Apart from the already-announced, much-anticipated world premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Birdman, the just-unveiled films set to play the 71st Venice Film Festival strike me as interesting and well-chosen as far as they go, but where are the sexy, award-season attractions? Or at least a surprise or two that no one saw coming? It’s fine for festival director Alberto Barbera to have gone with an assortment of mostly quirky, indie-level titles, but you need a little pop-pop-fizz-fizz with your kale salad and steamed carrots or the troops will get bored. If I was press-accredited with my ticket to Venice all paid for, right now I’d be saying “that’s it? Why didn’t I choose Telluride instead?”
Competition titles include David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn (one of two Al Pacino flicks screening, the other being Barry Levinson’s The Humbling), Andrew Nicoll‘s Good Kill (I’m sorry but I wrote Nicoll off a long time ago), Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes and Abel Ferrara‘s Pasolini.
Non-competing titles include the afore-mentioned Humbling (basically about Pacino, an aging actor, having an affair with a much-younger lesbian, played by the always-cool Greta Gerwig); Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way‘ Joe Dante’s Burying the Ex; a partial sampling of Olive Kitteridge, an HBO miniseries starring Frances McDormand; Michael Almereyda‘s Cymbeline; Josh and Ben Safdie’s Heaven Knows What; Ami Canaan Mann‘s Your Right Mind; Benoit Jacquot’s Three Hearts; Saverio Costanzo’s Hungry Hearts…I’m almost nodding out as I type this.
The Venice jurors will include Alexandre Desplat, Joan Chen, Tim Roth…I’m getting bored again.