Venice Film Festival
by Joshua Moss
Recipients of the'96 Festival's Golden Lion, recognizing service to filmmaking are Robert Altman, Vittorio Gassman, Dustin Hoffman, and Michele Morgan. Hoffman was presented with his award at Wednesday's opening ceremony, while the other recipients will be honored at Friday's closing event. The jury for this year's festival is headed by Director Roman Polanski ("Rosemary's Baby", "Chinatown").
Aussies and Hoffa
The Venice Film Festival moved into its second half with Roman Polanski hosting a "virtual" set chat. The Filmmaker, who is the head of the film festival's jury, met with press in front of a blue screen which carried simulated background scenes.
Last night, saw the Venice premiere of "Love and Other Catastrophies", a low
budget Australian film. Co-star Matt Day ("Muriel's Wedding") told indieWIRE,
"When we were making it we all just thought it was a low-budget film, we
never thought it would be here (in Venice)."
Abel Ferrara's "The Funeral" has been playing to seriously mixed reactions,
some people loving it and other disliking it. Many audience members
commented that Annabella Sciorra, Chris Penn and Christopher Walken gave
great performances, but people are divided over the film. Meanwhile, at a
press conference, Ferrara received a large ovation from the Italian press.
One reporter asked him, "How do you feel about perpetuating the sterotype
and the myth of the mafia, which doesn't really exist?" Ferrara responded,
"Tell that to Jimmy Hoffa."
Christopher Walken, also here to promote "The Funeral", was asked why he keeps
playing psychos and killers. He replied, "Gosh, I'd love to play a normal
guy, with a wife and kid,...and you know, a dog, but no one seems to want to
offer me those roles!"
Mozart and Markets
Wednesday night marked the premiere of Jean-Luc Goddard's latest film "Forever Mozart", which was met with a less than appreciative response from the packed
screening. "Forever Mozart" is a surreal, non-linear story about the
travesties of the war in Bosnia. The project follows many characters, and
has a dream-like quality to it. Little to no applause followed the film,
which some audience members described as extremely disjointed, and somewhat
hard to follow.
An interesting aspect of this festival, is the lack of a marketplace. While
Sundance and Cannes, seem primarily made up of buyers and sellers, Venice has
the feel of a laid back, relaxing gathering place for the European film
community. Sure, cell phones are still ringing here, but people take their
time about answering them.
And the Winners Are:
Director Neil Jordan's "Michael Collins", the controversial film about the IRA,
won the top award at the Venice Film Festival Saturday. It pulled down the
Golden Lion awards for best film and Liam Neeson took home the best actor
The film, which also stars Julia Roberts, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, and Alan
Rickman, tells the story of Collins who was the IRA's director of
intelligence when he helped fight for Ireland's independence from 1919 to
1921. The film has caused some controversy in England, where some politicians
fear that the tension in Northern Ireland might be flared by the film.
"Collins" will be released in Britain later this year. Jordon's 1992 film, "The Crying Game" came under similar criticism for what some saw as a sympathetic
portrayal of the IRA.
4-year-old French actress Victoire Thivisol took home the Golden Lion award
for best actress. She starred in director Jacques Doillon's film "Ponette".
Thivisol plays a girl who trying to deal with the absence of her mother after
she is killed in a car accident.
Chris Penn won the best supporting actor prize for his role in Abel Ferrara's