Don't Lie and Be Boring: 7 Intriguing Venice Film Festival Premieres
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Don't Lie and Be Boring: 7 Intriguing Venice Film Festival Premieres

By Cindy Davis | Seriously Random Lists | July 29, 2013 | Comments ()


This year’s festival (the 70th) features a couple of big name productions you’ve likely already heard about right here at Pajiba (Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz and The Swinton (first images include the header and these):



and Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity starring Clooney and Bullock), and perhaps a couple you haven’t: Ki-duk Kim’s Moebius (Has anyone seen Pieta, because I’m a little frightened?)—which has been banned in the director’s home country because of scenes containing incest and self-castration—and Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm. Here are a few standouts from the impressive list; in total Venice will host screenings of 53 new films from 33 countries. Additionally, to celebrate it’s 70th year, Biennale di Venezia has invited 70 filmmakers (who have participated at the festival at least once) to make a 60 to 90 second film; participating directors will be revealed daily at the Biennale website.

1. Child of God



Directed by (and starring) James Franco (My Own Private River, As I Lay Dying, also starring Scott Haze, Tim Blake Nelson and Jim Parrack. Adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s ultra dark and depressing novel about Lester (Haze), a loner who holes himself up in the mountains of Tennessee. Without going into too much detail, suffice to say Lester is violent and depraved—the book made me feel sick and a little dirty. Kudos to Franco for his perfect Lester casting.

2. Tracks


Directed by John Curran (The Painted Veil, We Don’t Live Here Anymore), starring Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver and Emma Booth. Based on Robyn Davidson’s award-winning memoirs of her journey (with four camels and her dog) from Alice Springs, Australia through the desert to the Indian Ocean. Photographer Rick Smolan (Driver) met up with Davidson (Wasikowska) a few times during her nine-months of travel to take pictures; the two had an intermittent relationship. Tracks was filmed in Southern Australia and the Northern Territory.

Robyn Davidson:


Here’s the real Rick Smolan speaking about how he met Robyn Davidson and got involved in her journey:

3. Under the Skin



Directed by Jonathan Glazer (Birth), starring Scarlett Johansson, Antonia Campbell-Hughes and Paul Brannigan. Scarjo as an alien in human form, travels across Scottland to gather people for [redacted]… Based on the Michael Faber novel.

4. Philomena



Directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Dirty Pretty Things, High Fidelity), starring Judi Dench, Steve Coogan and Sophie Kennedy Clark. Based on a true story of an unmarried Irish woman whose newborn son was taken away by Catholic nuns and sold to an American couple. After decades of searching, a chance encounter provides Philomena (Dench) help with her search.

5. Night Moves



Directed by Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy), starring Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard and Alia Shawkat. This “ecoterrorist thriller” chronicles three radical environmentalists who plan to blow up a dam. The production seems to have overcome a suit alleging Night Moves was plagiarized from Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang.

6. Parkland



Peter Landesman’s directorial debut, starring Zac Efron, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, Colin Hanks, Tom Welling, Marcia Gay Harden, James Badge Dale, Ron Livingston and Mark Duplass. Based on Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F Kennedy, the film analyzes events at Parkland Memorial Hospital the day Kennedy was killed. Produced by Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton, among others.

7. Joe


Directed by David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, All the Real Girls), starring Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Sue Rock. Adaptation of Larry Brown’s “brutal” novel about a “hard-drinking” tormented ex-con (Cage) who meets a 15 year old (Sheridan [Mud, Tree of Life]), looking for escape from his hellish home; the pair form an unusual bond.

Full Line-up:

Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón (Opening film)

In Competition:

Ana Arabia, Amos Gitai

Child of God, James Franco

Die Frau des Polizisten (The Police Officer’s Wife), Philip Groning

L’intrepido, Gianni Amelio

La Jalousie, Philippe Garrel

Jiaoyou, (Stray Dogs), Tsai Ming-liang

Joe, David Gordon Green

Kaze Tachinu, Hayao Miyazaki

Miss Violence, Alexandros Avranas

Night Moves, Kelly Reichardt

Parkland, Peter Landesman

Philomena, Stephen Frears

Sacro GRA, Gianfranco Rosi

Es-Stouh (The Rooftops), Merzak Allouache

Tom at the Farm, Xavier Dolan

Tracks, John Curran

Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer

The Unknown Known: the Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld , Errol Morris

Via Castellana Bandiera, Emma Dante

The Zero Theorem, Terry Gilliam

Out of Competition:

Die Andere Heimat — Chronik einer Sehnsucht (Home from Home — Chronicle of a Vision), Edgar Reitz

The Armstrong Lie, Alex Gibney

At Berkeley, Frederick Wiseman

The Canyons, Paul Schrader (worrisome)

Che strano chiamarsi Federico Scola racconta Fellini, Ettore Scola

Feng Ai (‘Til Madness Do Us Apart), Wang Bing

Locke, Steven Knight

Moebius, Kim Ki Duk

Pine Ridge, Anna Eborn

Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Aramaki Shinji

Summer 82 When Zappa Came to Sicily, Salvo Cuccia

Ukraina ne Bordel (Ukraine Is Not Brothel), Kitty Green

Walesa. Czlowiek z nadziei (Walesa. Man of Hope), Andrzej Wajda, Ewa Brodzka

Wolf Creek 2, Greg McLean

Yurusarezaru mono, (Unforgiven), Lee Sang-Il


Algunas Chicas, Santiago Palavecino

Bauyr (Little Brother), Serik Aprymov

Eastern Boys, Robin Campillo

Jigoku de naze warui (Why Don’t You Play in Hell?), Sono Sion

Mahi Va Gorbeh (Fish and Cat), Shahram Mokri

Je m’appelle Hmmm…, Agnes B.

Medeas, Andrea Pallaoro

Il terzo tempo, Enrico Maria Artale

Palo Alto, Gia Coppola

Piccola Patria, Alessandro Rossetto

La prima neve, Andrea Segre

Ruin, Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Michael Cody

The Sacrament, Ti West

Still Life, Uberto Pasolini

Vi ar bast! (We Are the Best!), Lukas Moodysson

La vida despues, David Pablos

Wolfskinder (Wolfschildren), Rick Ostermann

Amazonia, Thierry Ragobert (Closing film)


Cindy Davis, (Twitter) is no darling bud.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • zeke_the_pig

    Terry Gilliam's existence in the world of cinema makes me continuously happy. Never mind the variable quality of the films he makes; to me he's a director who makes the very idea of 'quality' into a secondary concern. Which is a very strange thought if you think about it, but Gilliam's passion, his inventiveness, his unique view on the world; they all add up to give an impression of a man endlessly searching, questing. And you start to think: perhaps he's not looking for anything in particular. Maybe he's realised that the thing needing to be found isn't actually a thing, but instead it's the very impulse to search, and finding it means living it.
    Or maybe I'm talking out my arse. But either way - yay, Terry Gilliam.

  • e jerry powell

    Hmmm. I haven't seen a good, quality self-emasculation since Barbet Schroeder put one on Depardieu in Maîtresse back at the end of the Cretaceous.

    Tye Sheridan. Is he getting genre-cast?

    Errol Morris and his strange fascinations. Always interesting.

    Schrader, worrisome? Why? Is it the LiLo thing? Or is it Ellis?

    Also: SWINTON.

  • I read Child of God on a road-trip a few years ago and I'm honestly wondering how an adaptation of it could work. I felt like lots of it was pretty much un-film-able. The casting of Lester looks great, but I don't know. The book made me feel a little physically sick at times and while I respect that McCarthy Went There in a big way, I'm not sure how you translate all of that to screen without a prohibitive rating.

    It's really depraved, you guys.

  • Exactly. Made me feel sick too.

  • Anne At Large

    Re: Night Moves. Will somebody make a movie of the Monkey Wrench Gang already? Think of how fun that would be to cast!

  • Someone needs to kickstart that. The commentary from/between environmentalists and anarchists would be worth the investment of a few ducats.

  • Artemis

    Lord, I love Judi Dench. I feel all happy just looking at stills of her.

    Also, is it just me, or does Nic Cage look... attractive? Could it be? Apparently the answer all this time was just a thorough de-greasing and growing a beard.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Except the beard looks fake.

  • Maguita NYC


  • Maguita NYC

    I am now officially infatuated with the goodness that is Rick Smolan. The way he talks about meeting Robyn Davidson and Natasha is just so heartwarming, it brought tears to my eyes.

    Also, looking forward to watching Tracks. I may be in the minority, but John Curran's Painted Veil was beautifully made; Naomi Watts and Edward Norton were mesmerizing to watch and played off each other well The whole movie should have gotten better coverage and reviews.

  • mrsdalgliesh

    Seconding the rec to watch the whole Rick Smolan video.

  • TCH

    Hopefully Under The Skin Will be good.

  • Zirza

    The source material was pretty impressive.

  • lowercase_ryan

    So Parkland has a decent cast?

  • Maguita NYC

    Yes. But ANOTHER JFK movie...

  • lowercase_ryan

    I agree, it's time for American cinema to shift focus to Bobby.

  • Maguita NYC

    Whyyy are you pushing me into downvoting you?!

  • lowercase_ryan

    But seriously, Bobby was so much cooler than JFK, IMO.

  • Maguita NYC

    Although he lacked a bit of his brother's public charisma, he had this aura of kindness around him... I am no Kennedy apologist (Joseph was a despicable being), but what I've read and watched about Bobby so far, made me believe that he really did not have the temper for politics.

    Why do you find him more interesting?

  • lowercase_ryan

    I just think he was a better person. Nicer.

  • Maguita NYC

    I agree on that one. In today's world, he would not have made it as far he did back then.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I've...I've...ugh, I've got a case of the Mondays?? :/

    ok I'm done for reals, no more pushy push

  • Maguita NYC

    It's okay, the fruit accepts you and is fond of flashing snark.

  • lowercase_ryan

    what did you have to google to find this??

  • Maguita NYC

    Your screaming outrage is bothering the professor. (I'm in class... yes, I sexoogled in class) .

  • abby725

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  • lowercase_ryan

    I'd love to puni...shit, I feel everyone's eyes on me right now.

  • Maguita NYC

    Forgot them as well. Thank you Disqus!

  • lowercase_ryan

    flashing is cool but snark rules.

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