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At Venezia: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Romola Garai and Miss Marx, Mare fuori, and Mandibules premières

Filed by Lucire staff/September 5, 2020/23.52




Iosip Mihail

Day four at the 77ª Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia, the Venice Film Festival, saw the Corradi Cinema Lounge at the Ausonia Hungaria host director Susanna Nicchiarelli and actress Romola Garai, there for the première of their film, Miss Marx, a biopic about Eleanor, Karl Marx’s daughter, who addressed issues of feminism and socialism.
   The Duke’s Roger Michell and Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent returned for a second day. Massimiliano Caiazzo also popped into the lounge to promote his upcoming RAI TV series Mare fuori, as did Non odiare’s Luka Žunić, director Mauro Mancini and producer Mario Mazzarotto.
   Sky’s 100 × 100 Cinema interviewed film critic Francesco Castelnuovo at the Lounge.
   On the red carpet for Miss Marx were Nicchiarelli and Garai, as well as Patrick Kennedy, Philip Gröning, and Felicity Montagu. Mandibules also had its première on day four, with Greco-French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos and her fellow cast members.




















Iosip Mihail

 


Venezia day 3: Mădălina Ghenea, Francesca Sofia Novello, Karina Nigay, Eleonora Bernardi Zizola

Filed by Lucire staff/September 4, 2020/22.50




Iosip Mihail

On day 3 of the 77ª Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia, Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent and Notting Hill director Roger Michell were present at both the Corradi Cinema Lounge and the red carpet for the film The Duke, which tells the story of a man who sneaks into London’s National Gallery to steal a portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Goya.
   Est director Antonio Pisu and cast members Matteo Gatta, Jacopo Costantini and Italian X Factor judge, Lo Stato Sociale singer Lodo Guenzi were also present at the Lounge, as was Padrenostro actor Francesco Gheghi and Romanian model and actress Mădălina Ghenea. They were also on the red carpet, joined by Arisa, Francesca Sofia Novello, Pierfrancesco Favino, Karina Nigay, Angelo Quarti, Eleonora Bernardi Zizola, and the cast of Padrenostro.












Iosip Mihail

 


Venezia day 2: Cate Blanchett, Stacy Martin, Tilda Swinton on the red carpet

Filed by Lucire staff/September 3, 2020/22.57




Iosip Mihail

The second official day of the 77ª Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia, the Venice Film Festival, saw the Corradi Cinema Lounge play host to the film Amants, the French thriller directed by Nicole Garcia. Stacy Martin, Pierre Niney and Benoît Magimel represented the cast at the Lounge, and later on the red carpet. Lacci’s Daniele Luchetti and Sofia Georgovassili, and Apple’s Christos Nikou returned for further press activities at the Lounge at the Ausonia Hungaria hotel.
   On the red carpet, Cate Blanchett wore a top by Alexander McQueen, from its spring–summer 2016 collection. At the La voix humaine première, Tilda Swinton donned Chanel, in a long-flared coat in white silk crêpe and guipure lace with floral motifs from the spring–summer 2020 haute couture collection. Jewellery was from Chanel’s haute joaillerie collection, with a Lion Sculptural ring and bracelet, each in 18 ct yellow gold and diamonds.


Franco Origlia









Iosip Mihail

 


Venezia kicks off festival with Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Ester Expósito, Élodie Yung, Taylor Hill

Filed by Lucire staff//0.18




Mihail Iosip

With COVID-19 still infecting people around the world, there was no Festival de Cannes to report on in May, but Venezia has managed to kick off a restricted version of the 77th Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica, or the Venice Film Festival, for 2020.
   September 1 saw the start of the Corradi Cinema Lounge at the Ausonia Hungaria hotel, which hosted the cast of Daniele Luchetti’s Lacci, this year’s opening film at the Mostra. The Lounge also hosted directors Andrea Segre (Molecole) and Carlo Hintermann (The Book of Vision).
   September 2, the day of the opening ceremony, saw the Lounge host director Christos Nikou and actress Sofia Georgovassili from Apples, Giona A. Nazzaro, and Jacopo Chessa. Sky Cinema 1 also filmed an episode there for broadcast on September 4 for its 100 × 100 Cinema programme with host Piera Detassis.
   On the red carpet for the opening were president of the jury Cate Blanchett, Adriano Giannini and Gaia Trussardi, Anna Foglietta, Daniele Luchetti, Diodato, Elena Bouryka, Élodie Yung, Ester Expósito, Giulia Rosmarini and Alberto Barbera, Giulia Valentina, Laura Morante, Linda Caridi, Luigi Lo Cascio, Marracash, Paola Turani, and Taylor Hill.
   Tilda Swinton was awarded the Golden Lion award and wore a Chanel white cotton blouse with smocking motifs and a long black crêpe layered skirt from the spring–summer 2020 haute couture collection, accompanied by the Chanel haute joaillerie Tweed frangé earrings in 18 ct white gold and diamonds, and the Plume de Chanel ring in 18 ct white and yellow gold and diamonds. Chanel also created her make-up.
   The Lounge showcases the exterior designs from Corradi, and is now in its sixth year at the festival. It has partnered with Hotcorn.com, a cinema website.























Mihail Iosip

 


Greed a topical comedy about fast fashion and the practices that support it

Filed by Jack Yan/June 28, 2020/12.01

Greed, the new Steve Coogan comedy directed by Michael Winterbottom (The Trip), is a satirical tale about a thinly disguised version of Sir Philip Green, the head of Arcadia Group, who stood accused by various British government committees of plundering British Home Stores while it was under his company’s control. The phrase levelled at Sir Philip, ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, once dealt to Tiny Rowland, is used here at Coogan’s Sir Richard ‘Greedy’ McCreadie, just in case you weren’t sure whom they were parodying.
   Lucire attended one viewing at a packed cinema, where moviegoers were turned away as it proved to be far more popular than anticipated.
   Given the cast—Coogan, Isla Fisher, and David Mitchell—it would be wrong to expect much more than a comedy, and on this count, it delivers, with more topical panache than most films of the genre.
   Up for criticism by the film are fast fashion—McCreadie spends his adult life pushing suppliers in Sri Lanka (the Indian locations are unconvincing) into a race to the bottom—as well as the shallow “unreality” of reality TV, or, as the trade calls it, unscripted drama. Included in the mix are the corrupt practices of modern business and their legal loopholes, and tax havens such as Monaco, where McCreadie’s ex-wife, Samantha, played by Fisher, is resident. Through all of this is the device of the officious bystander, Sir Richard’s biographer, Nick, played by Mitchell, who gets to interview certain parties, which Winterbottom shoots in documentary style.
   Sir Richard’s 60th birthday bash on Mykonos obviously references Sir Philip’s £5 million 50th on Crete in 2002, right down to the togas, and this is where things take a turn that not even Sir Philip’s enemies would wish on the milliardaire. Asa Butterfield, as the McCreadys’ younger son, and Dinita Gohil, as Amanda, a Sri Lankan-born Brit working for McCready, give the film more depth at the points where it’s needed, showing that the farce in which the ultra-rich live have real victims, inside and outside of the immediate family. Whovians will spot Pearl Mackie as Cathy, the director of the reality show in which daughter Lily McCready, played by Sophie Cookson, stars, trying the Method whilst playing herself.
   There’s a sense from earlier reviews—inevitable that we would have seen them given New Zealand’s later release—that the film doesn’t know what genre it is, whether it’s comedy, drama or documentary, an assessment with which we disagree. While the film puts a new spin on the term ‘eat the rich’, the last act wraps up the entirety of the film neatly: namely that for all the lessons that we might have learned, the fictional McGready family ticks on, with little changed. No, the outcome isn’t funny, but it is a call to action—it’s Winterbottom exercising pathos. Showing statistics about fast fashion, the income gap, and the single-digit earnings of Asian garment workers takes that one step further. Are we choosing to fund these lifestyles and the fast-fashion machine, or should we opt for the sort of designers often championed by this magazine, who work with Fair Trade, eschew seasons, and emphasize quality?
   And sometimes it takes a film that is largely entertainment to make us realize just what has been going on. The message could well be lost if this were an out-and-out documentary, which would have had a limited audience; better to have us question our consumerist habits—you know, the ones we still observed as we lavished Amazon with US$11,000 per second as the COVID-19 pandemic panic began—in the form of entertainment, ensuring a wider reach. It’s not the first to do this, and it won’t be the last—it’s a long tradition that includes The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and South Park on television and, more recently, the oddly slow-moving Brexit with Benedict Cumberbatch, and the German feature Curveball. There’s nothing more appealing in the grey depths of winter, with overseas travel not available to us, than sunny, colourful Greek locales. And when you can travel again, pack those labels with a more ethical background.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


A farewell to God Friended Me

Filed by Jack Yan/April 30, 2020/12.59


Above: Cara Bloom (Violett Beane) and Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) in God Friended Me.

What a pity that CBS’s God Friended Me has ended its run after two seasons. As fans will have read elsewhere, the producers received word that the series would not be renewed as they were making the last episode, during a time when New York was heading into lockdown. Luckily, there was some unused footage shot for the pilot that was always intended to be where the lead character, Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) would wind up, and they brought that forward, used some narration, clips and VFX, and added it to the core story that they already had in the can.
   I became a fan not because I saw any promotion of it here in New Zealand, but in a real round-about way. Violett Beane, who plays Cara Bloom on the show, was pitched to me by her agent many years ago, when she was in The Flash. But it was always tricky to shoot a North American celebrity outside of New York, where a lot of photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists and stylists are based. Some years later, I reached out and was told I was in luck: Violett was now based in New York and everything came together from there.
   Of course, I had to watch the show in order to know what to ask her, and that came in handy later when I interviewed Javicia Leslie, the actress who plays Ali Finer—out of sheer coincidence the two found themselves in consecutive issues of Lucire in New Zealand, though they were over half a dozen issues apart in Lucire KSA. And I must say I was hooked, and also pleasantly surprised that it was renewed for a second season, one that started with location filming in Paris.
   I had high hopes. Obviously the ratings were good enough for a second season, and the producers had enough faith to do some foreign location filming (though I spotted one ‘Paris’ exterior filmed in NYC). Here was a US show with a decent core message—a young man and his friends helping others in need—without a single gun or violent moment, and some compelling storylines.
   The fact an American show I watched was renewed for a second season was a surprise to me, since most that get my attention are cancelled after one. I imagine it’s because my tastes, and the tastes of the fans these shows earn, don’t reflect the majority. Yet go back a few decades, to the 1970s and 1980s, and I was hooked on those series that wound up being massive hits.
   I know US networks watch ratings like hawks these days, and with all the monitoring technology around, they know which shows are doing well out of sheer numbers. And oftentimes, they don’t get a chance when the numbers slip. Overseas sales count for nothing—even if these shows make their money back and even turn a profit, the fact that we foreigners like them doesn’t count for a thing.
   That seems to be the case for God Friended Me: decent enough ratings on telly but an insufficient gain in DVR playback. Viewers in the 18–49 demographic were down 26 per cent and overall the show was down 20 per cent—enough for the axe to swing.
   Sadly, too, it’s cheaper to do unscripted drama, which is what the TV is full of these days. Whenever I channel-surf, there are precious few scripted series—the old saying that there are more channels now with nothing to watch couldn’t be truer. It then becomes all too tempting to put in a DVD from US television’s heyday—Mission: Impossible is my current go-to—and forget terrestrial television altogether.
   Over the years it’s British television that has caught my attention, and I’m happy to watch those dramas. They also have a natural conclusion, either because few episodes were commissioned to begin with, or they are given a chance to wrap up the storylines.
   Of the American shows this side of the millennium, I think of Daybreak with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood; Journeyman with Kevin McKidd and Gretchen Egolf; Flash Forward with Joseph Fiennes; even the US remake of Life on Mars with Jason O’Mara and Harvey Keitel (never mind the ending, I was a fan of the original and wanted more). None of these managed to get past a single season and I keep wondering if they are too high-concept for viewers now accustomed to the fast-food equivalent of television: reality shows.
   The ones I give up on—Lost, for instance, and Manifest, which started around the same time as God Friended Me—seem to go on for a while.
   I didn’t want to see any more Lost when I found out at the beginning of season 2 what was down the hatch. That was the only mystery I wanted solved. And I could see that Manifest wasn’t going to tie up its loose ends any time soon, so at the end of the 16th episode, I bid it adieu. Yet these are high concept, so something must hook viewers with different tastes to me.
   The only 21st-century US series you could say hooked me, at least for a few years, and that has managed to last 10 seasons is the reboot, reimagining, remake or sequel of Hawai‘i Five-O. Officially, the producers say it’s a reimagining but from the first episode that wasn’t very clear. Steve McGarrett Jr (Alex O’Loughlin) has inherited a car from his father, Steve McGarrett Sr, that looks exactly like the one Jack Lord (the original McGarrett) drove in the original series. When Ed Asner guest-starred, there are clips from the original series, and he tells the star that it was his father, McGarrett Sr, who put him away back in the 1970s. So it’s a sequel. But if it was, then how come the younger McGarrett coincidentally has a partner with the same name (‘Danno’) and is joined by another cop with the same name as someone on the force a generation ago (Chin Ho Kelly). I can deal with Kono being played by a woman. Once I couldn’t work it all out, I gave up.
   That aside, Hawai‘i Five-O is the usual cop fare that happens to have incredible locations, and since a lot of US shows are dark (something I just don’t understand—is no one paying the lighting bills?), Hawai‘ian sunshine is a wonderful relief. And it’s not terribly high-concept, either: some minor story arcs here and there but nothing that gets in the way of the crime of the week.
   With hindsight, perhaps God Friended Me strayed from this slightly. There was still the friend suggestion of the week for Miles to help, sure, but season two saw the characters become accustomed to it (‘You know how the God account works’). If the characters themselves recognize the formula in their universe, what’s in it for us? You can have a formula show, yes, but don’t let the characters be aware of the formula themselves. Secondly, for me, the cancer storyline that Javicia’s character faces might cut things too close to home for those of us who have been through a family fight against the condition. For a show that offered some escape, that was a real downer. And when Miles loses interest in discovering who or what is behind the God account, then inevitably we would, too—his progress there was what kept things interesting for me.
   I wish I wasn’t dissecting the second season like this and, instead, looked forward to the show returning after the break. It is, however, disappointing news, and it could again be years until I hear about another US show that I could be interested in. The fact they keep pulling the plug on them makes you want to avoid getting invested. So, anyone know what new series Bharat Nalluri has got his hooks into? I might have to see that.—Jack Yan, Publisher

 


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