The 69th Venice Film Festival kicks off later today (running from 29 August-8 September) with Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist – showing on the Lido and out of competition – starring Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed in what looks to be a handsome adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s 2007 novel. There are some 17 films vying for the prestigious Golden Lion all in all, with one surprise film still be announced.
We have a mix of established masters such as ‘Beat’ Takeshi, who presents his Outrage (2010) sequel, Outrage Beyond, and Brian De Palma, who returns to the kind of psychosexual territory with which he came to fame with new film Passion. The plot of corporate skulduggery and sexual power games, starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams, feels very 1980s, but with the current reverse gear Hollywood seems to be stuck in, that might just fit the bill.
Of course, the biggest entries from Hollywood have to be Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Terrence Malick’s new film To the Wonder. The latter a relationship drama set in the American Midwest about a man (Ben Affleck) returning from a failing relationship in Europe to find himself with the girl who got away (Rachel McAdams once more). To the Wonder may be the biggest unknown of Venezia 69, and could possibly settle the dust that was raised by the director’s divisive – if admired – The Tree of Life (2011).
Showing in glorious non-digital 70mm, P.T. Anderson’s The Master is eagerly-anticipated, even though the ‘will he, won’t he’ of the film’s selection and the plethora of sneak previews have irritated the upper echelons of the VIFF, a festival which prides itself on presenting fifty feature films through all the sections, all world premieres. Also one to watch will be misery master Ulrich Seidl, who presents the second part of his Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Faith (Paradise: Love was shown a few months back at Cannes).
Olivier Assayas brings along his 1960s-based coming-of-age film Something in the Air, which, after his impressive mini-series Carlos, could well be a highlight. Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers looks pleasingly mad, starring teen idols Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez in what could be break-out roles as bikini-clad thieves who get bailed out by local thug Alien, played by James Franco. Plus, we also have Robert Redford directing and starring in a political thriller and Spike Lee’s documentary on the making of Michael Jackson’s hot album Bad.
The 69th Venice Film Festival runs from 29 August-8 September. For more of our Venice 2012 coverage, simply follow this link.