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Home Movie CraftsActors + Actresses Jared Leto & Riccardo Scamarcio + Mussolini ‘Whore’ Controversy & Venice Film Festival Winners

Jared Leto & Riccardo Scamarcio + Mussolini ‘Whore’ Controversy & Venice Film Festival Winners

Jared Leto Jaco van Dormael Sarah Polley Diane Kruger
Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger, Linh Dan Pham and director Jaco van Dormael: The curious case of ‘Mr. Nobody’ talent.

Mr Nobody director Jaco van Dormael and actors Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Sarah Polley: Venice Film Festival

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Mr. Nobody director Jaco van Dormael along with actors Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Linh Dan Pham, and Diane Kruger were all present at the photocall for their movie, screened at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. (Click on the image above to enlarge it.)

Further below you’ll find more images from the photocall and from the Mr. Nobody official dinner at the Sangal restaurant on Sept. 11.

‘Mr. Nobody’: 120-year-old man

Marking the return of writer-director Jaco van Dormael following a 13-year break, Mr. Nobody tells the curious case of Nemo, a man (Jared Leto) who wakes up in the year 2092, when he happens to be both 120 years old and the last mortal on Earth.

In addition to Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Linh Dan Pham, and Diane Kruger, the Mr. Nobody cast includes Daniel Mays and Rhys Ifans.

The Belgian-born Van Dormael is best known for Best Foreign Film César winner Toto the Hero and the sentimental French box office hit The 8th Day, starring Daniel Auteuil, Pascal Duquenne, and Miou-Miou.

Jared Leto movies

Jared Leto has been featured in about 20 movies since his debut in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s How to Make an American Quilt in 1995. Besides Mr. Nobody, notable titles include:

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley directed Gordon Pinsent and Best Actress Academy Award nominee Julie Christie in Away from Her, which earned Polley an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

In front of the camera, Polley has been featured in nearly 40 films since her debut at age 6 in Phillip Borsos’ One Magic Christmas (1985). Notable titles include:

  • The Sweet Hereafter (1997).
    Director: Atom Egoyan.
    Cast: Ian Holm. Sarah Polley. Tom McCamus.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004).
    Director: Zack Snyder.
    Cast: Sarah Polley. Ving Rhames. Ty Burrell. Jake Weber. Michael Kelly. Kevin Zegers.
  • Spanish Academy’s Best Picture Goya Award winner The Secret Life of Words / La vida secreta de las palabras (2005).
    Director: Isabel Coixet.
    Cast: Sarah Polley. Tim Robbins. Julie Christie. Javier Cámara. Daniel Mays. Eddie Marsan. Leonor Watling. Sverre Anker Ousdal. Danny Cunningham.

Linh Dan Pham

Linh Dan Pham has been featured in about 10 films since her debut in Régis Wargnier’s Indochine – starring Catherine Deneuve and Vincent Perez, and the winner of the 1992 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

More recently, Dan Pham had a key role – as a piano teacher – in Jacques Audiard’s crime/family drama The Beat That My Heart Skipped / De battre mon coeur s’est arrêté (2005), starring Romain Duris.

Diane Kruger

Diane Kruger has been seen in about 20 movies since her 2002 debut in Jean-Pierre Roux’s The Piano Player.* Notable titles include:

  • Troy (2004).
    Director: Wolfgang Petersen.
    Cast: Brad Pitt. Eric Bana. Orlando Bloom. Diane Kruger (as Helen of Troy). Julian Glover. Garrett Hedlund. Sean Bean. Brian Cox. Rose Byrne. Brendan Gleeson. Nigel Terry. Trevor Eve. Louis Dempsey. Vincent Regan. Julie Christie. Peter O’Toole.
  • Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nominee Merry Christmas / Joyeux Noël (2005).
    Director: Christian Carion.
    Cast: Benno Fürmann. Guillaume Canet. Daniel Brühl. Diane Kruger.
  • Best Picture Academy Award nominee Inglourious Basterds (2009).
    Director: Quentin Tarantino.
    Cast: Brad Pitt. Mélanie Laurent. Diane Kruger. Christoph Waltz. Michael Fassbender.

* The Piano Player is not to be confused with Michael Haneke’s 2001 psychological drama The Piano Teacher, starring Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, and Benoît Magimel.

The 2009 Venice Film Festival runs Sept. 2–12.

Jared Leto Sarah Polley Linh Dan Pham Diane KrugerSarah Polley, Jared Leto, Linh Dan Pham and Diane Kruger.
Jared Leto Venice Film FestivalJared Leto.

Jaco van Dormael, Sarah Polley, Linh Dan Pham, Diane Kruger, and Jared Leto photos: François Durand / 2009 Getty Images.

Official dinner ceremony images: François Durand / 2009 Getty Images. Courtesy Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Riccardo Scamarcio Jasmine TrincaRiccardo Scamarcio and Jasmine Trinca at ‘The Big Dream’ photocall.

Riccardo Scamarcio and Marcello Mastroianni Award winner Jasmine Trinca: Venice Film Festival

Pictured above are Riccardo Scamarcio and Jasmine Trinca at the The Big Dream / Il grande sogno photocall during the 66th Venice Film Festival, which runs Sept. 2–12, ’09. Trinca won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor/Actress.

Directed by Michele Placido, The Big Dream revolves around the relationship between a police offer (Riccardo Scamarcio) and an anti-government activist (Jasmine Trinca). Also in the cast: Luca Argentero and Massimo Popolizio.

Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Carolina Crescentini

Also at Venice 2009 was Maria Grazia Cucinotta, best known internationally as Massimo Troisi’s leading lady in The Postman / Il postino (1994).

In the last 15 years, Cucinotta has remained busy in Italian cinema. Her 2009 credits include:

  • Joseph Tito’s horror thriller Death of a Virgin.
  • Roberto Lippolis’ Fly Light, with Christo Jivkov.
  • Donatella Maiorca’s The Sea Purple, starring Valeria Solarino.

Another Venice attendee, actress Carolina Crescentini (image further below) has a trio of 2009 releases:

  • Luca Lucini’s Just Married, with Luca Argentero.
  • Massimo Venier’s Generazione mille euro, with Alessandro Tiberi and Valentina Lodovini.
  • Enzo Monteleone’s The Ladies Get Their Say / Due partiti, with Margherita Buy and Isabella Ferrari.

More 2009 Venice photos

Below are a few more images from the 2009 Venice Film Festival, including Maria Grazia Cucinotta on the Red Carpet, Riccardo Scamarcio and Michele Placido on The Big Dream Red Carpet, and a couple from the Repo Chick and Brooklyn’s Finest photocalls.

Directed by Alex Cox, Repo Chick features Jaclyn Jonet, Del Zamora, Miguel Sandoval, Alex Feldman, Rosanna Arquette, Karen Black, and Angela Sarafyan.

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Brooklyn’s Finest stars Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Shannon Kane, Ellen Barkin, Wesley Snipes, Lily Taylor, Will Patton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Brían F. O’Byrne, Jesse Williams, Logan Marshall-Green, and Armando Riesco.

Maria Grazia CucinottaMaria Grazia Cucinotta.
Michele PlacidoMichele Placido.
Carolina Crescentini Venice Film FestivaCarolina Crescentini.
Antoine Fuqua Venice Film FestivaAntoine Fuqua at ‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ photocall.
Wesley Snipes Venice Film FestivalWesley Snipes.

Images of Riccardo Scamarcio, Jasmine Trinca, Carolina Crescentini, Jaclyn Jonet, Antoine Fuqua, Wesley Snipes: François Durand / 2009 Getty Images. Courtesy: Jaeger-LeCoultre.

Images of Riccardo Scamarcio and Michele Placido on The Big Dream Red Carpet: Courtesy Venice Film Festival.

Maria Grazia Cucinotta photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / 2009 Getty Images.

George Lucas, Pixar animators: Venice Film Festival tribute

American Graffiti and Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas was on hand at the 2009 Venice Film Festival to present John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Brad Bird, and Peter Docter with the Lifetime Achievement Golden Lion at a ceremony honoring the Pixar filmmakers on Sept. 6 at Venice’s Sala Grande. (Click on the image above to enlarge it.)

Pixar movies

Among the Pixar movies of the past 15 years or so are:

  • Toy Story (1995).
    Director: John Lasseter.
    Voice Actors: Tom Hanks. Tim Allen. Laurie Metcalf.
  • A Bug’s Life (1998).
    Director: John Lasseter. Co-director: Andrew Stanton.
    Voice Actors: Dave Foley. Kevin Spacey. Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
  • Toy Story 2 (1999).
    Director: John Lasseter. Co-directors: Lee Unkrich and Ash Brannon.
    Voice Actors: Tom Hanks. Tim Allen. Joan Cusack. Laurie Metcalf.
  • Monsters Inc. (2001).
    Director: Pete Docter. Co-directors: Lee Unkrich and David Silverman.
    Voice Actors: John Goodman. Billy Crystal. Mary Gibbs. James Coburn. Steve Buscemi. Jennifer Tilly.
  • Finding Nemo (2003).
    Director: Andrew Stanton. Co-director: Lee Unkrich.
    Voice Actors: Albert Brooks. Ellen DeGeneres. Alexander Gould. Willem Dafoe.
  • The Incredibles (2004).
    Director: Brad Bird.
    Voice Actors: Craig T. Nelson. Jason Lee. Holly Hunter. Elizabeth Peña.
  • Cars (2006).
    Director: John Lasseter. Co-director: Joe Ranft.
    Voice Actors: Owen Wilson. Paul Newman. Bonnie Hunt. Larry the Cable Guy. Tony Shalhoub.
  • Ratatouille (2007).
    Director: Brad Bird. Co-director: Jan Pinkava.
    Voice Actors: Patton Oswalt. Ian Holm. Brian Dennehy. Peter O’Toole.
  • WALL-E (2008).
    Director: Andrew Stanton.
    Voice Actors: Ben Burtt. Elissa Knight. Fred Willard. Kathy Najimy. Sigourney Weaver.
  • Up (2009).
    Director: Pete Docter.
    Voice Actors: Edward Asner. Christopher Plummer. Jordan Nagai.

The Walt Disney Company bought Pixar in 2006.

See below more images from Venice’s Pixar homage.

The 2009 edition of the Venice Film Festival runs Sept. 2–12.

Pixar Lifetime Achievement Golden Lion ceremony

George Lucas John LasseterGeorge Lucas and John Lasseter.
John Lasseter Pete Docter Brad Bird Lee UnkrichAndrew Stanton, Peter Docter, John Lasseter, Brad Bird and Lee Unkrich.
John Lasseter Venice Film FestivalJohn Lasseter.

Venice Film Festival images of George Lucas, Lee Unkrich, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Peter Docter, and Andrew Stanton: Elisabetta Villa / 2009 Getty Images.

Monica Birladeanu in Francesca
Monica Birladeanu in Francesca

Romanian-born filmmaker Bobby Paunescu’s Francesca, which premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival, may be banned from Italian screens following a legal motion by far-right lawmaker Alessandra Mussolini (right), granddaughter of dictator Benito Mussolini and niece of Sophia Loren. Reason for Mussolini’s outrage: in one scene in Francesca, she is called “a whore.” (In 2007, Mussolini created a furor after stating that all Romanians living in Italy were “criminals.”)

According to reports, right-wing Verona mayor Flavio Tosi has said he has also filed a criminal complaint against Francesca because in the film he is depicted in a “vulgar” manner. Tosi, who has been accused of both racism and instigating racial hatred, is reportedly referred to as “a shitty mayor.”

In Francesca, which is co-produced by Cristi Puiu (the director of the widely acclaimed The Death of Mr. Lazarescu), a Bucharest schoolteacher (Monica Birladeanu, Paunescu’s off-screen companion) struggles to find a way to emigrate to Italy, home to anywhere between 600,000 and 1 million Romanians. The problem is that Romanians aren’t exactly welcome west of the Adriatic, where several high-profile crimes have been blamed on them.

Paunescu, who grew up in Italy, says he doesn’t intend to cut any scenes from Francesca – something that would be tantamount to Michael Moore opting to chop up Fahrenheit 9/11 because it hurt the feelings of, say, the former White House occupants, the Saudi royal family, or Britney Spears. Since the courts have actually taken up the matter, Italy’s freedom of speech laws are apparently quite different than those of the United States. (Though that didn’t prevent Michael Moore, at Venice to promote Capitalism: A Love Story, to make fun of scandal-plagued Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.)

“What is important about my film,” Paunescu told The Independent, “is its discussion of the Romanian community. Twenty per cent of the population in the last 10 years have emigrated, the majority to Italy, which has become the ‘promised land’ for many Romanians. Yet at the same time, there is a negative perception about the country. The film is not an attack on anyone. I’m trying to highlight the prejudices. I think the film creates a valid debate.”

In 2006, long before she was called “a whore” by a movie character, Mussolini was called “a fascist” by transgender MP candidate Vladimir Luxuria. Mussolini’s response: “Meglio fascista che frocio,” or “it is better to be a fascist than a faggot.” (I wonder what Sophia Loren thought of this exchange.)

A ruling on the Italian fate of Francesca is expected before the end of October when the film is scheduled for release.

Photos: Venice Film Festival

2009 Venice Film Festival Awards

2009 Venice Film Festival: Aug. 31-Sept. 12, 2009


Golden Lion for best film: Lebanon by Samuel MAOZ (Israel, France, Germany)

Silver Lion for best director: Shirin NESHAT for Zanan Bedone Mardan (Women Without Men) (Germany, Austria, France)

Special Jury Prize: Soul Kitchen by Fatih AKIN (Germany)

Colin Firth
Colin Firth. Photo: Francois Durand / Getty Images

Coppa Volpi for Best Actor: Colin FIRTH in A Single Man by Tom FORD (USA)

Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Kseniya RAPPOPORT in La doppia ora by Giuseppe CAPOTONDI (Italy)

“Marcello Mastroianni” Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress: Jasmine TRINCA in Il grande sogno by Michele PLACIDO (Italy)

“Osella” for Best Technical Contribution: Sylvie OLIVÉ for Mr. Nobody by Jaco VAN DORMAEL (France)

“Osella” for Best Screenplay: Todd SOLONDZ for Life during Wartime by Todd SOLONDZ (USA)


Orizzonti Prize to Engkwentro by Pepe Diokno (Philippines)

Orizzonti Prize for Best documentary to 1428 by DU Haibin (China)

Special Mention to Aadmi ki aurat aur anya kahaniya (The Man’s Woman and Other Stories) by Amit Dutta (India)


Controcampo Italiano Prize: Cosmonauta by Susanna NICCHIARELLI (Italy)

Special Mention: Negli occhi by Daniele ANZELLOTTI and Francesco DEL GROSSO (Italy)


Corto Cortissimo Lion for Best Short Film: Eersgeborene (First Born) by Etienne Kallos (South Africa, USA)

Venice Nomination to the European Film Awards 2009 to Sinner by Meni Philip (Israel)

Special Mention: Felicità by Salomé Aleksi (Georgia)

Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Award for a Debut Film: Engkwentro by Pepe DIOKNO (Philippines)

Persol 3-D Award for the Best 3-D Stereoscopic Film of the Year: The Hole by Joe Dante (USA)

Official Competition Jury: Ang Lee (president), Sergei Bodrov, Sandrine Bonnaire, Liliana Cavani, Joe Dante, Anurag Kashyap, Luciano Ligabue

Venice Film Festival website.

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