In my dreams, I am a famous and ill-regarded (though highly paid and well-traveled) critic and Dustin sends me to all the film festivals. I stay at the finest hotels and share witticisms with highly regarded directors over cocktails, my arms dripping jewels and handsome actors. More likely, I’d end up outside of town at the Chateau de Ill Spoken Words with Lars von Trier, sharing sideways glances from Kiki Dunst.
While the press has been having a field day with director Lars von Trier and his controversial comments at the Cannes Film Festival, another set of directors and films have been gathering for this year’s Venice Film Festival. And don’t think for one moment that von Trier hasn’t got a relief pitcher waiting in the wings; Roman Polanski’s latest film, God of Carnage is sure to get that whole discussion going again and I’m sure the director will say something to set it all off (even if he can’t travel to Italy). But let’s get back to the amazing line-up of films, because holy cannoli (Yeah, I know, not Venice—Sicily! Close enough.), I’ve gotta get myself to Venice, STAT.
Heading up the 68th Venice Film Festival jury is director, Darren Aronofsky. Among the films debuting will be David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, which reunites the director with his Eastern Promises star, Viggo Mortensen. A Dangerous Method stars Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, Mortensen as Sigmund Freud and Keira Knightley as the object of their desire; Vincent Cassel is a nice side dish of psychoanalyst, Otto Gross. Holy hotness!
Also in competition will be Todd Solondz’s Dark Horse, a tale of love “between two thirty-somethings in arrested development,” starring Christopher Walken, Justin Bartha (The Hangover, Parts I and II) and Donna Murphy (“Trust Me,” Spider-Man 2, The Fountain).
Cameron Crowe will show his Pearl Jam documentary, Pearl Jam Twenty and Jonathan Demme, his documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Dogtooth director, Giorgos Lanthimos will debut Alps. Contrary to my assumption that it is some sort of mountain survival story, Alps tells “the story of a hospital night nurse who provides peculiar services to families that have lost their loved ones. She is part of a group whose members offer, for a certain fee, to replace the recently deceased in their random everyday exchanges with the mourning families.” Intriguing, no?
Steve McQueen (The Hunger) will debut his latest, Shame, starring Michael Fassbender as a young man who has trouble controlling his sexual impulses after his younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves in with him.
And of course, no film festival would be complete without a polarizing director showing, so Roman Polanski’s God of Carnage will make its first appearance. The film boasts an all-star cast: Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, who portray two sets of parents gathered to discuss a fight between their children. What is intended to be a peace-making meeting devolves into…I don’t know…I’ll guess, carnage?
And finally, rumor has it that both Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh will each be showing one of their new films. Among the choices are Soderbergh’s Contagion and Haywire and Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn and The War Horse.
The 68th Venice Film Festival kicks off August 31, 2011.