x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Venice festival competitors are topical

The films screening at Venice Film Festival reflect the current difficult economic and social climate.

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena. Courtesy Pathe Productions
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena. Courtesy Pathe Productions

The 20 films vying for the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival next month have one thing in common, according to the festival director – they reflect the current difficult economic and social climate.

“Cinema mirrors reality, so we can’t complain if auteur films today give us an image of our times that is not consoling,” Alberto Barbera told journalists. “Sexual abuse, violence against women, the breakdown of family ties, inadequate parents, the crisis of values – filmmakers are not giving any signs of optimism or a way out.”

Among the films are the British drama Philomena, starring Judi Dench as a mother seeking the son she gave up for adoption, and The Zero Theorem featuring Christoph Waltz as a reclusive maths genius. Also in the running is Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin with Scarlett Johansson as an alien who hunts down and devours unwitting hikers, and Joe, a brutal drama starring Nicolas Cage as an ex-con who becomes an unlikely role model for a homeless child.

The line-up includes films by three Oscar-winning directors: Hayao Miyazaki with an animated film about a Japanese fighter plane designer and Errol Morris with a documentary about the former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld – both in competition – and Poland’s Andrzej Wajda with a movie depicting the life of the Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, showing out of competition.

Three previous Golden Lion winners are returning to the Lido. They include Italy’s Gianni Amelio with The Intrepid, and the Taiwan-based director Tsai Ming-liang with Stray Dogs, both in competition. Last year’s winner Kim Ki-duk premieres Moebius, his follow-up to Pieta.

The Venice Film Festival runs from August 28 to September 7.

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