This time I’ll talk about the disappointing movies I saw at the Venice Film Festival two weeks ago. I don’t like to dwell on negatives, so promise to be brief.
In the meantime, the pictures I have included in this post are shots of various pieces of graffiti I have found in Venice.
Normally I love short films. Unfortunately, unless you live near an art-house cinema they can be hard to find. One of my favorite features of this terrific film festival is access to many, many shorts. This year I watched 14 of them but I was not impressed. Here is a list (title, country where it was made, director’s name).
By The Pool, Lithuania, Laurynas Bareisa
Aria, Greece, Myrsini Aristidou
Tierra Mojada, Columbia, Jaun Sebastian Mesa Bedoya
Mon Amour Mon Ami, Italy, Adriano Valerio
It’s Easier to Raise Cattle, Malaysia, Amanda Nell Eu
The Knife Salesman, Australia, Michael Leonard
8th Continent, Greece, Yorgos Zois
Astrometal, Greece, Efthimis Sanidis
L’ombra della Sposa, Italy, Alessandra Pescetta
Ant Killers, Brazil, Joao Maria
Gros Chagrin, France, Celine Devaux
Himinn Opinn, Iceland, Gabriel Sanson
Death of the Soundman, Thailand, Sorayos Prapapan
Futuro Prossimo, Italy, Salvatore Mereu
My friends appreciated “L’ombra della Sposa” citing the special effects and the artistic filming. The dialog is a poem written to pay homage to the victims of a boat that sank between mainland Italy and the island of Sicily during WWII. I felt it was over dramatic to the point I stopped feeling sympathy for those victims and just wished they would shut up. But that’s just me.
The one I liked most – or more accurately disliked the least – was “The Knife Salesman.” It was comical, dealing with a door-to-door knife salesman visiting a the home of a frustrated housewife and mother. Plenty of clever sexual innuendo to keep the story fresh and interesting.
All told, though, the shorts this year were less than mediocre.
I also saw “Into the Night,” part of honoring the great director John Landis (“Blues Brothers” “Animal House” “American Werewolf in London” etc.). Made in 1985, it starred Jeff Goldblum and Michele Pfeiffer, with cameo appearances by Dan Aykroyd, Paul Mazursky, David Bowie and many others. While it was fun to see those actors young again and there were some funny bits, the story was really pretty stupid. I never cared much for Goldblum as an actor and this movie gave me no reason to change that opinion. I do think Pfeiffer is quite good, but this had to have been one of her first big roles and she was just OK. Best part of “Into the Night” was the soundtrack that featured lots of songs performed by the late great B.B. King.
Part 3 (the last one!): The Best Movie I Saw