Magical musical to kick off star-studded Venice festival
AFP photoAbewitching musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone whipped up a frenzy on the opening day of the Venice film festival Aug. 31 as it kicked off the race for the Golden Lion.
Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” a tribute to the Golden Age of American musicals, reunites the stars, who appeared together in the 2011 romcom “Crazy, Stupid, Love” but with oodles of singing this time.
The world’s top film critics, gathered on the glamorous Lido di Venezia for the 10-day fest, cheered loudly as Chazelle and Stone met the press following the screening of the joyful, quirky film which won hearts from the opening shot.
This world premiere of the tale of a struggling jazz pianist and his actress girlfriend in Los Angeles is the first of 20 films in competition at the 73rd edition of the world’s oldest film festival.
This world premiere of the tale about a struggling jazz pianist and his actress girlfriend is the first of 20 films in competition at the 73rd edition of the world’s oldest film festival, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10.
This year’s line-up on the glamorous Italian island is notable not only for its A-list headliners, from Denzel Washington to Michael Fassbender, but also for the profusion of genre movies, he said.
Dystopian love stories, period dramas, adventure epics, revised Westerns and sci-fi thrillers are all showing at the Lido extravaganza, where Hollywood’s crème de la crème rock up in water taxis to dazzle on the red carpet.
And Venice will be the first festival to host a special virtual reality viewing salon. A 40-minute preview of “Jesus VR” will see viewers “experience” the birth of Christ in the first virtual reality feature-length film ever made.
The beach-side festival has restored its reputation as an awards-season platform by producing the last two Best Picture Oscars, “Spotlight” and “Birdman”, in a challenge to the mammoth Toronto film festival.
All eyes will be on the jury, led by British film director Sam Mendes, for hints as to the next Oscar favourite.
Security is high at the venue, with road blocks and bag checks after the summer’s jihadist attacks in Europe.
While champagne corks were popped and canapés scoffed at luxury Venice hotels on the eve of the festival, the gala dinner on the opening night was cancelled as a mark of respect following a deadly earthquake in Italy.
Films battling for the Lion include Iranian-American Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Patch”, set in a Texas wasteland and starring Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey, as well as Derek Cianfrance’s romantic period drama “The Light Between Oceans,” featuring real-life couple Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.
Among the most anticipated premieres is legendary director Terrence Malick’s 3D documentary about the birth and death of the universe. “Voyage of Time,” a project 40 years in the making, is narrated by Cate Blanchett.
Mel Gibson will be making his directorial comeback after a 10-year break with “Hacksaw Ridge” about a World War II army medic who was the only conscientious objector ever to win the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Former creative director at Gucci, Tom Ford, who wowed critics and the public alike with his directorial debut “A Single Man” in 2009, is back with “Nocturnal Animals”, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. And there is already a buzz about the out-of-competition offering “The Young Pope,” a 10-part series by HBO telling the life of fictional Pius XIII, with a cigarette-smoking Jude Law as the first U.S. citizen pontiff in history.