“Gravity” To Open The 70th Venice International Film Festival

“Gravity” To Open The 70th Venice International Film Festival

The highly anticipated flick Gravity is slated to open in Venice at the anniversary La Biennale. Famed director of Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men, and Y Tu Mama Tam Bien director Alfonso Cuaron, directs Hollywood heavy weights George Clooney and Sandra Bullock in this suspense sci-fi thriller. 

This year’s main jury is led by director Bernardo Bertolucci (“Last Tango in Paris”) and includes Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and French actress Virginie Ledoyen.

Unusually, two documentaries are among the 20 films vying for the top prize. One is “The Unknown Known: The Life and Times of Donald Rumsfeld” by Errol Morris, about the former U.S. Defense Secretary who oversaw the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Other U.S. contenders in the competition are “Parkland” (by Peter Landesman), starring Zac Efron, about the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated; “Joe” (by David Gordon Green), where Nicolas Cage plays an ex-convict who encounters a teenage boy; and “Night Moves” (by Kelly Reichardt and starring Jesse Eisenberg), about three environmentalists who conspire to destroy a dam.

Judi Dench plays a mother searching for the son taken away from her decades earlier in Stephen Frears’s “Philomena,” also in the official competition.

Screening outside the official contest is a documentary about cyclist Lance Armstrong and Italian director Ettore Scola’s movie on the life of fellow filmmaker Federico Fellini.

The full line up:

MERZAK ALLOUACHE – ES-STOUH

Algeria, France, 94’

Adila Bendimerad, Nassima Belmihoub, Ahcene Benzerari, Aïssa Chouat, Mourad Khen, Myriam Ait El Hadj

GIANNI AMELIO – L’INTREPIDO

Italy, 104’

Antonio Albanese, Livia Rossi, Gabriele Rendina, Alfonso Santagata, Sandra Ceccarelli

ALEXANDROS AVRANAS – MISS VIOLENCE

Greece, 99’

Themis Panou, Eleni Roussinou

JOHN CURRAN – TRACKS

UK, Australia, 107’

Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

EMMA DANTE – VIA CASTELLANA BANDIERA

Italy, Switzerland, France, 90’

Elena Cotta, Emma Dante, Alba Rohrwacher, Renato Malfatti, Dario Casarolo, Carmine Maringola

XAVIER DOLAN – TOM À LA FERME

Canada, France, 105’

Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy, Evelyne Brochu

JAMES FRANCO – CHILD OF GOD

USA, 104’

Scott Haze, Tim Blake, Nelson Jim Parrack

STEPHEN FREARS – PHILOMENA

UK, 94’

Judi Dench, Steve Coogan

PHILIPPE GARREL – LA JALOUSIE

France, 77’

Louis Garrel, Anna Mouglalis

TERRY GILLIAM – THE ZERO THEOREM
UK, USA, 107’
Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton

AMOS GITAI – ANA ARABIA

Israel, France, 84’

Yuval Scharf, Sarah Adler, Uri Gavriel, Norman Issa, Yussuf Abuwarda, Shady Srur, Assi Levy

JONATHAN GLAZER – UNDER THE SKIN

UK, USA, 107’

Scarlett Johansson

DAVID GORDON GREEN – JOE

USA, 117’

Nicolas Cage, Tye Sheridan, Ronie Gene Blevins

PHILIP GRÖNING – DIE FRAU DES POLIZISTEN

Germany, 175’

Alexandra Finder, David Zimmerschied, Pia Kleemann, Chiara Kleemann, Horst Rehberg, Katharina Susewind, Lars Rudolph

PETER LANDESMAN – PARKLAND

USA, 92’

James Badge Dale, Zac Efron, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, Marcia Gay Harden, Ron Livingston, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Jackie Weaver, Tom Welling, Paul Giamatti

HAYAO MIYAZAKI – KAZE TACHINU

Japan, 126’

(Animation)

ERROL MORRIS – THE UNKNOWN KNOWN

USA, 105’

Donald Rumsfeld (documentary)

KELLY REICHARDT – NIGHT MOVES

USA, 112’

Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard, James Le Gros

GIANFRANCO ROSI – SACRO GRA

Italy, 87’

(documentary)

MING-LIANG TSAI – JIAOYOU (STRAY DOGS)

Chinese Taipei, France, 138’

Lee Kang-sheng, Lu Yi-ching, Lee Yi-cheng, Chen Shiang-chyi.

Venice Film Festival will also feature

VENICE Classics – A selection of restored classic films and documentaries on cinema   CHANTAL AKERMAN – LE 15/8 (1973) Belgium, 42’   CHANTAL AKERMAN – HÔTEL MONTEREY (1972) Belgium, Usa, 65’   RAY ASHLEY, MORRIS ENGEL, RUTH ORKIN – LITTLE FUGITIVE (1953) Usa, 75’ Richard Brewster, Winifred Cushing, Jay Williams GIANNI BORGNA (CURATED BY) – PROFEZIA. L’AFRICA DI PASOLINI ..

OUT OF COMPETITION Feature Films – Important works by directors already established in previous editions of the Festival     SHINJI ARAMAKI – SPACE PIRATE CAPTAIN HARLOCK Japan, 115’   ALFONSO CUARÓN – GRAVITY Usa, 90’ George Clooney, Sandra Bullock   SALVO CUCCIA – CUCCIA – SUMMER 82 WHEN ZAPPA CAME TO SICILY Italy, Usa, 80’ Gail Zappa, Moon Zappa, Diva Zappa, Dweezil Zappa, Mathild…

ORIZONTI aka NEW TRENDS in World Cinema – VALERIA ALLIEVI – QUELLO CHE RESTA Italy, 20’ (documentary)   SERIK APRYMOV – BAUYR (LITTLE BROTHER) Kazakhstan, 95’ Almat Galym, Alisher Aprymov   ENRICO MARIA ARTALE – IL TERZO TEMPO Italy, 96’ Stefania Rocca, Stefano Cassetti, Lorenzo Richelmy, Edoardo Pesce, Margherita Laterza   AGNÈS B. – JE M’APPELLE HMMM

The autonomous and parallel sections include The International Critics’ Week and The Giornate Degli Autori – Venice Days.

The official screening schedule will be announced mid-August.

The 70th Venice International Film Festival will be held on the Lido of Venice from 28th August to 7th September 2013 and is directed by Alberto Barbera.

The oldest festival in the world, MOSTRA is a competitive event for features and sorts. Two competing sections and three Prizes: The Golden Lion, The Lion of the Year, and The Lion of the Future to best director’s debut film.

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Siesta

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Life would just slow down to a pleasant slow motion and soon to a freeze frame… The noises of kids playing on the street would subside, the aroma of the slow cocking minestrone in the kitchen would tickle your nose, mixed with the gardenias and the lemon tree blossoms, a Don Giovani aria would slowly lull you in a pleasant afternoon siesta…

Zenocratic Destinations: Tuscany’s Castello di Casole

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Sun streamed into the beautiful room, which looked like the lair of some Tuscan aristocrat with soft terra cotta tile floors, massive chestnut beams overhead and powder blue walls. With the windows open, the autumn air induced a languor, so I settled into the plump sofa upholstered in nightshade velvet with another cup of tea and read the morning papers. The sleigh-shaped extralong bath tub in front of the window guaranteed we’d be getting off to a seriously slow start on this Saturday morning. Sure, there was a tempting new restaurant I’d heard about in Sienna, and friends in Florence, plus several good museum shows, but none of this was going to happen, because I’d very quickly figured out that the best thing to do at the just-opened 41-room Castello di Casoleresort is to rusticate.

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To be sure, even if you eat elsewhere in Tuscany, there are lots of things to do besides have a meal on this 4,200-acre, newly renovated estate, the largest privately owned one in in the region. Paddle around the gorgeous heated infinity pool, swoon in the spa or grunt in the gym. You can also hike, bike, learn to make pizza, hunt wild boar or opt for a tutored tasting from the brilliant winemaker Paolo Caciorgna, who manages the estate’s 88 acres of vineyards and whose organic label Dodici, a blend of merlot, cabernet and petit verdot, is one of the more suave and original Tuscans I’ve tasted. Or you can just idle, which is what we did without actually making a decision, and ultimately the reason why this hotel is such a great addition to any tour of Tuscany, because the one thing everyone always forgets to include is a day or two to take it easy. Although we did scoot off to the excellent Osteria del Borgo in the nearby hilltop hamlet of Mensano for some pappardelle ragù di cinghiale one day, and went on several wonderful long walks

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What a difference a day makes. The previous afternoon, I was apprehensive to see whatTimbers Resorts, a Colorado-based American time-share company and hotel group, had done with the hilltop hideaway of the late Luchino Visconti, a magnificent property of forest, fields and vineyards. It was almost as if Martha Stewart had been hired to freshen up Versailles. I’ve witnessed some pretty queasy resultswhen eager marketing-driven Americans disembark in the Old World with not just a can-do but a know-better attitude — the sorry sacking of the Italian hotel chain CIGA, now part of Starwood, and Paris Disneyland immediately come to mind.

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But no. By spending 35 million euros and working closely with the inspectors of the Belle Arti, the body charged with preserving Italy’s cultural heritage, Timbers Resorts pretty much admirably aced it. During a delightful weekend at the handsome hilltop Castello, which is also the centerpiece of the time-share villa project on the surrounding estate, the only false notes I clocked were the ugly metal shopping-mall-style sign indicating Tosca, the hotel’s gastronomic restaurant, and an overuse of balsamic vinegar, a flat-footed gastronomic flaw that’s oddly more American than Italian, in the same restaurant’s otherwise very good and imaginative cooking. (Try the buckwheat spaghetti Felicetti, a surprisingly good riff on Roman cacio e pepe with the ur-American addition of grilled chicken strips.)

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To be sure, I preferred the Castello’s second restaurant, the Pazzia Pizzeria, because it was more in keeping with the rustic chic setting, and the service style throughout the hotel is very North American, since many guests here like the odd mix of deference and intimacy implied by having your waiter orwaitress remember that you always have a soy-milk cappuccino before your egg-white omelet, or some such. One can throw darts at the evolving codes of plutocratic privilege in the 21st century, but the bottom-line reality is that the young staff here, mostly local hires, really are blushingly eager to please; their sincerity originates from the ancestral customs of rural Tuscan hospitality, which protect and honor a stranger, so in the end everyone goes away happy from this very successful aesthetic high-wire act.

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Castello di Casole, Località Querceto, Casole d’Elsa, Tuscany, Italy; 011-39-057-796-1508. Suites from about $815.

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