Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Gravity will open Venice Film Festival

Alfonso Cuaron’s delayed space adventure provides the Italian event with a tasty starter.

Wed, Jul 3, 2013, 22:38


Golly, can it be time to talk about the Venice Film Festival already? Just about. That event kicks off at the very end of August. So, just to depress you, we are already discussing the lead in to the lead in to Oscar season. After Venice, we get Toronto and the hunt for little gold men takes off in earnest. If you want to take a slightly less depressing line on things, remember that Venice can seem like the end of a process that begins with Cannes. So, using that thinking, Spring will last into the beginning of September.

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Oh, don’t mind my waffling. Today’s news is that Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is to kick events off at the Lido. This, as you will surely be aware, is the two hander that casts Sandra Bullock and George Clooney adrift in near-space. It’s been in development forever. Every actress on the planet has been in the frame: Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Marion Cotillard, the inappropriately named Blake Lively. Now, this sort of thing used to be considered bad news. But, in production for centuries, The Tree of Life managed to bag the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Knocked around the schedules for just as long, World War Z became a modest hit. So, don’t read too much into all this. Cuaron has directed nothing since the brilliant Children of Men. We are, thus, hoping that he’s been storing up all kinds of magnificence. Let’s just pray that Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel only appears in the trailer. It’s a lovely piece of music. But it’s  almost as overused in movies as is The Goldberg Variations or Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

As we suggested earlier, Venice normally plays host to the films that weren’t quite ready in time for Cannes. We are, thus, hoping for word on Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. If Venice grabs all three of those (and they might) then there will be great whooping in the canals.

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