Monday, July 15, 2024

Preview of the 80th Biennale Di Venezia

As summer turns to autumn, a major batch of films is coming out, and Oscar season is starting to shift gears. The next of the big world film festivals, however, is overshadowed by the current SAG-AFTRA/WGA strike that won’t permit A-listers from attending the event. New films from Richard Linklater, Woody Allen (I know), Luc Besson (again, I know), William Friedkin (R.I.P.), Sofia Coppola, Bradley Cooper, and David Fincher are among the highly anticipated films coming out with a jury led by director Damien Chazelle and joined by Jane Campion, Martin McDonough, and Mia Hanson-Love. Here’s a short list of those films to look out for. 

El Conde (Chile)

Pablo Larrain (Jackie, Spencer) is back home with his dark comedy that will touch a raw nerve in Chile. His new feature portrays the notorious military dictator Augusto Pinochet as a vampire who has lived for 250 years and now wants to die as things get worse for him. With a Netflix release, it can be viewed anywhere, and the reaction to this movie could be interesting. Pinochet’s legacy remains a stain on Chile, but a significant percentage of the population sees him as Chile’s modern liberator. It is Larrain’s second film on the Pinochet era after 2012’s, No. 

Ferrari (USA)

An all-Italian story dramatized by Hollywood. Sounds familiar? After Adam Driver played a Gucci two years ago, he now plays Enzo Ferrari in Michael Mann’s long-awaited biopic. Set in the 1950s, the story follows a particular time in his life: the death of his son plus the financial struggles of his company as Ferrari aims to win the highly sought Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile race across the country. With Penelope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Gabriel Leone, and Patrick Dempsey, it will make quite an impression – or be hostile – to Italian audiences about one of their being made by Hollywood. 

The Palace (ITA/SUI/FRA)

I’m going to get a lot of slack for mentioning this movie because of the director, but since I already said Woody Allen and Luc Besson, to me, I might as well pick out their films. Polanski, who is 90 years old and what could be his final film, has his dark comedy to show. Set in a Swiss luxury hotel on New Year’s Eve, 1999, guests from all over the continent merge and have a ball of a night that becomes a sudden wreck. The international ensemble includes Fanny Ardent, Oliver Masucci, John Cleese, Joaquim de Almeida, and Mickey Rourke. 

Poor Things (UK/USA)

Five years after his universally acclaimed The Favorite, director Yorgos Lanthimos is back and reunites with star Emma Stone and screenwriter Tony McNamara. This time around, this dark comedy follows a dead woman who is brought back to life and then looking to insert herself back into the world. Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Jerrod Carmichael, and Margaret Qualley also star in this surrealistic Victorian-era piece, a seeming mockery about an era of “values” that Lanthimos is fit to chop up.

Society Of The Snow (URU/SPA)

J.A. Bayona goes to another real-life disaster story after The Impossible. It is one Hollywood has produced before, the 1993 film Alive! It is the harrowing tale of survival from a group of Uruguyans who crash high in the Andes mountains in 1972 and survive for weeks despite the cold and hunger. With Netflix’s support, Bayona shot the film around the actual location of the crash site and used unknowns to play the group. Society is also the festival’s closing film and will play out of competition. 

Follow me on Twitter: @brian_cine (Cine-A-Man)

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