3 items from 2014
"Claustrophobia in nature caused by war" was the theme of the day in Venice. Not surprisingly, it also caused the most walkouts I’ve seen thus far. First up was Amos Gitai’s “Tsili,” set in a Ukraine forest during the last days of WWII. The prolonged solo dance by the film’s lead over the credits kind of forecasted something different, and Gitai didn’t really disappoint in that regard. A young Jewish woman, Tsili, having avoided or escaped from a concentration camp, is living in the woods. She’s played by two very different looking actresses, Sara Adler and Meshi Olinski, and voiced by a third, Leah Koenig. Not a lot happens: she forages for berries and nesting materials. We watch her do this in very long, static takes. I don’t know why, but we do. In the background, the sounds of warfare are constant, loud. Eventually, »
- Tom Christie
“Punishing” may be the appropriate default setting for Holocaust dramas on film, but restless Israeli auteur Amos Gitai goes for extra credit in “Tsili,” With its simple, bare-boned narrative made arcane by Gitai’s more intuitive poetic flourishes, this female-oriented, Ukraine-set survival tale makes grander emotional gestures as it goes along — integrating the eponymous Tsili’s grueling odyssey with that of her people at large. Still, this Venice entry is unlikely to be taken to heart by more than the director’s most patient fans; Gitai’s last few features have struggled to gain much traction with international distributors, and his latest looks to be no exception.
Bowing on the Lido one year after his single-take drama “Ana Arabia” — and days after his similarly stuntish short contribution to the portmanteau film “Words With Gods” at this year’s fest — Gitai’s latest concerns itself less with such overt gimmickry, though »
- Guy Lodge
The 71st Venice Film Festival announced its lineup this morning, highlighted by films from American directors, including David Gordon Green, Barry Levinson, Peter Bogdanovich, Lisa Cholodenko, Andrew Niccol, and James Franco. As had been previously announced, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and many others, will be the opening film when the festival begins on Aug. 27.
Click below for the entire list of 55 films playing in Venice.
A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence, directed by Roy Andersson
Starring Holger Andersson, »
- Jeff Labrecque
3 items from 2014
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