Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Venice bigs up the Irish and the devil

You have to laugh. Almost all the journos at the Venice Film Festival got it wrong. Many thought that Steve McQueen’s Shame would take the Golden Lion. A large bulk felt that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy was in with a …

Sat, Sep 10, 2011, 20:53

   

You have to laugh. Almost all the journos at the Venice Film Festival got it wrong. Many thought that Steve McQueen’s Shame would take the Golden Lion. A large bulk felt that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy was in with a serious shout. In the event, Darren Aronofsky and his jury handed the big prize to Alexander Sokurov’s Faust. Confusion was stoked by the fact that the film played after much of the press delegation had made its way to Toronto (or home). What few reviews there were did not exactly set the sky alight with critical fireworks. “Only time will tell whether this “Faust” is more pyrite than gold” Variety didn’t exactly rave. Well, I have faith in Darren, and Sokurov, director of Russian Ark, is one of the world’s great auteurs. We await its eventual release with eager anticipation.

But was it worth the loss of your soul, Alexander?

There was great news for the Irish at the closing ceremony. Michael Fassbender, interviewed by Screenwriter in today’s paper, took the best actor prize for Shame. Robbie Ryan, one of whose early jobs was on a short film called My Dinner With Oswald, took the cinematographer gong for Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights. Both are now officially giants in their particular fields.

Isn’t that the sort of thing you’d expect to see Michael Schumacher grasping?

You have to hand it to Aronofsky. I haven’t seen any of the films that triumphed. But the jury’s decision still seems to offer conspicuous support to the sat-upon world of art house cinema. The Silver Lion award to Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma also came somewhat out of left field. Pressing their case home with further force, the committee awarded best script to Yorgos Lanthimos and Eftimis Filippou for Alps. Neither Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy nor Roman Polanski’s Carnage won anything.

If any cinema pundits got more than a third of these right I’ll mention him or her in my will. (Facetious comments are not legally binding. All offers can be revoked without prior notice.)

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