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74th Venice Film Festival: Matt Damon in Lilliputian on the lagoon

Ⓒ AFP – Filippo MONTEFORTE – | Final preparations before the opening of the 74th Venice Film Festival, 29 August 2017

The Venice Film Festival, the oldest of the film festivals, kicks off on Wednesday its 74th edition with a social satire in the science fiction mode of the American director Alexander Payne and a first red carpet unrolled for the planetary star Matt Damon.

In Downsizing, an ordinary Omaha man (Matt Damon) dreams of a better life with his wife (Kristen Wiig). The planet is facing a crisis of overpopulation and the couple decides to take advantage of a radical discovery of scientists to shrink to 13 centimeters in height.

The solution to spend a lot less money and get an unexpected daily. Only spoiler, the wife of the new Lilliputian will change his mind at the last minute …

Payne, an observer of the human weaknesses, often explored with a good dose of humor in half-tone, will he win an Oscar thanks to his Venetian kick-off?

Artistic director of the Mostra, Alberto Barbera, likes to repeat that making the opening of the Mostra constitutes a winning spring for films that then took down the Hollywood grail. “La Land”, “Gravity” and “Birdman”, all presented in world premiere in Venice, thus won a rain of Oscars.

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – NICHOLAS KAMM – | American actor Matt Damon in Washington, April 20, 2017

Henceforth, the opening film – preferably American, media and accessible – is chosen with the greatest care by the organizers.

Alexander Payne won six Oscar nominations with his previous opus “Nebraska”, shot in black and white, a melancholy road movie with stripping dialogues, around an old man who no longer has his head and a son who goes to him To prove his love. At the age of 56, the Greek-American filmmaker has increased the number of awards and has already been Oscar winner for “Sideways” and “The Descendants” scenarios.

His seventh film will be in competition in Venice to win a prestigious Golden Lion against twenty competitors with varied profiles. In total, five American directors – the best represented – four Italians, two British, three French, one Mexican, one Australian, one Israeli, one Lebanese, one Japanese and two Chinese are expected in the lagoon.

– Fonda, Redford and Frears honored –

It was American actress Annette Bening (“The Scammers”, “American Beauty”) who was appointed president of the jury. It will be supported by three filmmakers (the Mexican Michel Franco, the British Edgar Wright, the Taiwanese Yonfan), the Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi, three actresses (the British Rebecca Hall, the French Anna Mouglalis, the Italian Jasmine Trinca) By Anglo-Australian film critic David Stratton.

Ⓒ GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives – Rich Polk – | American actress Annette Bening in Los Angeles, May 20, 2017

On Thursday, the festival will come to the fore with three world premieres with very different themes, starting with “First Reformed”, the latest work by Hollywood veteran Paul Schrader. A former military chaplain (Ethan Hawke), devastated by his son’s death, finds himself confronted with the secrets of his church, an accomplice of shady business with unethical multinationals.

Fans of the dark fantasy fables of the Mexican Guillermo del Toro will discover “The Shape of Water”, an account in the Cold War of the relationship between a mute housekeeper (Sally Hawkins) and a marine creature hidden by scientists in the ultra- Secret where she works.

Finally, the Lebanese Ziad Doueri will present “The insult”, history of the long judicial battle between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian, which will turn into a national confrontation.

The 74th edition will be held on September 1st by Robert Redford (81 years old) and Jane Fonda (79), who will receive a Golden Lion for their entire career and promote their new film side by side, produced by Netflix.

Another veteran, British director Stephen Frears (76), whose films like “The Queen” or “Philomena” have won numerous awards, will receive the prize “Glory to the director”, on September 3, before the Presentation of his latest film, “Confident Royal”. The film tells the true story of friendship unlikely and contrary to the conventions between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and an Indian secretary at the end of the nineteenth century.

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