Tag Archives: Golden Lion

Note from Roger – The Battle of Algiers

Before I get to Roger’s note, I have seen the film and, while it was released in 1967, the issues portrayed in the film are pertinent today. With a feel of direct cinema and cinema verite’, The Battle of Algiers is engaging and delivers a closeup view of terror, tactics and strategy. Highly recommended!

Dear Cinephiles,

50 years ago, Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo released one of the greatest movies ever made – THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. The film is a big-screen recreation of the bloody mid 1950s Algerian uprising against French rule. The film was shot on a low budget and used non-actors from Algiers. The fact that the point of view is from those colonized rattled the French government enough to ban the film. It went on to get three Oscar nominations including Best Director. The film is a masterpiece, and it has been restored in a gorgeous digital print. This film is so influential – and political thrillers filmed today borrow from Pontecorvo’s style.

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS is as urgent and immediate as it was 50 years ago. Below find a wonderful essay by Justin Chang from the LA Times on the film’s importance. It plays tonight at 5:00pm and tomorrow at 7:30pm at the Riviera Theatre. I will highly encourage you to see this landmark film.

See you at the movies!

Roger Durling

Get tickets here.


Once banned, ‘Battle of Algiers” smart, compassionate take on terror and rebellion resonates today
By Justin Chang – LA Times

For those who have seen “The Battle of Algiers,” Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterful 1966 panorama of political insurrection and urban anxiety, the title alone can summon forth indelible images of Algerian resistance. Three women sneak through the crowded casbah to plant bombs in public places. A revolutionary leader named Ali La Pointe (Brahim Haggiag) waits quietly in the darkness as he’s surrounded by police. A triumphant throng of men and women shout and cheer amid a rising cloud of smoke as their hard-fought dream of independence has finally come to pass.

Buried amid all these defining moments is a calm, pivotal scene in which a French military chief named Col. Mathieu (Jean Martin) trains his soldiers to root out members of Algeria’s National Liberation Front, cautioning them to be discriminating in their search. “Are they all our enemies? We know they’re not,” he says of the Algerian locals. “But a small minority holds sway by means of terror and violence. We must deal with this minority in order to isolate and destroy it.”

It is difficult to read those words in isolation, divorced from their political and cinematic context, and not hear a shivery echo of recent headlines. You may have heard someone express a similar sentiment when parsing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or differentiating between Muslims and Islamists. However chilling Mathieu’s sentiments may be, they may strike you as a model of sensitivity compared with Donald Trump’s infamous remarks about the Muslim world — or, for that matter, his son Donald Jr.’s recent comparison of the Syrian refugee population to a bowl of selectively tainted Skittles.

Closer to home, the notion of a dangerous sub-minority feels painfully relevant to the ongoing clashes between police officers and unarmed black men in America. The latest fatalities in El Cajon, Calif.; Tulsa, Okla.; and Charlotte, N.C., suggest that when it comes to this cycle of senseless violence, too many cops — however vehemently they might deny it — still view great swaths of the African American population as a criminal menace by default. (Reviewing Pontecorvo’s film in 1967, then-New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote, “One may sense a relation in what goes on in this picture to what has happened in the Negro ghettos of some of our American cities more recently.”)

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that there has perhaps never been a better time to experience or re-experience “The Battle of Algiers,” which is commemorating its 50th anniversary with a digital 4K restoration that will appear in select theaters on Oct. 7 courtesy of Rialto Pictures. Then again, as history is always at pains to remind us, there has never been an inappropriate moment for a picture that so completely collapses the distance between now and then.

The movie’s tremendous dramatic urgency and sociopolitical currency can be attributed, in no small part, to its still-electrifying alchemy of form and content. Mimicking the jagged, caught-on-the-fly syntax of a ’50s black-and-white newsreel even as it moves with the propulsive sweep of a thriller, the movie seems to be everywhere at once, the camera capturing pockets of anxiety and unease even in broad daylight.

A dangerous armed movement rises from the shadows, yet with an insistently human face. Soldiers bound up the steps of the casbah, their footfalls echoed by the up-and-down rattlings of Ennio Morricone’s score. The omniscience of the film’s perspective and the fluidity of the editing ease us into the narrative yet slowly divest us of our moral bearings. The film is not just a relentlessly gripping entertainment but also a cinematic Rorschach blot, a moral miasma that tosses our sympathies this way and that.

Feared, loathed and loved over the last half-century, “The Battle of Algiers” won the Golden Lion at the 1966 Venice Film Festival and was later nominated for three Academy Awards (director, original screenplay and foreign-language film). It was deemed so incendiary in France that it was banned there for five years, and even afterward it has remained a magnet for controversy, often derided as an apologia or a blueprint for terrorism, rather than a call for common understanding.

It’s worth recalling that the last time “The Battle of Algiers” showed theatrically here was in 2004, during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. A few months earlier, in 2003, the Pentagon hosted a private screening, advertised by a flier that touted the picture’s relevance: “How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically. To understand why, come to a rare showing of this film.”

Whatever viewers at the time might have learned about how a Western imperialist power should or should not deal with a rapidly mounting, many-sided insurgency, those lessons seem positively quaint in light of the geopolitical crisis that looms before us at present, following the rise of Islamic State and the subsequent deadly attacks in Europe and the U.S. What might have once seemed a far-flung, local concern has spread far beyond Iraq to consume what feels like the world entire. Meanwhile, on a very different yet simultaneous front, the struggle for black justice at home continues, and for some Americans, its roots and motivations — and the cycles of brutality and unrest that emerge in its wake — are no less difficult to grasp.

Who is safe? Who is innocent? Why must they riot? Where will the next attack occur? Was that shooting or bombing the work of a terrorist, or just an unhinged mind? (And in the end, does it matter?) “The Battle of Algiers” offers no reassuring answers to these questions, but to watch the film, with its startlingly evenhanded treatment of both sides, is to experience the sort of mature intelligence and tough-minded compassion that makes you long to believe hope is still possible.

The film’s greatness was hardly preordained. In his essay for the 2004 Criterion Collection DVD release, British film lecturer and critic Peter Matthews recalls how “The Battle of Algiers” was originally conceived along more Hollywood-friendly lines, complete with a journalist hero (set to be played by Paul Newman) who would serve as an entry point for Western audiences. Fortunately, heeding the influence of their country’s neorealist masters, Pontecorvo and screenwriter Franco Solinas refused to make the Algerians a secondary presence in their own story. As Matthews writes, the filmmakers “knew that every artistic decision is simultaneously an ethical one.”

If the perspective of “The Battle of Algiers” still feels radically diffuse, its aesthetic choices have been more readily absorbed into the mainstream. A war film shot with bristling handheld urgency — like, say, Paul Greengrass’ “Bloody Sunday” and “Green Zone,” or Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” — is no longer compared to documentaries or newsreels; hyperkinetic Steadicam is simply par for the course. The use of untrained performers (Martin was the sole professional actor cast in Pontecorvo’s film) is no longer a novelty, even if most American films still rely on big-name stars and strong, relatable protagonists to lure audiences toward difficult subject matter.

The spirit of Pontecorvo’s filmmaking can be felt even in pictures with markedly different stylistic DNA. Picking up where “The Battle of Algiers” left off, Kathryn Bigelow’s excellent post-9/11 thrillers address the ground-level pressures of dealing with an insurgency (“The Hurt Locker”) and the morality of torture (“Zero Dark Thirty”). Clint Eastwood’s World War II drama “Letters From Iwo Jima,” though done in a much more classical register, feels no less powerful in its willingness to penetrate the mind-set of a side that we typically perceive as the enemy.

Ken Loach, who has long cited Pontecorvo’s influence, made perhaps his most “Algiers”-like effort with 2006’s “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” which also chronicled the tensions that flare between the occupiers (the British) and the occupied (the Irish). When Loach received the Palme d’Or at Cannes for the film, the words he spoke might as well have been a permanent epitaph for “The Battle of Algiers,” if “epitaph” is the right word for a film that refuses to die: “Maybe if we tell the truth about the past, we tell the truth about the present.”



Venice Golden Lion winner “The Woman Who Left” finds distributor

(Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema/Hazel Orencio)

PanARMENIAN.Net – Despite skepticism that it would ever make it into cinemas, Filipino auteur Lav Diaz’s nearly four-hour-long opus “The Woman Who Left”, which won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion, is set for theatrical release in Italy by local niche distributor Microcinema, Variety said.

Microcinema has acquired Italian rights to the revenge drama from Berlin-based Films Boutique and plans to distribute it theatrically in coming months, in spite of comments in the press and on social media that the movie’s 228-minute running time made it too hard a sell.

Sam Mendes, who presided over this year’s Venice jury, said during the awards ceremony that one of the jury’s jobs is “to encourage people to come to the cinema and see original films,” while also noting that the jurors in discussions “talked about all movies the same way.”

“Mendes and the jury chose to give the Golden Lion to a film that thinks outside the box,” said Microcinema managing director Roberto Bassano. “And we are also planning to think a bit different.”

Bassano acknowledged that releasing “The Woman Who Left,” which stars Charo Santos-Cancio as a wrongly convicted schoolteacher facing the outside world after 30 years behind bars, would be “a business challenge” both in terms of finding ticket buyers and exhibitors unfazed by the “double screen time” taken up by the movie.

But he said that several art-house exhibitors, and also some Italian multiplexes in metropolitan areas, have already expressed interest. “It’s a slow burner, the kind of film you open small and expect to have legs on a few screens,” Bassano said.

An Italian release of “The Woman Who Left” would mark the first time a movie directed by Diaz made it into Italian cinemas, and also a rare release of one of his films in Europe.

Upcoming Italian releases by Microcinema, which uses a satellite transmission system to beam movies into movie theaters, include Argentinian romcom “No Kids,” directed by Ariel Winograd.

“The Woman Who Left,” shot in black-and-white with long fixed-camera takes, is considered one of Diaz’s more accessible works, with a “restrained run-time by the Filipino director’s standards,” as Variety critic Guy Lodge put it.

Earlier this year, the prolific Diaz won the Berlin Film Festival’s Silver Bear for his eight-hour historical epic, “A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery.” That film was released theatrically in the Philippines by Star Cinema and elsewhere only screened in festivals.

Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) director/filmmaker, Lav Diz. (Photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema/Hazel Orencio)

(Source: http://www.panarmenian.net)

Philippine revenge drama wins Venice Film Festival’s top prize

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Agnieszka Flak | VENICE

A nearly four-hour long movie about a woman’s thirst for revenge and her feelings of forgiveness after 30 years in jail for a crime she did not commit won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize on Saturday.

Director Lav Diaz has described “Ang Babaeng Humayo” (“The Woman Who Left”) as a testimony to the struggles of the Philippines after centuries of colonial rule.

“This is for my country, for the Filipino people, for our struggle, for the struggle of humanity,” the 57-year-old said as he accepted the Golden Lion award for his black-and-white movie.


Diaz, who at the Berlin Film Festival in February had premiered a film that ran over eight hours, said he hoped the latest recognition would create more appreciation for longer movies.

“Cinema is still very young, you can still push it,” he said.

Director Lav Diaz, center, poses with actress Charo Santos-Concio, left, and actor John lLoyd Cruz, right, as they attend the photo call for the movie Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left) at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, September 9, 2016. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Alesandro Bianchi)

Twenty U.S. and international movies featuring top Hollywood talent and auteur directors were in competition at the world’s oldest film festival, in its 73rd outing this year. The event is seen as a launching pad for the industry’s award season.

All the movies that won awards were examples of directors’ “lack of compromise, (their) imagination, original vision, daring, and a kind of pure identity,” said Sam Mendes, known for directing James Bond movies “Skyfall” and “Spectre”, who headed the jury. “It’s taken me out of my comfort zone.”

Mendes said he hoped the awards would help the films get distributed.

The runner-up Grand Jury prize went to Tom Ford’s thriller “Nocturnal Animals”, the second feature by the celebrated fashion designer.

The Best Director award was shared by Russia’s Andrei Konchalovsky for the Holocaust drama “Rai” (“Paradise”) and Mexico’s Amat Escalante for “La Region Salvaje” (“The Untamed”).

Commenting on Escalante’s drama, which opens with a naked woman being pleasured by a tentacled creature, jury member and Venezuelan director Lorenzo Vigas said the movie affected all the judges emotionally.

“We liked the lack of sentimentalism. We felt he really took risks making the film. It’s a film that pushes the medium forward,” he said.

American Emma Stone took the Best Actress prize for her role in the musical “La La Land” and Argentine actor Oscar Martinez was named Best Actor for his performance in the comedy-drama “El Ciudadano Ilustre” (“The Distinguished Citizen”).

German actress Paula Beer received the Marcello Mastroianni Award acknowledging an emerging performer, for her role in post-war drama “Frantz”.

Noah Oppenheim took the best screenplay award for his work on Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie”, about first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of the assassination of her husband U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The special jury prize went to Ana Lily Amirpour’s cannibal-survivor fairytale “The Bad Batch”. While the film earned mixed reviews, the jury appreciated its spirit.

“Someone has made a very individual, very personal vision, whatever you think of it; that alone, the act of making that film is astonishing,” Mendes said.

(Additional reporting by Sarah Mills and Hanna Rantala, Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Richard Chang)

(Source: http://www.reuters.com)

*Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema/Hazel Orencio



Chilean director, Pablo Larrain is presenting his latest film, Jackie, in Competition for the Golden Lion, at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival.


Larrain has chosen to explore the complex emotions in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of the 35th President of the United States of America through the known actions and behaviors of the country’s First Lady at the time, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, known throughout the world simply as Jackie. Stylish, sophisticated and desirable, Jackie was one of the 2oth century’s most photographed and documented women.


Jackie Director Pablo Larrain (Photo courtesy of ASAC/la_Bienalle Cinema)


After the death of the President, Jackie became known as and often referred to as the queen without a crown who lost her throne and her husband.


Natalie Portman portrays Jacqueline Kennedy in Pablo Larrain’s, Jackie. (Photo courtesy of ASAC/la_Biennale Cinema/Stephanie Branchu)


I imagine Jackie experienced a complex web of emotions – sadness, anger – and wanted the world to see what was done to the distinguished leader of the free world, her husband.



Larrain is fully aware his work is not the definitive work on Jackie because in reality Jackie was a private person who valued her space as sacred. She shared moments willingly and others not so much so. Her children were of paramount importance to her and their safety and well-being came first. So Larrain gathered what he could from archives and copious research and molded what he found into a testimony of love – Jackie.


A mourning First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, in Jackie, a new film making its world premiere at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. The film was directed by Chilean director Pablo Larrain. (Photo courtesy of ASAC/la_Biennale Cinema/William Gray)


The film is screening today in the Sala Grande Theater at 7:15 PM.


(Source: Jackie Pressbook)

History of the Venice International Film Festival – Recent editions, 2000-2011

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.42.01 PMIn 1999, the Sala Perla alongside the historic Palazzo del Cinema was restructured and expanded (seating for 580), seating in the PalaBNL was increased to 1700, and the Palazzo del Casinò cinemas reserved for journalists and professionals from the world of cinema were enlarged, to an overall surface area of 11,000 sq.m.
Alberto Barbera, director of the Festival from 1999 to 2001, created the section “Cinema del Presente” in parallel to the customary competition. He embarked on a double course of action. In addition to the Golden Lion we had the Lion of the Year aimed to highlight debut films and fringe feature films, as well as works comparable to genres and current productions, with innovative intentions and creative originality. All of the Golden Lions assigned during Barbera’s concluding period went to films from the East: Not One Less by Zhang Yimou, The Circle by Jafar Panahi, and Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair.
The 2002 and 2003 editions were directed by Moritz de Hadeln. In 2002, Peter Mullan’s The Magdalene Sisters won the Golden Lion; the collective film 11’09”01 – September 11 also raised much attention and debate. In 2003, Woody Allen landed on the Lido to open the fest with his Anything Else, and many other stars followed by, including George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones (Intolerable Cruelty), Sean Penn and Naomi Watts (21 Grams), Anthony Hopkins (The Human Stain), Salma Hayek and Johnny Depp (Once upon a time in Mexico), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), Tim Robbins (Code 46), and Nicolas Cage (Matchstick Men).
Andrej Zvjagintsev’s Vozvrašcenje (The Return) won the Golden Lion.
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.42.43 PMIn 2004, Marco Müller was appointed as director of the Cinema section. The festival awarded Manoel de Oliveira and Stanley Donen with the Golden Lion for Career Achievement. Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake won the Golden Lion for best film. A retrospective section was dedicated to the Secret History of Italian Cinema, whose first segment Italian Kings of the B’s was also presented in Tokyo, Milan, and London.
In 2005, Müller brought to the Lido a number of celebrities including Tsui Hark, George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh, Ang Lee, Jeremy Irons, Monica Bellucci, Susan Sarandon, Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Ron Howard, Isabelle Huppert, Anthony Hopkins, Abel Ferrara, Stefania Rocca, John Turturro, Charlotte Rampling, Tim Burton, Emmanuelle Seigner, Ralph Fiennes, and Valeria Golino among others. The retrospective section was dedicated to the Secret History of Asian Cinema, Hayao Miyazaki and Stefania Sandrelli were awarded with the Golden Lion for Career Achievement, and Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain won the Golden Lion for best film.
Stars who walked down the red carpet in 2006 included: Ben Affleck, Sabine Azema, Juliette Binoche, Kenneth Branagh, Adrien Brody, Sandra Bullock, Jackie Chan, Laura Dern, Aaron Eckhart, Emilio Estevez, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Hartnett, Anne Hathaway, Ethan Hawke, Bob Hoskins, Jeremy Irons, Scarlett Johansson, Mia Kirshner, Diane Lane, Lindsay Lohan, Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Christian Slater, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Rachel Weisz, James Wilby, Lambert Wilson, and Zhang Ziyi.
Retrospective sections were dedicated to the Secret History of Russian Cinema and to Joaquim Pedro de Andrade. David Lynch was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, and Jia Zhangke’s Still Life won the Golden Lion for Best Film.
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.43.35 PMIn 2007, the Venice Film Festival celebrated its 75th anniversary. Director Alexander Kluge, who was also born in 1932 and the winner in Venice of two Golden Lions and one Silver Lion, prepared a special retrospective program on the last 75 years in the history of cinema. A special award was created, the Golden Lion of the 75th edition, and presented to Bernardo Bertolucci. The other main awards went to Tim Burton, the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, and to Ang Lee, who won the Golden Lion for best film (Lust, Caution) for the second time in the three latest editions. The retrospective section was dedicated to Spaghetti Western and presented 40 famous film belonging to that genre. The red carpet of this edition was scattered with stars such as Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Adrien Brody, Jude Law, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere, Fanny Ardant, Nikita Mikhalkov, Colin Farrell, Ewan McGregor, Takeshi Kitano, Rutger Hauer, Daryl Hannah, and Charlize Theron, just to name the main protagonists.

In 2008, the 65th edition, headed by Marco Müller, presented Ermanno Olmi the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The These Phantoms: Italian Cinema Rediscovered (1946-1975) retrospective was curated by Tatti Sanguineti and Sergio Toffetti and comprised the screening of about 30 films made during the three finest decades of Italian cinema. Lots of stars, as usual, during the 11 days of the festival: among them, Mickey Rourke, Charlize Theron, Silvio Orlando, Francesca Neri, Isabella Ferrari, Anne Hathaway, Valerio Mastandrea, Stefania Sandrelli, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt. The Venezia 65 international jury, chaired by Wim Wenders, awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film to The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky.

In 2009 the Festival awarded John Lasseter and the Disney•Pixar directors the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. The retrospective on Italian cinema continued with These Phantoms: Italian Cinema found again (1946-1975), curated by Sergio Toffetti. Director Marco Müller added the Controcampo Italiano section to the official selection, the new section being intended towards focusing on trends of Italian contemporary cinema. The Venezia 66 international jury, chaired by Ang Lee, awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film to Lebanon by Samuel Maoz. Among the stars who attended the Festival were Colin Firth, Tom Ford, Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Giuseppe Tornatore, Sergio Castellitto, Eva Mendes, Nicolas Cage, Werner Herzog, Michael Moore, Riccardo Scamarcio, Diane Kruger, Isabelle Huppert, Viggo Mortensen, Jacques Rivette, and Jane Birkin.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.44.26 PMIn 2010, the Festival opened with Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan; the opening screening was attended by President Giorgio Napolitano. Ten years after the death of Vittorio Gassman, the Festival honoured one of the most extraordinary personalities of Italian cinema with the screening of Vittorio racconta Gassman, una vita da Mattatore, a documentary based on footage of the actor speaking about his career. The jury of the 67th Venice Film Festival awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film in Competition to Somewhere, directed by Sofia Coppola. The Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement went to legendary Hong Kong movie director John Woo. Among the stars appearing on the red carpet were Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Jessica Alba, Elle Fanning, Stephen Dorff, Ben Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall, Vincent Gallo, Willem Dafoe, Catherine Deneuve, Helen Mirren, Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike, John Turturro, Monte Hellman, Takashi Miike, Marco Bellocchio, Alessandro Gassman, and Kim Rossi Stuart. The 2010 edition saw the Orizzonti section thrown open to a vast range of productions. Even more so than in previous years, Orizzonti became the reference section for the more innovative and experimental filmmakers. The retrospective section was dedicated to Italian comedies and was titled La situazione comica (1937-1988).

In 2011, through an agreement with the City of Venice a radical renovation restored the historic Sala Grande (1937) to its original style. The whole walkway leading from the Hotel Excelsior to the Casino Palace was refurbished. The Lion’s Bar was completely redeveloped focusing on quality design also for the adjacent areas. The festival opened with the American film The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney. Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio, among the most influential directors in the Italian filmmaking industry and one of the undisputed masters of contemporary cinema, was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. American actor and film director Al Pacino was presented with the 2011 Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Film-maker Award. Out of Competition, Al Pacino also presented the world premiere of his film Wilde Salome. The Persol 3D award went to the Zapruder Filmmakers Group, which, for many years, had been exploring the possibilities of stereoscopic film for the production of films and installations that borrow the techniques of 3-D cinema. The L’Oréal Paris cinema award went to Nicole Grimaudo.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 6.45.40 PMJury members Eija-Liisa Ahtila, David Byrne, Todd Haynes, Mario Martone, Alba Rohrwacher, André Téchiné, and jury president Darren Aronofsky awarded the Golden Lion to Faust by Russian director Aleksander Sokurov. Among the stars appearing on the Lido red carpet in 2011, in addition to George Clooney and Al Pacino, were Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Madonna, Abbie Cornish, Keira Knightley, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Monica Bellucci, Louis Garrel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, James Franco, Jessica Chastain, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Willem Dafoe, Emile Hirsch, David Cronenberg, Steven Soderbergh, Abel Ferrara, Johnnie To, and William Friedkin. The retrospective section was titled Orizzonti 1961-1978 and was dedicated to Italian avant-garde films of the 1960s-70s.

The Biennale Cinema 2016 will run Aug. 31 to Sept. 10


The 80s – History of the Venice Film Festival

 Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 2.06.35 PMIt took Carlo Lizzani, director from 1979 to 1982, to win back international prestige for the Festival, flanking films in competition with significant retrospectives, sections devoted to experimentation (“Officina”) and most importantly the new section “Mezzogiorno-Mezzanotte” devoted to spectacular films (Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.), remakes (Vertigo, Leave Her to Heaven) or eccentrics, ideated by the great, late critic Enzo Ungari. The formula inaugurated by the Lizzani-Ungari duo was to become a model for festivals throughout the world.
In 1980 the Golden Lion was re-introduced, with an ex aequo award for Louis Malle (Atlantic City) and John Cassavetes (Gloria). Over these years Venice helped establish New German Cinema throughout the world. Filmmakers such as Wim Wenders and Margarethe Von Trotta (the first woman to win the Golden Lion) received the highest recognition at the Festival, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) was screened in episodes to great acclaim while the controversial Querelle de Brest, presented in ’82, a matter of months after the death of the director, divided the jury when it did not win the Golden Lion.
The new course was consolidated in 1983, under the direction of Gian Luigi Rondi. The Festivals were numbered once again, expanded organization planned for, the sections were made permanent fixtures and greater attention given to the masters of cinema from the past and present. Godard won in ’83 with Prénom Carmen, Zanussi in ’84 with A Year of the Quiet Sun, Agnes Varda in ’85 with Vagabonde, Rohmer in ’86 with Le rayon vert. 1984 saw the creation of SIC, the International Critics’ Week, run independently by the National Italian Film Critics Union and devoted to debut and second works.
Guglielmo Biraghi, writer and film critic for the Rome daily “Il Messaggero”, not to mention director of the Taormina Festival, became the 14th director of the Venice Festival in 1987. Widely travelled and a great linguist, Biraghi (who passed away in 2001) distinguished his mandate (extended for five festivals up until 1991) with a taste for experimentation and discovering unusual filmmakers and types of cinema. Biraghi’s first Festival featured a competition line-up of an Indian, Lebanese, Swiss, Norwegian, Korean and Turkish film. In 1989 he presented O Recado das Ilhas by Ruy Duarte de Carvalho, the very first film from the Cape Verde islands ever to be screened at an international festival.
Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 2.05.13 PMWell organized and with a workable programme (competition, International Critics’ Week, tribute to Mankiewicz), appreciated by the experts (Biraghi’s nomination was given full backing by the Union of Critics), Biraghi’s first Festival assigned an award to festival veteran Louis Malle (Au revoir les enfants), discovered Carlo Mazzacurati in the Critics’ Week (Notte italiana), presented important films such as The Untouchables by Brian De Palma, The Dead by John Huston and The House of Games by David Mamet. Considerable hue and cry was caused by the “experiment” Giulia e Giulia, a film by Peter Del Monte produced by the Rai (Italian National Broadcasting) and shot with “high definition” cameras, though it did not receive critical acclaim.
In ’88 Biraghi enriched the programme with the sections “Orizzonti”, “Notte” and the “Eventi speciali”, including the film The Last Temptation by Martin Scorsese. A sentimental-erotic re-interpretation of the final days of Christ, the film stirred up a hornet’s nest of polemics in religious circles in both America and Italy, before it was screened in Venice. The film was screened in its entirety in the Palazzo del Cinema, protected as if it were a bunker, and Scorsese outlined the artistic reasons behind his choice at a crowded but orderly press conference. The 1988 Festival saw the discovery of the talent of Pedro Almodovar (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) and a comedy of international success A Fish Called Wanda. 1989 on the other hand was the year of Polish director Kieslowski and his Dekalog (Ten Commandments), one of which was shown each day, dividing the interest of both public and press. Together with Kieslowski, the start of the Festival was Nanni Moretti with his much-debated Palombella rossa excluded from the official selection but presented in the International Critics’ Week.

Venice Film Festival 2016: Impressive Line-Up For Golden Lion Nominations

The 73rd Venice International Film Festival has been set in motion. The dates are out and the line-up has been released. The festival will pit twenty movies for the top prize named Golden Lion. From dramas to thrillers, the line-up is loaded with some power packed performances.

Venice Film Festival will kick start with the world premiere of La La Land. Directed by Damien Chazelle, the musical has already been the talk of the town due to the sizzling chemistry of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. The plot of the movie revolves around a jazz pianist who falls in love with an ambitious actress in Los Angeles.

Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven will be showcased before the curtain closes on the festival. The movie stars Denzel Washington in a plot set for the modern retelling of the 1960 classic about outlaws in the Old West.

Talking about the festival, director Alberto Barbera says that the focus of this year’s line-up has been philosophical and existential questions that prevail in films. He says movies which steer away from brutality of reality and every day news are approached. He clarifies that the idea should not be looked upon like a sort of escapism.


Venice Film Festival Nomination Line-Up
Ana Lily Amirpour, The Bad Batch
Stephane Brize, Une Vie
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Derek Cianfrance, The Light Between Oceans
Mariano Cohn, Gaston Duprat, El ciudadono ilustre
Massimo D’Anolfi, Martina Parenti, Spira Mirabilis
Lav Diaz, The Women Who Left
Amat Escalante, La region salvaje
Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
Roan Johnson, Piuma
Andrei Konchalovsky, Paradise
Martin Koolhoven, Brimstone
Emir Kusturica, On the Milky Road
Pablo Larrain, Jackie
Terrence Malick, Voyage of Time
Christopher Murray, El Cristo ciego
Francois Ozon, Frantz
Giuseppe Piccioni, Questi giorni
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Wim Wenders, Les beaux jours

The popular one among the lot, The Light Between Oceans, to be showcased at Venice Film Festival, is a story about a couple who help a baby that drifts away in a rowboat. The cast of the movie includes Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz and Michael Fassbender.

The Venice Film Festival will also be remembering the great work by two legendary film directors, Abbas Kiarostami and Michael Cimino, reported Euro News. Both the directors recently passed away. Venice Film Festival comes to a close on Sept. 10 2016.

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(Source: http://www.movienewsguide.com article by Ancy John)