of treats. The Venice juries were just announced and loaded with so many big names, you'd be hard pressed to guess which among them was the President of the Jury at first glance. But killing the suspense... the main jury's president is Alfonso Cuarón.


of The Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien fame

THE ELIZABETH BANKS WORLD DOMINATION TOUR (USA): Previous Tour Dates: Directing and Co-starring in Pitch Perfect 2; Best Reviews ever for Love & Mercy; Co-starring in Magic Mike XXL; Next Stops: Netflix Binge-watching Dominance with Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, Conquering Venice Red Carpet Coverage, and wrapping up a phenomenon with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2...

Lynne Ramsay and more after the jump...

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