By Larry Gleeson
by Jess Denham
Venice Film Festival opener La La Land will go head to head with new films from
Tom Ford, Denis Villeneuve and Derek Cianfrance as part of a 2016 line-up that also features two key performances from five-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams.
Fifty-six movies have been selected to premiere at the festival, including 20 in competition for the Golden Lion. Many of these, particularly those screening at the start of the prestigious event before heading to the Toronto and Telluride festivals happening at the same time, will go on to enjoy award season success.
The last two Best Picture Oscar winners, Spotlight and Birdman, both held their world premieres at Venice, as did special effects extravaganza Gravity in 2013 and last year’s Lili Elbe biopic The Danish Girl.
La La Land , the original musical, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling from Whiplash’s Damien Chazelle kickstarts proceedings while the much-hyped remake of John Sturges classic The Magnificent Seven, starring Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington, will bring the festival to a close. Mel Gibson makes his Venice debut out of competition with World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge.
Bond director Sam Mendes is president of this year’s jury, with the festival dedicated to late directors Michael Cimino and Abbas Kiarostami.
The Light Between Oceans
Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz lead this big screen adaptation of ML Stedman’s romantic novel helmed by The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance.
La La Land
Whiplash director, Damien Chapelle opens this year’s festival with this original musical starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as a couple of dreamers trying to make it big in Hollywood: she, a lonely aspiring actress; he, a cocky jazz pianist.
Pablo Larrain directs Oscar winner Natalie Portman as late first lady and fashion icon Jacqueline Kennedy in what he has promised will not be a “classic biopic”. Set in the days immediately after John F Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, the film sparked great excitement among distributers after a seven-minute promo screened at Cannes.
Oscars voters’ ears will have pricked up after hearing that Academy favorite Amy Adams takes the lead in this sci-fi flick from Sicario director, Denis Villeneuve, about mysterious aliens that arrive on Earth.
Designer Tom Ford has cinematic strings to his bow, as proved with 2009’s Venice premiere The Single Man. He’s back in the chair for this drama-thriller also starring Adams, this time as a divorcee whose troubled past returns to haunt her in the form of her ex’s unpublished book.
Voyage of Time
This mind-frazzling documentary about the universe, time and our existence has taken director Terrence Malick 30 years to make. It comes in two versions: one lasting 40-minutes and narrated by Brad Pitt on Imax, and the other a full-length film voiced by Cate Blanchett on 35mm.
The Venice Film Festival runs from 31 August to 10 September 2016.
(Source excerpt: www.independent.co.uk)