Venice Film Festival includes Kristen Stewart in ‘Equals’ Idris Elba in …

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Irish co-production 11 Minutes among intriguing Venice line-up.

Twenty four hours after the Toronto International Film Festival offered up its first big programme announcement, the Venice Film Festival has unveiled its own line up.The Italy-set gathering announced a number of major titles from U.S. filmmakers, including Tom McCarthy’s Catholic church-scandal drama “Spotlight,” Cary Fukunaga’s child-soldier tale “Beasts of No Nation,” and Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger movie, “Black Mass.” All three will make their world premieres in Venice and then are expected to complete the trifecta, hitting Telluride, Colo., and Toronto on these shores.Kristen Stewart, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson are among the stars in movies coming to the world’s oldest major film festival.

That circuit is considered one path to awards attention, putting the films on media and tastemaker radars before they open commercially in the fall (or, in the case of “Beasts,” play in theaters and Netflix simultaneously in the fall). The international-minded event opens on Sept. 2 with Baltasar Kormakur’s “Everest,” which will screen out of competition, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke as the leaders of two doomed 1996 Everest expeditions.

Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and Jake Gyllenhaal are also slated for the film showcase, which takes over the Italian maritime city’s Lido island for 11 days in September. Having announced Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl as a “North American” premiere, TIFF alerted us that the awards contender might turn up in the Lido. Venice, which begins Sept. 2, is known as a kind of late-summer equivalent to Cannes and, as such, has many foreign titles on its slate; among the notables this year are Amos Gitai’s Yitzhak Rabin assassination picture “Rabin, The Last Day” and Gianfranco Pannone’s “The Smallest Army in the World,” a movie from and about the Vatican.

Luca Guadagnino’s “A Bigger Splash” (pictured), a psychological drama about a famous rock star and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts and Swinton) vacationing and recovering on the strange sun-drenched Italian island of Pantelleria, is among the promising titles in competition, as are Argentinian Pablo Trapero’s crimer “The Clan” and Gitai’s “Rabin, the Last Day,” a hot-button drama centering around the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. The star-laden survival picture, directed by Baltasar Kormakur, walks in some notable footsteps: It follows the openers “Birdman” in 2014 and “Gravity” in 2013, both of which ended up winning best Oscars for best director. There are also new films from Canada’s Atom Egoyan (Remember, a Nazi-hunting thriller starring Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau), Russia’s Aleksandr Sokurov (the Paris-set Francofonia) and Italy’s Marco Bellocchio (vampire-themed Blood of My Blood). Also in the competition, Duke Johnson and Oscar winner Charlie Kaufman’s animated film Anomalisa, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tom Noonan, is not for kids.

Also vying for the prize is “Francofonia,” in which Aleksandr Sokurov explores the Louvre Museum during the German occupation of Paris. (His award-winning “Russian Ark” in 2002 was filmed at the State Hermitage Museum in St. The film, about a man struggling with his inability to connect with other people, is Kaufman’s first feature since “Synecdoche, New York” (2008). Out-of-competition entries — which are not in the running for prizes — include Scott Cooper’s Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as Boston gangster Whitey Bulger, and Thomas McCarthy’s Spotlight, which features Michael Keaton as the editor of a Boston Globe team investigating clerical sex abuse. He cited its range, noting the presence of quintessential indie pics such as Laurie Anderson’s “extraordinary” full-length directorial debut “Heart of a Dog,” which is about loss; “Anomalisa,” the fest’s only animated title, which, he said, “is not for kids”; and “Equals,” the latest from “Like Crazy” helmer Drake Doremus, billed as a futuristic love story set in a world where emotions have been eradicated.

But there also more mainstream, big-buzz titles like “The Danish Girl,” in which Redmayne plays Lili Ebe, one of the earliest known recipients of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery; and Fukunaga’s “Beasts,” which stars Idris Elba as commander of a child soldiers’ guerrilla force in West Africa. The film is an Irish co-production, developed by Element Pictures in co-operation with the Irish Film Board and, following the fascinating Essential Killing in 2010, it marks the second collaboration between the great Polish film-maker and those bodies. Drake Doremus’ futurisitic love story Equals, starring Kristen Stewart, Jacki Weaver and Guy Pearce, will also compete for Venice’s Golden Lion award as will Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s thriller Rembember, starring Dean Norris and Christopher Plummer.

Other members are the Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, who won as best director for “The Assassin” at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival; the French writer Emmanuel Carrère; the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose “Winter Sleep” won the 2014 Palme d’Or at Cannes; the Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski, whose “Ida” won the 2014 Oscar for best foreign language film; the American actress and director Elizabeth Banks (“Pitch Perfect”); the German actress Diane Kruger and the British director and screenwriter Lynne Ramsay. Other films in competition include Chinese director Zhao Liang’s documentary Behemoth, Argentine director Pablo Trapero’s The Clan, and Australian director Sue Brooks’ Looking for Grace.

Martin Scorsese’s 16-minute short “The Audition,” starring Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Scorsese himself, is also unspooling, hopefully with Scorsese in tow. Shot at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios, Everest stars Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Robin Wright in the true-life story of climbers battling for their lives after a snow storm ravages the planet’s highest mountain. We’re betting on an appearance at Telluride where — unless our speculations are way off — it will play alongside the premiere of Lenny Abrahamson’s Room. Another hotly anticipated fall release in an out-of-competition spot, Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is about the true story of how the Boston Globe revealed a massive cover-up of the child molestation scandal within the local Catholic archdiocese.

Messina served as Paolo Sorrentino’s a.d. on “This Must Be the Place” and “The Great Beauty.” In a year when Asian entries in Venice are thin, after a strong presence in Cannes, the Lido closer is Guan Hu’s blockbuster comedy “Mr. Six,” starring Chinese hit-making director and sometime actor Feng Xiaogang as a former hooligan who must take back his son from young wannabe gangsters. Barbera noted that it was “very unusual” for Chinese distributors to show a picture so far ahead of its release, underscoring Venice’s growing allure as a launchpad for mainstream Asian fare. Venice’s cutting-edge Horizons section, which Barbera called “the other competition,” mixes esoteric entries with known names such as American actor Brady Corbet’s “The Childhood of a Leader,” toplining Robert Pattinson; Dito Montiel’s post-apocalyptic war thriller “Man Down,” starring Shia LaBeouf as former U.S.

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