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Venice Fest “No Longer Special” Say Critics

Newspaper critics are increasingly being put off by how expensive the Venice Film Festival, which begins tomorrow, has become. One critic from Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf says that he can spend two weeks covering Toronto for the same cost of one week in Venice. This at a time when newspapers are reducing staff and slashing travel budgets. Increasingly, critics are covering either the first few days or the closing few days. The London Guardian is sending just two critics and a reporter to the festival. And those two critics who are leap-frogging each other.

Baz Bamigboye, show-business reporter for the Daily Mail, tells me: “My sense is that it’s no longer special. There are fewer important films and the place has become another junket nightmare.” Bamigboye isn’t going to Venice this year. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian agrees: “Venice is declining in importance.”

A deeper problem though is Hollywood stars staying away. It’s very expensive to get Hollywood A-listers to come out to Italy. And when they are there, they want to stay at one of the city’s big luxury hotels such as the Gritti Palace or the Danieli – both of which are some distance from the Lido, where the fest takes place. Even transporting Hollywood stars from their suites to the event becomes expensive. Distributors cannot justify dropping so much money this early in the awards season. Toronto is a great deal … Read More »

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Venice Announces Competition Line-Up

New movies from Sofia Coppola, Darren Aronofsky, Vincent Gallo and Julian Schnabel will be slugging it out on the Lido. This year’s Venice Film Festival will take place September 1-11. Twenty two films will be competing for the Golden Lion. Among the name European and Asian directors are Germany’s Tom Tykwer and Japanese directors Takashi Miike and Anh Hung Tran. Terrance Malick’s The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, was expected to be In Competition too. Venice says that one more title will be added to the line-up on September 6.

Movies screening Out of Competition include Robert Rodriquez’s Machete, Ben Affleck’s The Town and his brother Casey Affleck’s Joaquin Phoenix documentary I’m Still Here.

The Competition
13 Assassins, Takashi Miike, Japan
Attenberg, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece
Barney’s Version, Richard J. Lewis, Canada/Italy
Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky, USA
Black Venus, Abdellatif Kechiche, France
Detective Dee and the Mystery of Phantom Flame, Tsui Hark, China
Happy Few, Antony Cordier, France
Meek’s Cutoff, Kelly Reichardt, USA
Miral, Julian Schnabel, USA/France/Italy/Israel
Noi Credevamo, Mario Martone, Italy
Norwegian Wood, Anh Hung Tran, Japan
La Passione, Carlo Mazzacurati, Italy
La Pecora Nera, Ascanio Celestini, Italy
Post Mortem, Pablo Lerrain, Chile
Potiche, Francois Ozon, France
Promises Written in Water, Vincent Gallo, USA
Road to Nowhere, Monte Hellman, USA
A Sad Trumpet Ballad, Álex de la Iglesia, Spain
Silent Souls, Aleksei Fedorchenko, Russia
The Solitude of Prime Numbers, Saverio Costanzo, Italy
Somewhere, Sofia Coppola, USA
Three, Tom Tykwer, Germany

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