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Venice Review: Israeli Film Academy Best Picture Nominee 'Bethlehem'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 28, 2013 3:50 PM
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  • 0 Comments
Venice has welcomed Israeli films into its line up many times over the last few years: tank-bound war film “Lebanon” was a Golden Lion-winner a few years back, and last year saw “Fill The Void” become something of a crowd-pleaser at the festival. “ Bethlehem,” the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Yuval Adler might have started a little more under the radar than those films: it’s in the Venice Days sidebar, rather than the main competition as its predecessors were. But thanks to a promising trailer, and appearances in both the TIFF and Telluride line-up, the film’s certainly been the center of plenty of talk in the last few weeks.

Venice Review: Alfonso Cuarón's 'Gravity' Starring Sandra Bullock & George Clooney

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 28, 2013 6:22 AM
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  • 24 Comments
Gravity, Bullock, Clooney
Since JFK vowed to put a man on the moon in 1961, space has represented untold possibility. Hope. Optimism. But once we actually got there, we realized what a terrifying place it can be. An endless void, freezing and/or burning, a place without air or life. But most terrifyingly of all, if you die in space, you die alone: thousands of miles above and away from your loved ones. And more than anything, aren’t we most afraid of dying alone? Alfonso Cuaron seems to think so, as that’s the fear that drives his new film, the extraordinary “Gravity.”

Terrence Malick's 'To The Wonder,' Brian DePalma's 'Passion' & Harmony Korine's 'Spring Breakers' Lead Venice 2012 Line-Up

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • July 26, 2012 5:40 AM
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  • 16 Comments
After something of wild goose chase (see above), the Venice line-up was announced this morning on the festival's official site, and although somewhat given away by the TIFF announcement a few days back, the big ticket is "To The Wonder," the second film in two years from anti-prolific auteur Terrence Malick. The film stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Javier Bardem, Barry Pepper, Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams, and the latter also features in another big premiere, starring alongside Noomi Rapace in Brian DePalma's latest, "Passion." The U.S. line-up is also completed by Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price," with Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, and in a surprise move, Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers," with James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez.

The Amazing Race: Which Awards Contenders Came Out Of The Venice/Telluride/Toronto Derby On Top?

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 16, 2011 5:44 AM
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  • 11 Comments
After two bonkers weeks, the September festival season is just about dragging to a close (at least in terms of major awards-season debuts; Fantastic Fest is pretty much imminent, but it's not an awards player and the NYFF follows hot on its heels, but most of those films have screened already). And as ever, the films that we're likely to see strutting their stuff at the Kodak Theater -- and the ones that we won't -- have started to come into focus.

Aleksandr Sokurov's 'Faust' Wins Golden Lion At Venice Film Festival

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 10, 2011 6:20 AM
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  • 9 Comments
Michael Fassbender Takes Best Actor, Chinese Surprise Film 'People Mountain People Sea' Wins DirectorWe might have abandoned the Lido a few days ago, but somehow festival organizers felt able to go on with the final awards ceremony without us this evening. With a jury led by Darren Aronofsky that also included David Byrne, Todd Haynes, Mario Martone, André Téchiné, Ejia-Liisa Ahtila and Alba Rorwacher, it was anyone's game, although for much of the week, talk had pegged Steve McQueen's "Shame" and Yorgos Lanthimos' "Alps" as potential front-runners for the big prize, the Golden Lion. However, the winner turned out to be something of a surprise, albeit one that buzz was tipped off to in the run-up to the awards.

'Carnage,' 'Shame' 'March,' Tinker Tailor' & More: Our Complete 2011 Venice Film Festival Coverage

  • By The Playlist
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  • September 8, 2011 12:22 PM
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  • 4 Comments
Wrap Up Coverage From Telluride 2011 As Well, Including 'The Descendants' 'Albert Nobbs' & 'Butter'While there are two more days officially left on the Venice Film Festival schedule, for us, the Lido is now closed. Our man in the field, U.K. writer Oliver Lyttelton did a bang-up job and delivered what felt like 20 reviews in nine days, and at a rapid and coherent clip no less. While the Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today, we've already seen many of the highlights of the fall film festival that you're highly anticipating.

Venice '11 Review: 'The Last Man On Earth' A Promising But Flawed Sci-Fi Tinged Italian Debut

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 8, 2011 4:35 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It might seem, particularly after a summer at the multiplexes like the one that we've just had, that American culture is driven entirely by the comic book. But that's not quite true; superhero movies might be all the rage, but comic books themselves remain a relatively niche passion -- this July, only "The Amazing Spider-Man" sold more than 100,000 copies, and it remains tainted by associations of geekdom, generally confined to comics shops. In Europe, in particular France and Italy, things are different; it's almost impossible to walk into a paper stall or tabac without seeing a book like Blueberry, Largo Winch, Danger: Diabolik or Dylan Dog, and they're bought by readers from kids to the elderly.

Venice '11 Review: 'Killer Joe' A Terrific Texan Tale With A Revelatory Matthew McConaughey Turn

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 8, 2011 2:06 AM
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  • 4 Comments
In recent years, film translations of stage hits haven't been as prevalent as they once were. You might get the occasional "Doubt" or "Rabbit Hole," for instance, but compared to the early days of the talkies, when a large proportion of movies were based on Broadway hits, it's been slim pickings; audiences and critics have learned that most attempts at stage-to-screen translation fail to make the material truly cinematic.

Venice '11 Review: 'The Exchange' An Odd, Half-Interesting Follow Up To 'The Band's Visit'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 7, 2011 5:21 AM
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"The Band's Visit" was something of a runaway success when it started doing the rounds in 2007. The feature debut of Israeli director Eran Kolirin, it told the story of an Egyptian police orchestra who become stranded in an Israeli desert town. Warm and witty, it became the best-reviewed foreign film of 2008, and was controversially denied the chance to be Israel's Oscar entry because of the rule that no more than 50% of films' dialogue can be in English. It's taken Kolirin a little time to follow it up, but that sophomore film has arrived, premiering today in Venice, and it's a definite about-turn from its predecessor.

Venice '11 Review: Surprise Film 'People Mountain People Sea' Is A Hard, Unsatisfying Journey

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 7, 2011 4:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments
The surprise film at a festival always has a tricky time living up to the sky-high expectations. Everyone brings in their own hopes and dreams, however unrealistic they may be, and the finished product has to be pretty special not to underwhelm -- witness the near-riotous reaction at the London Film Festival a couple of years ago when the surprise turned out to be not "Where The Wild Things Are," as widely-rumored, but instead Michael Moore's "Sicko." The reaction is slightly different at Venice, thanks to a reputation that the selectors hold back the most miserable, grueling film for the secret slot, so much so that most audience members are delighted if the film turns out to be anything other than footage of a close family member being slowly murdered.

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