Once again, Venice Film Festival titles offer Oscars hope | world cinema | Hindustan Times
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Once again, Venice Film Festival titles offer Oscars hope

The Venice Film Festival has become a popular launchpad for many Oscar aspirants. This year too will see big names. These include George Clooney (Suburbicon), Darren Aronofsky (Mother) and Alexander Payne (Downsizing) among others.

world cinema Updated: Aug 03, 2017 13:49 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Jennifer Lawrence in a still from Darren Aronofsky’s Mother.
Jennifer Lawrence in a still from Darren Aronofsky’s Mother.

It is not the Cannes Film Festival, but Venice which has in recent years become the most important launchpad for every Oscar aspirant. George Clooney with his Suburbicon, Darren Aronofsky with Mother and Alexander Payne with his opening night out-of-competition title, Downsizing, are some who are tipped to get into the Academy Awards early next year.

We also have Ritesh Batra’s English language Our Souls at Night -- starring two of Hollywood legends, Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

Payne will arrive on the Lido, that picturesque island off mainland Venice that hosts the festival, with his science fiction work, Downsizing: a funny but thought provocateur about a man who decides to shrink himself. Matt Damn essays this man, who wants to set an example in a world which is unimaginably overpopulated.

In fact, Damon has scored a double whammy this year by also appearing in Clooney’s Suburbicon -- which is written by brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, who gave us gems like Fargo, No Country for Old Men and Inside llewn Davis. Suburbicon is a period piece set in the 1950s and talks about a peaceful suburban community which is shattered by a home invasion.

Aronofsky’s (who chaired the Venice Competition jury in 2011) Mother has Jennifer Lawrence in a psychological thriller. The work created a scandal of sorts when it released a terrifying poster -- on Mother’s Day -- of Lawrence holding her “bloodied heart”.

George Clooney’s Suburbicon stars Matt Damon as the lead hero.

Also to be taken note of will be Guillermo del Toro -- whose movie on the Cold War, The Shape of Water (with Sally Hawkins), will compete with 20 others for the prestigious Golden Lion in a festival, which is the oldest in the world, having begun its run in 1932.

Britain’s Lean on Pete (adapted from Willy Vlautin’s novel) will also vie for the Golden Lion -- narrating a story about a young boy and his affection for an incapacitated race horse. Some of the others in this top category will be the Japanese helmer, Hirokazu Koreeda, with his crime drama, The Third Murder, French auteur Abdellatif Kechiche’s (who gave us Blue is the Warmest Colour) Mektoub My Love, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Frances McDormand and directed by Martin McDonagh), and Paulo Virzi’s comedy, The Leisure Seeker, starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

Outside the Competition, the festival will offer films like Stephen Frears’ Victoria and Abdul, which will have Judi Dench reprising her role as Queen Victoria two decades after starring as the monarch in Mrs Brown) and Loving Pablo, a biopic of Pablo Escobar starring Javier Bardem as the drug kingpin.

The festival will close with Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage Coda, a Yakuza adventure from Japan

Here is the full list of Competition titles:

Human Flow, Ai Weiwei

Mother!, Darren Aronofsky

Suburbicon, George Clooney

The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

L’insulte, ZIad Doueiri

La Villa, Robert Guediguian

Lean on Pete, Andrew Haigh

Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno, Abdellatif Kechiche

The Third Murder, Koreeda Hirokazu

Jusqu’a la Garde, Xavier Legrand

Ammore e Malavita, Manetti Brothers

Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Hannah, Andrea Pallaoro

Downsizing, Alexander Payne

Angels Wear White, Vivian Qu

Una Famiglia, Sebastiano Riso

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton

The Leisure Seeker, Paolo Virzi

Ex Libris- The New York Public Library, Frederick Wiseman

(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Venice Film Festival for 18 years.)

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