Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale - Foto Asac
Hayao Miyazaki, whose Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea is up for a Golden Lion
Actor Valerio Mastandrea, director Ferzan Ozpetek, of A Perfect Day, which is up for a Golden Lion.
Isabella Ferrari, star of Ferzan Ozpetek's A Perfect Day
Director Ramin Bahrani, actor Souleymane Sy Savane, whose Goodbye Solo was screened in the Horizons sidebar
Veteran Stefania Sandrelli, who has a supporting role in A Perfect Day
Via Agence France-Presse:
“The 65th Venice film festival has produced no standouts since it opened on Wednesday, with reactions to the first crop among the 21 movies vying for the Golden Lion ranging from lukewarm to hostile.
“The Burning Plain by Guillermo Arriaga of the United States disorients the viewer with flashbacks that cannot be identified as such until much later in the film, a device the reviewer in leading Italian daily Corriere della Sera branded as 'gratuitous.'”
“As for the French literary-erotic thriller Inju, the Beast in the Shadow [top photo], the daily La Repubblica was scathing, asking 'How did such a film get into the competition for the Golden Lion?' under the headline, 'A horror movie that provokes hilarity.'
“Corriere accused director Barbet Schroeder of '(badly) imitating Alfred Hitchcock' in a film 'without suspense, which ends up irritating the spectator, trapped in a cerebral and weak-willed farce.'”
Andrew Pulver reviews Guillermo Arriaga's The Burning Plain in The Guardian:
“But Arriaga resorts far to often to hack soap opera tricks to move things along: studied glares, can-I-have-a-word-with-yous, implausible behaviour tics. And if the story was told in a linear fashion, it would be a pretty unremarkable string of punishingly melodramatic events.
“But how does Arriaga do as a director? The truth is he has a long way to go before he can match [Arriaga's former partner Alejandro González] Iñárritu's cinematic panache. There's nothing here to compare with Iñárritu's spectacular set-pieces, such as the opening 10 minutes of Amores Perros, or the gunshot sequence in Babel.”
Natasha Senjanovic reviews Ferzan Ozpetek's A Perfect Day in The Hollywood Reporter:
“Ferzan Ozpetek's anticipated new film A Perfect Day, based on Melania Mazzucco's eponymous novel, follows the latest trend of intertwining stories with multiple characters all connected to one another. Apt to put off critics, the commercial appeal of the emotionally charged film should guarantee continued domestic success for Ozpetek, as well as abroad, as the director slowly but surely solidifies his international reputation.
“After an enigmatic beginning (only in that it does not correspond the ending), during which a single shot is fired, the film then cuts to 24 hours earlier, to depict the events that lead to a horrible tragedy.”
Natasha Senjanovic reviews Pupi Avati's Giovanna's Father in The Hollywood Reporter:
“[Silvio] Orlando's performance [in the title role] renders credible the central story while [Francesca] Neri and [Ezio] Greggio bring a certain amount of dignity to their parts. As does [Alba] Rohrwacher, in a challenging role that hits almost all the stereotypes of the mentally insane.
“Unfortunately, however, Avati fills the movie with detailed scenes that do little to push the story along, further diluted by secondary characters that walk in and out of the frame delivering lines with seemingly no direction.”
In Variety, Ronnie Scheib reviews Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which has earned nearly US$100 million since opening in Japan:
“Hayao Miyazaki's latest animated epic, Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, unfolds with a magic limpidity, teeming with imaginative transports that owe nothing to CGI. Effortlessly shuttling between sea, land and sky, this Little Mermaid-ish tale dives deep into the collective unconscious of Japan's island culture, imagining a transparency between natural elements that promises salvation and apocalypse in equal measure.”
Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale - Foto Asac
Director Fabrice Du Welz, actress Emmanuelle Béart of Vinyan, which was screened out of competition
Tariq Tapa (right), director of Zero Bridge, screened in the Horizons sidebar
Serena Grandi, Pupi Avati, Francesca Neri, Alba Rohrwacher, whose Il Papa di Giovanna is up for a Golden Lion
Claire Denis, whose 35 rhums was screened out of competition
Co-director Patrick-Mario Bernard, actor Cyril Guei, co-director Pierre Trividic, actress Dominique Blanc, whose L'Autre is up for a Golden Lion
Mario Monicelli, 93, whose short Vicino al Colosseo c'è Monti was screened at the festival. Monicelli's credits include The Great War, The Passionate Thief, and L'Armata Brancaleone
Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale – Foto Asac
J. D. Pardo, Charlize Theron, Guillermo Arriaga, Jennifer Lawrence, José María Yazpik of The Burning Plain
Jia Zhang-Ke, director of Cry Me a River
José María Yazpik, one of the stars of The Burning Plain
Jalil Lespert, director Marco Pontecorvo, and two Pa-ra-da performers
Benoît Magimel, Lika Minamoto, the stars of Barbet Schroeder's Inju, la bête dans l'ombre
If you thought that international film festivals were a great place to make new discoveries and to give a chance to up-and-coming filmmakers, you might want to think again. Often criticized for having gone Hollywood, the Venice Film Festival, which opened this year with Joel and Ethan Coens spy caper Burn After Reading, is now being criticized for having gone too esoteric. The snippet below is from The Independent:
“Highlights include the directorial debut of the Oscar-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, The Burning Plain, which stars Colin Farrell and Charlize Theron; and Darren Aronofskys The Wrestler with Mickey Rourke.
“But those who stay the full Venice course will be depending heavily on [festival director Marco] Muellers judgement, for he has assembled a programme of films from all over the world by people that very few have ever heard of. Take Encarnação Do Demônio, the third part in the trash-horror trilogy by the Brazilian director José Mojica Marins, or Birdwatchers [above], set among tribal people in the Amazon, by the Italian director Marco Bechis.
“The latter film gives an idea of what Mueller is up to. Bechiss film is a highly anticipated picture, according to Variety, which Mueller booked early. It tells of the extinction of an Amazonian tribe by farmers land grabs; the Brazilian-born director has worked on it for years, and most of the actors are tribespeople.”
Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Competition Line-Up
Darren Aronofsky The Wrestler – USA, 105'
Guillermo Arriaga The Burning Plain – USA, 147'
Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, Joaquim de Almeida
Pupi Avati Il papà di Giovanna – Italy, 104'
Silvio Orlando, Alba Rohrwacher, Francesca Neri, Ezio Greggio, Serena Grandi
Marco Bechis BirdWatchers – Italy / Brazil, 108'
Claudio Santamaria, Alicélia Batista Cabreira, Chiara Caselli, Abrisio Da Silva Pedro
Patrick Mario Bernard, Pierre Trividic L'Autre – France, 97'
Dominique Blanc, Cyril Gueï, Peter Bonke, Christèle Tual
Kathryn Bigelow Hurt Locker – USA, 131'
Pappi Corsicato Il seme della discordia – Italy, 85'
Caterina Murino, Alessandro Gassman, Martina Stella, Michele Venitucci, Isabella Ferrari
Jonathan Demme Rachel Getting Married – USA, 116'
Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Rosemarie Dewitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe
Haile Gerima Teza – Ethiopia / Germany / France, 140'
Aron Arefe, Abiye Tedla, Takelech Beyene
Aleksey German Jr. Bumažnyj soldat (Paper Soldier) – Russia, 116'
Chulpan Khamatova, Merab Ninidze, Anastasya Shevelyova
Semih Kaplanoglu Süt – Turkey / France / Germany, 102'
Melih Selcuk, Basak Koklukaya
Takeshi Kitano Akires to kame (Achilles and the Tortoise) – Japan, 119'
Beat Takeshi, Kanako Higuchi, Yurei Yanagi, Kumiko Aso
Hayao Miyazaki Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on Cliff by the Sea) – Japan, 101'
Amir Naderi Vegas: Based on a True Story – USA, 102'
Mark Greenfield, Nancy La Scala, Zach Thomas
Mamoru Oshii The Sky Crawlers – Japan, 122'
Ferzan Özpetek Un giorno perfetto – Italy, 95'
Isabella Ferrari, Valerio Mastandrea, Valerio Binasco, Nicole Grimaudo, Stefania Sandrelli
Christian Petzold Jerichow – Germany, 93'
Nina Hoss, Benno Fürmann, Hilmi Sözer
Barbet Schroeder Inju, la Bête dans l'ombre – France, 105'
Magimel Benoît, Minamoto Lika, Shun Sugata, Maurice Bénichou, Ryo Ishibashi
Werner Schroeter Nuit de chien – France / Germany / Portugal, 110'
Pascal Greggory, Bruno Todeschini, Amira Casar, Jean-François Stevenin
Tariq Teguia Gabbla (Inland) – Algeria / France, 140'
Kader Affak, Ines Rose Djakou, Ahmed Benaïssa, Fethi Ghares, Kouider Medjahed, Djalila Kadi-Hanifi
YU Lik-wai Dangkou (Plastic City) – Brazil / China / Hong Kong / Japan, 118'
Joe Odagiri, Anthony Wong, Huang Yi, Jeff Chen
Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale – Foto Asac
Brad Pitt, whose Burn After Reading opened the 2008 Venice Film Festival
Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta, veteran director and Venice 2008's Lifetime Achievement recipient Ermanno Olmi
Charlize Theron, one of the stars of Guillermo Arriaga's The Burning Plain, which is up for a Golden Lion
Abbas Kiarostami, whose Shirin was screened out of competition
Director Jia Zhang-Ke (center) and Cry Me a River cast
Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale - Foto Asac
Nancy La Scala one of the leads in Vegas: Based on a True Story
Mark Greenfield, Nancy La Scala, Amir Naderi, Zach Thomas, whose Vegas: Based on a True Story is vying for the Golden Lion
Golden Lion jury members Valeria Golino, Wim Wenders
Photos: © Fondazione La Biennale - Foto Asac
2008 Venice Film Festival: August 27–September 6, 2008
Golden Lion: The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky
Special Jury Prize: Teza by Haile Gerima
Best First Director: Aleksei German for Paper Soldier
Coppa Volpi for Best Actor:Silvio Orlando for Il papà di Giovanna / Giovannas Father
Coppa Volpi for Best Actress: Dominique Blanc for L'Autre
Best New Actress: Jennifer Lawrence forThe Burning Plain
Best Screenplay: Haile Gerima forTeza
Best Cinematography: Paper Soldier
Lion of the Future for best first film: Pranzo di ferragostoby Gianni de Gregorio
Silver Lion: Werner Schroeter for the bulk of his career
Career Golden Lion: Ermanno Olmi
HORIZONS / ORIZZONTI SIDEBAR
ORIZZONTI PRIZE: MELANCHOLIA by Lav DIAZ (Philippines)
ORIZZONTI DOC PRIZE: BELOW SEA LEVEL by Gianfranco ROSI (Italy / USA)
SPECIAL MENTION: UN LAC by Philippe GRANDRIEUX (France)
SPECIAL MENTION: WOMEN (WE) by HUANG Wenhai (China / Switzerland)
Corto Cortissimo Lion: Tierra y Pan by Carlos Armella (Mexico)
Special mention: Vacsora (The Dinner) by Karchi Perlmann (Hungary)
PRIX UIP for the best European short film: De Onbaatzunchtigen (The Altruists) by Koen Dejaegher (Belgium)
International Competition: Gabbla (Inland) by Tariq Teguia
Horizons: Goodbye Solo by Ramin Bahrani (US)
Best Film Venezia 65: Gabbla (Inland) by Tariq Teguia
Best Film Horizons and International Critics Week: Goodbye Solo by Ramin Bahrani
SIGNIS Award: The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow
Special mention: Vegas: Based on a True Story by Amir Naderi
Special mention: Teza by Haile Gerima
International Critics Week Award: LApprenti by Samuel Collardey
Francesco Pasinetti (SNGCI) Award
Best Film: Pranzo di Ferragosto by Gianni Di Gregorio
Special mention: Pa-ra-da by Marco Pontecorvo
Best Male Actor: Silvio Orlando for Il papà di Giovanna / Giovannas Father
Best Female Actor: Isabella Ferrari for Un giorno perfetto / A Perfect Day
Isvema Award for an debut or second feature film: Pranzo di Ferragosto by Gianni Di Gregorio
Label Europa Cinemas Award Giornate degli Autori 2008: Machan by Uberto Pasolini
Doc/it Award Sicilia Film Commission: Below Sea Level by Gianfranco Rosi
Special mention: LApprenti by Samuel Collardey
Brian Award: Khastegi by Bahman Motamedian
Queer Lion Award: Un altro pianeta by Stefano Tummolini
Lanterna Magica Award (Cgs): Pa-ra-da by Marco Pontecorvo
CinemAvvenire (Best Film in Competition): Vegas: Based on a True Story by Amir Naderi
Leoncino doro Award 2008 (Agiscuola): Giovannas Father by Pupi Avati
Cinema for UNICEF commendation: Teza by Haile Gerima
Art Cinema Award: Dikoe Pole (Wild Field) by Mikhail Kalatozishvili
La Navicella Venezia Cinema Award: The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow
C.I.C.T. UNESCO Enrico Fulchignoni Award: BirdWatchers La terra degli uomini rossi by Marco Bechis
Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Special Award: Stella by Sylvie Verheyde
Biografilm Lancia Award - fiction: Rachel Getting Married by Jonathan Demme
Biografilm Lancia Award - documentary: Below Sea Level by Gianfranco Rosi
Nazareno Taddei Award: Giovannas Father by Pupi Avati
Don Gnocchi Award: Pa-ra-daSpecial mention: Ezio Greggio for Giovannas Father
Future Film Festival Digital Award: The Sky Crawlers by Mamoru Oshii
Special mention: Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) by Hayao Miyazaki
“The circle is not round. Cinema for peace and the richness of diversity” Award: Teza by Haile Gerima
FEDIC Award: Machan by Uberto Pasolini
Bastone Bianco Award (Filmcritica): Akires to kame (Achilles and the Tortoise) by Takeshi Kitano
Human Rights Film Network Award: The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow
Arca Cinemagiovani Award
Best Film Venezia 65: The Hurt Locker by Kathryn Bigelow
Best Italian Film: Pranzo di Ferragosto by Gianni Di Gregorio
“Altre Visioni” Award: Sell Out! by Yeo Joon Han
EIUC Human Rights Film Award: Kabuli Kid by Akram Barmak
Lina Mangiacapre Award: Stella by Sylvie Verheyde
Air For Film Fest Award: Pa-ra-da by Marco Pontecorvo
Open Award 2008: The Butchers Shop by Philip Haas
“Poveri ma belli” Award: Puccini e la fanciulla by Paolo Benvenuti
Mimmo Rotella Foundation Award: (for a film which shows a firm connection with the arts) Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) by Hayao Miyazaki
Gucci Group Award: Hunger by Steve McQueen (UK)
Venezia 65 Juries
International Competition - Golden Lion
Wim Wenders (Germany) President
Yurij Nikolaevic Arabov (Russian Federation)
Valeria Golino (Italy)
Douglas Gordon (UK)
John Landis (USA)
Lucrecia Martel (Argentina)
Johnnie To (China, Hong Kong)
Orizzonti / Horizons
Chantal Akerman (Belgium) President
Nicole Brenez (France)
Barbara Cupisti (Italy)
José Luis Guerin (Spain)
Veiko Õunpuu (Estonia)
Corto Cortissimo / Short Films
Amos Poe (USA) President
Gianni Rondolino (Italy)
Joana Vicente (Portugal)
Abdellatif Kechiche (Tunisia) President
Alice Braga (Brazil)
Gregory Jacobs (USA)
Donald Ranvaud (UK)
Heidrun Schleef (Germany)
Brad Pitt & George Clooney 'Burn After Reading' Premiere
At the Burn After Reading premiere, which opened the 2008 edition of the Venice Film Festival on Aug. 27, the film's contingent posed for the cameras while on the Red Carpet.
In the image above are, from left to right, Ethan Coen, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Joel Coen, Tilda Swinton, and George Clooney.
'Burn After Reading'
The spy caper Burn After Reading revolves around two gym employees (Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand) who accidentally get a hold of a disc containing the memoirs of a former CIA analyst (John Malkovich). They see the disc as a money-making tool, but things inevitably get out of control.
Also in the Burn After Reading cast:
John Malkovich. Richard Jenkins. David Huddleston. Elizabeth Marvel. David Rasche. Kevin Sussman. Michael Countryman.
Burn After Reading opens in the U.S. on Sept. 12, '08.
See below a trio of images of the Burn After Reading Venice premiere and of the film itself.
'Pa-ra-da' movie: Biopic about real-life street clown and Romanian migrant
Marco Pontecorvo's Pa-ra-da was screened in the Venice Film Festival's Horizons sidebar. The film tells the story of real-life street clown Miloud Oukili, who arrived in Romania in 1992 – three years after Nicolae Ceausescu's fall. Once there, he taught circus skills to a group of street children.
Pa-ra-da was written by Marco Pontecorvo and Roberto Tiraboschi. In the cast: Jalil Lespert (as Miloud), Evita Ciri, and Daniele Formica.
Marco Pontecorvo's father, Gillo Pontecorvo, won the 1966 Golden Lion for the political docudrama The Battle of Algiers, which also earned him a Best Director Academy Award nomination in early 1969.
In The Independent, Peter Popham wrote about Pa-ra-da:
“In 1966, the year he was born, Marco Pontecorvo's father Gillo won the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion with one of the greatest postwar Italian films, The Battle of Algiers. Forty-two years on, the soft-spoken cinematographer stood with a look of stunned bemusement on his face as the Venice audience gave him a standing ovation and 12 minutes of applause for his first film as director.
“He wasn't to know it when he conceived the project seven years ago, but Pa-ra-da, which opens in Italian cinemas in September, is cruelly relevant to Italy's most pressing national debate. For more than a year the country has been obsessed with what to do about the surge of impoverished immigrants from Romania.”
Below are a couple more Pa-ra-da images.
More from the Venice Film Festival: Transsexuals in Iran, Pier Paolo Pasolini classic
Via the International Herald Tribune, a brief commentary about an unusual Iranian entry – Khastegi, about the plight of transsexuals in that Muslim theocracy:
“Organizers of the Venice Film Festival waited to announce the Iranian film Khastegi, or Tedium, by first-time Iranian director Bahman Motamedian until the last minute to avoid alerting authorities to its sensitive subject: transsexuals in modern-day Iran. …
“'We know that throughout the world this problems [sic] exists,' Motamedian said. 'The idea was to raise awareness among families especially, because this is the first layer of barrier, and to help people to realize they are not alone and be able to face the problem.'”
“Film-wise, the lack of spectacular programming in this year's festival really hit home yesterday. I opted (mistakenly I now think) for the new Abbas Kiarostami over the new Takeshi Kitano. …
“Much more interesting, but equally unlikely to make it to a cinema near you any time soon (unless one of our film festivals has a brainstorm) was a reconstruction of the original version of Pier Paolo Pasolini's early 1960s essay-doco La Rabbia ('The Anger'), which was severely mauled about by its producers before release. It was conceived as a political version of a 'mondo' film: Pasolini took already-existing newsreel footage, edited it together and wrote his own commentary. Fearing, some say, a right-wing backlash, producer Gastone Ferranti took a chunk out of Pasolini's film and invited a populist, conservative journalist called Giovanni Guareschi to make the counter-argument. But nothing succeeds like a legend: Guareschi's contribution is now banished, with Bertolucci drawing on Pasolini's original plan to restore the newsreel sections junked in the first place. Of course, it's all supposition; but we can safely say there's no way any major director would be willing or able to make such an unashamedly poetical, deeply analytical statement today.”
Joel and Ethan Coen, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, and George Clooney photos: Fondazione La Biennale – Foto Asac.
Images of Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Burn After Reading: Venice Film Festival.
Images of Jail Lespert and Mario Pontecorvo in Pa-ra-da: Venice Film Festival.
Venice Film Festival website.
Venice Film Festival - Horizons Sidebar
Ramin Bahrani Goodbye Solo – USA, 91'
Souleymane Sy Savane, Red West, Diana Franco Galindo
Julio Bressane, Rosa Dias A Erva do Rato – Brazil, 80'
Alessandra Negrini, Selton Mello
Lav Diaz Melancholia – Philippines, 450'
Roeder Camanag, Angeli Bayani, Perry Dizon
Jean-Pierre Duret, Andréa Santana Puisque nous sommes nés - France / Brazil, 90'
Philippe Grandrieux Un lac – France, 90'
Dmitry Kubasov, Natalie Rehorova, Alexei Solonchev
HUANG Wenhai Women - China / Switzerland, 102'
Mikhail Kalatozishvili Dikoe Pole (Wild Field) – Russia, 104'
Oleg Dolin, Irina Utanayeva
Mirko Locatelli Il primo giorno d'inverno (The First Day of Winter) – Italy, 88'
Michela Cova, Mattia De Gasperis, Andrea Semeghini
Ross McElwee In Paraguay – USA, 78'
Avi Mograbi Z32 – Israel / France, 81'
Bahman Motamedian Khastegi (Tedium) – Iran, 76'
Asghar Nejad, Ghavi Bal, Moghaddam, Sayanpoor
Gerardo Naranjo Voy a explotar – Mexico, 106'
Maria Deschamps, Juan Pablo De Santiago, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Arnaud des Pallières Parc – France, 149'
Sergi Lopez, Jean-Marc Barr, Nathalie Richard, Laurent Delbecque, Delphine Chuillot
Francis Xavier Pasion Jay – Philippines, 96'
Baron Geisler, Flor Salanga, Coco Martin
Eugenio Polgovsky Los Herederos – Mexico, 90'
Marco Pontecorvo PA-RA-DA – Italy / France / Romania, 100'
Jalil Lespert, Evita Ciri, Daniele Formica
Gianfranco Rosi Below Sea Level – Italy / USA, 110'
Andreï Schtakleff, Jonathan Le Fourn L'Exil et le royaume – France, 165'
Emily Tang Wanmei Shenhuo (Perfect Life) – China / Hong Kong, 97'
Yao Qianyu, Cheng Taishen
Tariq Tapa Zero Bridge – India / USA, 96'
Emran Tapa, Ali Muhammed, Taniya Bhat
Orizzonti - Events
Predrag Matvejevic, Hatidza Mehmedovic, Alessandra D'Elia
Pietro Balla, Monica Repetto ThyssenKrupp Blues – Italy, 73'
Mimmo Calopresti La fabbrica dei tedeschi – Italy, 90'
Valeria Golino, Monica Guerritore, Luca Lionello, Silvio Orlando, Rosalia Porcaro, Vincenzo Russo, Giuseppe Zeno
Daniele Di Biasio Soltanto un nome nei titoli di testa – Italy, 52'
Carlo Di Carlo Antonioni su Antonioni – Italy, 55'
Antonello Sarno, Steve Della Casa Venezia '68 – Italy, 39'
Matt Tyrnauer Valentino: The Last Emperor – USA, 96'
Valentino Garavani, Giancarlo Giammetti
Fabrice Du Welz's Vinyan, which was screened out of competition at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, stirred some controversy because the psychological thriller deals with the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. Starring Emmanuelle Béart and Rufus Sewell, Vinyan follows an European couple who travel to Southeast Asia in search of their young son, supposedly one of the tsunami's victims. The mother, however, believes the boy still lives but has been kidnapped. Once there, instead of kidnappers the couple find supernatural goings-on.
Cinefantastique has given Vinyan two rave reviews. (In French.)
Screenplay by Du Welz, Oliver Blackburn, and David Greig. Also in the cast: Julie Dreyfus and Borhan Du Welz.
Vinyan is scheduled to open in France on October 1.
'Embodiment of Evil' Images: Brazilian Horror
Veteran “trash” filmmaker-actor José Mojica Marins' Embodiment of Evil / Encarnação do Demônio (literally, “The Devil's Incarnation”), one of the out-of-competition screenings at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, features the latest cinematic incarnation (bad pun intended) of Zé do Caixão (“Coffin Joe”), a demonic character that starred in a handful of Brazilian movies of the 1960s and 1970s, including Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver / Tonight I'll Take Possession of Your Corpse (1967) and O Estranho Mundo de Zé do Caixão / The Strange World of Coffin Joe (1968).
(According to Felipe M. Guerra at Boca do Inferno, Esta Noite Encarnarei no Teu Cadáver was butchered by Brazilian censors, who demanded that nudity and violence be excised, and that Zé do Caixão's final speech be dubbed so the demonic villain would declare his final acceptance of Jesus Christ. In the original text, the unrepentant Zé proclaimed his atheism for all to hear.)
Marins, who turned 72 last March, also co-wrote the Embodiment of Evil screenplay with Dennison Ramalho. (The filmmaker actually began working on the script back in the '60s, but due to a series of mishaps the project only came to fruition forty years later.) The story follows Zé do Caixão's continuous search for the perfect woman so he can inseminate her and thus perpetuate his superior bloodline. In the cast: Marins (as Zé do Caixão), Cristina Aché, Raymond Castile, José Celso Martinez Corrêa (as the Antichrist), Rui Resende, Eduardo Chagas, and trash-flick veterans Débora Muniz and Jece Valadão.
Marins began his directorial career half a century ago. Among his more than thirty features are 48 Horas de Sexo Alucinante / 48 Hours of Hallucinatory Sex (1987), 24 Horas de Sexo Explícito / 24 Hours of Explicit Sex (1985), A Quinta Dimensão do Sexo / The Fifth Dimension of Sex (1984), Sexo e Sangue na Trilha do Tesouro / Sex and Blood on the Treasure Trail (1972), and À Meia-Noite Levarei Sua Alma / At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul (1964).
I should add that according to Felipe Guerra, José Mojica Marins is anything but a “trash” filmmaker. Guerra, in fact, calls Marins a “genius.”
Embodiment of Evil opened in Brazil last August 8.
Venice Film Festival Out of Competition Screenings
Paolo Benvenuti Puccini e la fanciulla – Italy, 84'
Riccardo Moretti, Tania Squillarlo, Giovanna Daddi, Debora Mattiello, Federica Chezzi
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen Burn After Reading – USA, 95'
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton
Claire Denis 35 Rhums – France / Spain, 100'
Alex Descas, Grégoire Colin, Nicole Dogue, Mati Diop
JIA Zhangke Heshang aiqing (Cry me a river) (short film) – China / Spain / France, 19'
Tao Zhao / Hongmei Wang
Minoru Kawasaki Girara no gyakushu / Samitto kiki ippatsu! (Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit!) – Japan, 98'
Natsuki Kato, Kazuki Kato, Hirohisa Nakata, Susumu Kurobe
Photo: Gelareh Kiazand
Abbas Kiarostami Shirin – Iran, 92'
Juliette Binoche, Mahnaz Afshar, Niki Karimi
José Mojica Marins Encarnação do Demônio – Brazil, 90'
José Mojica Marins, Débora Muniz, Raymond Castile
Mario Monicelli Vicino al Colosseo c'è Monti (short film) – Italy, 22'
Nonzee Nimibutr Puen yai jom sa lad (Queens of Langkasuka) – Thailand, 147'
Ananda Everingham, Jarunee Suksawat, Sorapong Chatri
Manoel de Oliveira Do Visível ao Invisível (short film) – Brazil / Portugal, 7'
Leon Cakoff, Ricardo Trepa
Agnés Varda Les Plages d'Agnès – France, 100'
Fabrice du Welz Vinyan – France / UK / Belgium, 95'
Emmanuelle Béart, Rufus Sewell
Out of Competition - Special Event
Adriano Celentano Yuppi Du (1975) – Italy, 125'
Adriano Celentano, Charlotte Rampling, Claudia Mori, Gino Santercole
Out of Competition - Events
Domenico Modugno Tutto è musica (1963) – Italy, 97'
Domenico Modugno, Franco Franchi, Ciccio Ingrassia
Tito Schipa Jr. Orfeo 9 (1973) – Italy, 82'
Tito Schipa Jr., Renato Zero, Loredana Bertè
Piero Tellini Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare) (1959) – Italy, 104'
Domenico Modugno, Giovanna Ralli, Vittorio De Sica, Franco Migliacci
Ferrán Alberich Bajo el Signo de las Sombras (1984) – Spain, 31'
Youssef Chahine Bab el-hadid (1958) – Egypt / France, 90'
Farid Shawqi, Hend Rostom, Youssef Chahine, Abdel Aziz Khalil, Naima Wasfy
Vittorio De Sica Ladri di biciclette (1948) – Italy, 93'
Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri, Gino Saltamerenda
Lorenzo Llbobet Gracia Vida en Sombras (1947) – Spain, 90'
Fernando Fernán Gómez, María Dolores Pradera, Isabel de Pomés, Alfonso Estela
Masahiro Makino (above), Hiroshi Inagaki Kettô Takadanobaba (1937) – Japan, 64'
Tsumasaburo Bando, Tokuma Dan, Ryosuke Kagawa, Takashi Shimura
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Giuseppe Bertolucci La rabbia di Pasolini – Italy, 84'