Monday, 8 September 2014

My Favourite films at the Venice Film Festival

As the historic Venice film festival elegantly closes, Here is the list of films that I liked best, that left me thinking.  I feel I am lucky to have had the access to the film world, this Summer. After 23 films I feel I have got to grips with the artier side of film making.
I have hardly ever been bored or felt I wanted to leave, on the contrary. The films might not be top winners at the box office in New York, but they all left me in deep thought.

1. Good Kill by Andrew Niccol.
My favourite for many reasons, most of all was because it was topical. It did not win,  but for me there are moments when I saw the chilling reality of our future. War from the inside of a bunker, killing people through a television screen.
First of all, on a very basic level, it showed the ordinary life of Military Bases, near Las Vegas, the desperation of the military men,the boredom of their normal lives, against the poverty of Middle East.  The women in the Middle East were shown covered from head to toe, going about their daily lives, collecting wood, cooking, washing and then men meeting each other. What moved me was the violence and sympathy you could feel for the characters there, the poor woman being violently raped and the army able to witness but only able to help in secret. Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz.
2. Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo
An ordinary romance so we think that starts in the loo, and ends with,well that would give the game away. A simplistic story which we follow and then realise that the heroine is going mad,  and is leaving a baby hungry because of her obsession with food, and a mother in law, crazy enough to give her life over to keep a baby..
Joshua Oppenheimer

3. The Pigeon sat on a branch reflecting on existence by Roy Andersson.
An artistic series of cameos, and a  film that won twice. A Cavalier and his men go into a pub and demand the women are told to leave and the man is thrashed. Absurd, meaning nothing and yet everything. Beautifully shot and edited.
4. The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer
A continuation of what he did before, not as poignant, but it leaves you with images not easily forgotten..
5. Birdman by Alejandro G. Inarritu
Perfect performances of a man that has been split into two characters. I feel it should have been included in the final line up. Opening night,
There were so many more, She is funny that way by Peter Bogdanovich, The Humbling of Barry Levinson and so on. I loved the Cut, Theeb, Words with Gods. So many clever films.
No commercial block busters, Venice is anything but commercial, and the judges were very intellectual.
Hungry Hearts.
With talk that Hollywood did not get prizes in Venice, I think they did, but Venice is where an intimate touching story can do well.

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