Venice Film Festival award season chatter Here’s a rundown of what’s clicking at the Venice Film Festival as potential award season contenders.

The Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky
Most critics and bloggers are intrigued by this film. Variety’s Justin Chang pointedly exclaims on Twitter: “In the battle of opening-night films: Venice 1, Cannes 0.”

Guy Lodge who is covering the festival for In Contention gives his guess for “Swan’s” odds:

Anne Thompson and I agreed at lunch today that the film has its work cut out for it in the top races — wild psychodrama not being the Academy’s strong point, particularly if critical opinion turns out to be split — and the extent to which voters (and audiences) warm to her vehicle will be a determining factor for Portman, given how deep the Best Actress field already looks.

Meek’s Cutoff directed by Kelly Reichardt

Guy Lodge is very excited about this film giving it four stars. The 19th century Western follows three families and two bookend characters on the Oregon Trail, “miles from a home that doesn’t exist.” Lodge is wowed by Michelle Williams. Williams matches the director’s “contained integrity” and opens out to a broader audience. It’s a film that Terrence Malick and John Steinbeck would savor. “Adventurous, ambiguous and truthful, ‘Meek’s Cutoff’ may be a marvel in itself, but it only sets up greater expectations for the future.”

Reign of Assassins directed by Su Chao-Pin and John Woo

In Contention gives this chopsocky film three stars, however, the film from their review doesn’t sound like an awards-worthy title.

“It does boast a goofy sense of humor, as well as a certain elasticity of genre as endearing as it is initially bewildering: this is the rare fighting film that takes sideways strolls into supernatural video-game territory and meet-cute rom-com,” says Lodge.

“Assassins” follows Michelle Yeoh as a killer who falls for an average laborer. Turns out the guy is more connected to her than she imagined. Along the way, she fends off others who have their sights on the mystical remains of a Buddhist monk.

Silent Souls by Aleksei Fedorchenko.

Hollywood Reporter is calling the film a ringer for the Golden Lion, the festival’s top prize. Drama is about a factory worker’s poetic and folkloric farewell to his dead wife.

The magazine further reports:

It was “Ovsyanki” (“Silent Souls”) that created the most buzz Saturday, immediately sparking speculation that it could be an early favorite for the coveted Venice Golden Lion. The film’s story is an unlikely road trip for the protagonist, played by Yuriy Tsurilo, and a close friend, played by Igor Sergeyev, embark on a ritual-filled road trip to bury Tsurilo’s wife by the riverside where the couple originally spent their honeymoon.

Somewhere directed by Sofia Coppola.

A drama-edy that focuses on a disaffected Hollywood actor’s escape at the Chateau Marmont and his relationship with his tween daughter. The film is based on Coppola’s childhood travels with her father Francis Ford Coppola at the height of his fame.

Point blank, Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere exclaims that the film is “minor” compared to Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” and is “out of the awards game altogether (although Stephen Dorff’s performance is the best career move he’s managed in a very long time).”

Lodge gave the film three and half stars, detailing, “For her part, Coppola has shifted (if not necessarily upped) her game too: always languid, her filmmaking has never before been this patient, lingering long past the obvious cutting point in observational scenes in a manner that will bewitch some and enervate others.”

Hollywood Reporter says the response to “Somewhere” was mostly enthusiastic.


Photo Credit: Focus Features, Fox Searchlight

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