Big Sunday at Venice Film Festival with Six Flixx

By  Alex Deleon

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Alice Vikander and Eddie Redmayne on Danish Girl poster
1. [10:45] THE DANISH GIRL: Class!
Both Redmayne and wife in the film, Alicia Vikander, are superb. Classy pastel shaded photography provides perfect support for period feeling. Exquisite sets and decor. The central subject aside from the obvious gender transformation is the search for self identity and marital fidelity in the face if an impossible marital situation. Great psychodrama, great everything ~~ a strong candidate for the Golden Lion and other awards.

 

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[14:00]. Kurosawa’s 1965 Redbeard restored. Mifune and Kayama Yuzo in top form. Mifune’s last of 16 films with Kurosawa. He was to Kurosawa what John Wayne was to Ford.
Red Beard (赤ひげ Akahige) is a 1965 Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa about the relationship between a stern but idealistic town doctor and his obstreperous new trainee.

Dostoevsky’s novel The Insulted and the Injured was the source for a subplot about a young girl, who is rescued from a brothel. Leading up to the rescue is a terrifically amusing brawl in which Dr. Niide thoroughly pummels a half dozen thugs set upon him by brothel madame Sugimura Haruko, one of Japan’s best character actresses
Red Beard examines problem of social injustice and explores two of Kurosawa’s favorite topics: humanism and existentialism. A real treat to see this Kurosawa classic in a freshly minted new print.


[18:00]. L’attesa (The Wait) Italian film starring Juliette Binoche as mother who cannot accept that her son is dead and refuses to reveal this for two tedious hours to son’s girlfriend who comes to visit. Shaggy dog take on Waiting for Godot. So boring that after a while even the endless closeups of Binoche’s marvelous physiognomy start to grind on viewer nerves. Impressive cinematography wasted on pointless tale that could have have been told in ten minutes. Waste of time unless you are absolutely mad about Binoche, which I was until this.
[19:30]. HEAVEN CAN WAIT, 1943 Lubitsch classic in lush technicolor restoration. With Gene Tierney, Don Ameche, Charles Coburn, Marjorie Main. An old roué, Ameche, arrives in Hades to review his life with Satan, (Laird Cregar) who will rule on his qualifications for entry. Eventually Satan rules to have him sent to the Other Place, upstairs. Gene Tierney’s ethereal beauty holds up as she ages. Super luscious sets, duds, and great character roles with sparkling dialogues made this a delectable antidote to the endless ennui of L’attesa.
[20:30] BABY BUMP, an 80 minute Polish romp incorporating animation and all kinds of visual stunts that can only be classified as a trip film in the trippy sixties sense. Lively, light, and lots of fun, as a warm-up for the heavyweight Afghan documentary to follow immediately in the same screening room.


[22:00] FLICKERING TRUTH. An astounding 90 minute documentary by Pietra Brettkelly of New Zealand on the desperate salvaging and saving of 8000 hours of Afghan film history in rusting cans from the hands of the culture destroying Taliban. Filmed entirely in Kabul with excerpts from old films including a newsreel of President Kennedy welcoming the king and queen of Afghanistan to Washington in 1962, and other fascinating historical clips from older films. Amazing and oh so timely. Next stop for this remarkable doc which premiered here is Toronto,

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Juliette Binoche at L’Attesa press conference looks a lot better than she did in the film

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In the stern of the midnight “water bus” (Vaporetto) back to Giudecca island after a long day on the Lido dutifully watching films.

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