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Venice Film Festival 2018 – Day 3 & 4 – Highlights


Posted September 13, 2018 by

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Venice Film Festival 2018 – Day 3 & 4 – Highlights

The third day on the 75th Venice Film Festival, a.k.a. Gaga Day as it humorously got referred to by the thousands of festival attendees, was marked by the arrival off Lady Gaga, starring alongside Bradley Cooper in a remake of the original 1937 A star is born, also a directorial debut for Cooper.

Gaga’s arrival on the Lido posing on the Vaporetto made the headlines, while the first screening with its loud rock tunes put the pop star higher up in her fans adoration, with a surprising ease delvers her debut on the big screen, playing Ally, a provincial girl who meets Jackson Maine, a famous singer and songwriter who soon becomes her mentor and kick-starts her career, while also becoming her lover and later life partner. Gaga is expectedly brilliant in the vocal performance scenes, singling next to Cooper who also seems very comfortable in the shoes of a rock star. The first 30 something minutes feel somewhat awkward but soon enough the characters pick up a pace and the chemistry between Cooper and Gaga carries on well through to the very end. With guest cameo appearances from famed drag queens Shangela and Willam Belli, the local bar club that Gaga is an occasional performer sets out the tone at the beginning of A Star is Born, filled with dynamic rhythm as one would expect from a pop star who’s become synonymous with the LGBTQ+ community since day one of her career. Quite memorable remains the surprise appearance of Lady Gaga on the first episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race, responsible for the fame of Shangela and Willam. The film may be out of competition but it is certainly set to break the box office upon its release in early October.

Venice Film Festival

The master of documentary filmmaking Victor Kossakovsky returned to the Mostra 7 years after Vivan Las Andipodas with Aquarella, an homage to… water and how earth’s most significant element has shaped our lives and continues to do so. A co-production of Creative Scotland, the BFI and the Danish film institute, the film features breath-cutting scenery from Scotland, Greenland, Russia and the US – from glaciers melting into the ocean, unimaginable waterfalls and destructive hurricanes, Aquarella is all about water, a vital component for the existence of humanity and a magnificent representation of the force of nature that fears nothing in its course. Kossakovsky always takes his projects a step further, here filming in 96 frames per second, while most high-tech cinemas, including the one at the festival here, can support up to 48. Stunning landscapes and shots from the most bizarre places – behind waterfalls, in the middle of a destructive hurricane in Florida, on the deck of a tiny boat in the middle of the vast ocean, all sharing a single component – water in all its forms. Aquarella is a thrilling epos, a unique new form of documentary. (Also read our interview with Viktor Kossakovsky from Venice)

Venice Film Festival 2018

One of the biggest highlights so far was yesterday’s premiere of Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Suspiria. The horror story takes us to divided Berlin where a young US dancer arrives to audition and join a world famous dance school. Only to find out that the matriarchal structure of the staff has a secret, well masked under their controlling and authoritarian attitude. Dakota Johnson plays the young dancer, while Tilda Swinton is portrays the rigid school headmaster, while also appearing as two more key characters in the film. As the story starts to untangle, Guadagnino creates complex swirling relationships between his characters, creating a rich but overly symbolic plot, which does not really come to a final resolution. With outstanding camera and sound work, fabulous performance from Swinton and an intriguing Dakota Johnson, Suspiria surprises, sustains the tension and the powerful build up to a final that reminds a bit of Tarantino’s slaughter scenes, with a touch of Aronofsky’s Mother and Dan Brown’s Illuminati rituals. Ultimately a very different Guadagnino serves probably one of the best horrors we will see this year and gives us a break to build up expectations for Call me by your name: The Sequel.


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