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by Stephen Mayne

15 Sep 2015

Now we really are all done. Finito, le fin, kaput. The awards ceremony for the 72nd Venice International Film Festival brought another year to a close with the usual collection of leftfield decisions. I swear festival juries, particularly in Venice, go out of their way to be controversial. But hey, at least it’s never dull.

Before we started, the Golden Lion seemed destined to be a fight between Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia, Amos Gitai’s Rabin, the Last Day, Marco Bellocchio’s Blood of My Blood and Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa. In the end, only Anomalisa walked away with anything, picking up the Grand Jury Prize, essentially second place. The others headed home empty-handed as Alfonso Cuarón and his jury sent the Golden Lion to From Afar (Desde Allá), the first Venezuelan film to win the prize, and the first Venezuelan film to even compete for it.

by Stephen Mayne

14 Sep 2015

Go With Me

My, how the time has flown. It seems like only yesterday I was waving a scrap of paper in front of a confused security guard in a bid to get access to the press accreditation counter.

A week and a half, and 29 films later, and it’s all come to an end. Actually, that’s not quite true. We still have the awards to come, next post.

by Stephen Mayne

11 Sep 2015

Christopher Plummer in Remember

Hats off to the Venice Film Festival schedulers. Fully aware that by this stage many of us hardy festival folk are starting to wilt, they made sure to throw in a burst of adrenaline to get the blood pumping again. It certainly worked. As I sat down for the first in an evening double bill, I must admit my mind was elsewhere. That didn’t last long. What’s most surprising is the film chosen for the task.

by Stephen Mayne

11 Sep 2015

Laurie Anderson's Heart of a Dog

The crowds are noticeably thinner now, such is the way with the latter half of film festivals. This is a particular problem for the Venice Film Festival, which tends to top load the first half before losing people to Toronto, the opening of North America’s premier festival overlapping. There can still be gems to find here, of course, but today was not happy hunting.

Veteran Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski kicked things off in the main competition with 11 Minutes, a thriller promising the same event from multiple viewpoints. It delivers, but not with any real degree of success. Skolimowski’s film jumps around with a number of dull stories set in Warsaw, showing meaningless snippets until they all come together for a laughably explosive finalé. It’s makes for a technical masterclass, I’ll give him that. Just not much of a film.

by James Orbesen

10 Sep 2015

Money may not be everything, but it often makes Hollywood’s world go round. Films have become increasingly expensive to make. Unlike decades past where there was a broad spectrum of low, middle, and high expense productions, each bracket containing a multitude of film genres, today there seems to be a squeezing of the middle, with massive, nine-figure films on one side, and smaller, award bait on the other. Even more tragic is that large budget films are seemingly predictable in what they contain (action, excessive CGI, multiple hour running times) as are smaller films (performance driven, low key, drama heavy).

//Mixed media

Terror, Dolls, Madhouses: Three for the Price of Price

// Short Ends and Leader

"Three Vincent Price projects from American International.

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