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Venice/Venice (1992)

R | | Drama | 9 October 1992 (USA)
Dean is a maverick American film director surprised that his most recent film has been chosen as the Official U.S. Entry at the Venice Film Festival. A beautiful French journalist arrives ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Dean
Nelly Alard ...
Jeanne
...
Peggy
...
Carlotta
Daphna Kastner ...
Eve
...
Dylan
Suzanne Lanza ...
Dylan's Girlfriend
...
Alexander
Klaus Hellwig ...
Dean's Sales Agent
...
Edna Fainaru ...
Fan
Gudio Colella ...
Fan
...
Fan
Braguiti Luca ...
Waiter at Hotel des Bains
Sarah Gristwood ...
British Journalist
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Storyline

Dean is a maverick American film director surprised that his most recent film has been chosen as the Official U.S. Entry at the Venice Film Festival. A beautiful French journalist arrives at the festival with the apparent intention of interviewing the unique and eccentric filmmaker. In the midst of all the festival madness, she is forced to confront the wide divergence between things as they really are and things as they seem to be - both on screen and off. And so, finally, are we. Shot half in Venice, Italy and half in Venice, California, "Venice/Venice" looks at the profound effect movies have had - and continue to have - on our lives, our loves and on our dreams of romance. Written by Henry Jaglom

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

9 October 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Két Velence  »

Box Office

Gross:

$661,080 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry Jaglom went to Venice to promote New Year's Day (1989) which was being shown as an official United States selection at the Venice Film Festival. This explains David Duchovny's presence in this film, as he was in New Year's Day also. Jaglom decided to take advantage of his trip by filming a movie there. See more »

Quotes

Jeanne: Heisenberg said that one particle can be in two places at one time.
Dean: So you and I can be in two places at one time? Venice and Venice? Past and future. Movies and real life. It's all possible.
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Connections

Featured in Who Is Henry Jaglom? (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
sublime dualities
2 August 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

How to categorize "Venice/Venice"? If I had to invent a term, I'd call it "naturalistic romantic seriocomedy." If you like Eric Rohmer's films, you might also like THIS film. If you like Hollywood film... if your type of director is Capra or Hitchcock... "Venice/Venice" may seem trivial. The story doesn't go anywhere. The dialog seems to be about nothing. To top it off, it's heady stuff. Jaglom throws in an ample dose of physics and metaphysics. If you're looking to kick back with a flick and take in some good, ol' fashioned spoon-fed entertainment... you're looking in the wrong place with "Venice/Venice."

But...

It's also incredibly moving. The first half of the film is set in Venice and Lido, and Jaglom takes the opportunity to weave the beautiful scenery together in a way that both reflects and honors Visconti's film version of "Death in Venice." The film begins at the Hotel des Bains, where the Thomas Mann book begins. Dean (Henry Jaglom), an American director, is in Lido because one of his films is part of the Venice Biennale. He meets the beautiful young Jeanne (Nelly Allard), who demands an interview with him. The chemistry is immediate and obvious: Whatever is discussed is secondary to the facial expressions, the stares, the sounds of words. Jaglom does this MASTERFULLY.

Dean and Jeanne get to know each other... and they spend romantic moments around Venice. They have a falling out when Jeanne begins to feel that Dean is not the man she fell in love with in his films. They go their separate ways... Dean back to Venice, CA and Jeanne back to France. Dean settles back in with his girlfriend, Peggy (Melissa Leo) and is readying himself to start his next production. Then, Jeanne shows up. Unlike most films, where this would lead to some kind of conflict between the female leads... here, this leads only to a conflict within Dean, who is forced to make some important decisions.

What's wonderful about Venice/Venice is that it's confusing. It's not "one thing." It's drama, comedy, romance. It's set in Venice, Italy and Venice, CA... worlds apart in many ways and yet both well known to art-film directors. Dean is caught between a woman he has loved (Peggy) and a woman he wants to love (Jeanne)... between... you might say... the past and the future. Dean is played by Henry Jaglom. Jaglom is the director. He's both in front of and behind the camera. At one point, in the midst of a discussion of film, he encourages the group he's with to look in a particular direction, as if they were looking right into the camera... which, in fact, they are. You're not supposed to break through the so-called "fourth wall" and come out into the audience.

But that's exactly what Jaglom does.

Jaglom's mentor was Orson Welles. Welles was a rebel in the extreme. He broke studio rules. He both created and broke the rules of film-making. Like Jaglom, Welles was fascinated with finding the liminal space between reality and fiction... questioning the nature of truth itself. Welles' film "F for Fake" is one of these affairs, for example. And that's what "Venice/Venice" is in Jaglom's work. Without question, it's self-indulgent. Jaglom is psychoanalyzing and deconstructing himself right before our eyes. If you like the proverbial "film about film-making" (e.g., "Day for Night," "8 1/2", etc.)... you'll probably really dig this one.

There are a few things that I particularly love about "Venice/Venice":

1. Naturalistic/improvised dialog. People thought that Cassavetes was nuts when he did this back in the 50s in "Shadows." You'll notice that over the following decades... the whole sound and feel of dialog changed. Pre-Cassavetes... it was that snappy back-and-forth banter of Howard Hawks films that was the norm. Cassevetes and his naturalistic dialog never became mainstream... but it DID bring the mainstream to a place where we now hear people on the screen that sound somewhat like us. Jaglom is in that Cassavetes tradition. It's refreshing to watch a film like this once in a while. Crystal clean and no caffeine.

2. Wonderful actresses. Jaglom even says it in the film (as Dean.) Women are able to get more emotionally honest than men, and that's what makes women much more interesting subjects for art films. If you want nuanced personalities, cast great actresses. Jaglom not only features Melissa Leo and Nelly Allard... but Suzanne Bertish, one of the great actresses of TV, film and theater of our time. It's obvious that Jaglom wasn't interested in finding women to play parts. He cast these women to create their parts knowing that would also create chemistry.

3. The meaning creeps up on you. I love an "Oh, yeah... huh... interesting!" experience of film. I'm not into a spoon-feeding. If you tell me what to think... I rebel. Let me think for myself. So... while, to me, this is a film about choices, worlds in collision, dualities... about what it is to make film... about how women and men see each other (and there's some wonderful documentary-like footage about women's ideas on relationships in this film)... it can be about WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE. In my mind... great art stimulates. "Craft" entertainment manipulates.

4. Jaglom. If you like his personality, you'll like the film. If you don't, you won't. Another reviewer called Jaglom a "wanna-be Woody Allen" or something like that. Jaglom is NOT AT ALL like Woody Allen. He's heady, yes. Sarcastic. But he's obviously a true romantic at heart. I don't get that in ANY of Allen's movies... even "Annie Hall" or "Manhattan." Jaglom loves women, and I don't mean as hood ornaments. He's willing to bare his soul on the screen. Make me laugh, make me cry... move me. Jaglom has an incredible ability to make me feel everything on the sheer force of his personality and spirit.


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