2016 Venice Film Festival Highlights

Last week marked the beginning of the 73rd Venice Film Festival. Arguably one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the 2016-line up for Venice is showing some serious potential for what could be an epic fall for cinema.

Source: Indiewire

The festival, which will run until Sept. 10 has been a hot topic of conversation over the past few days, from celebrities to wardrobe malfunctions, but taking the forefront are these five fantastic films. 

The opening night kicked off on a high as it debuted with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. Receiving unanimous praise, the film has been the talk of Venice as it saw Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling reunite on screen for the first time since the 2011 Crazy, Stupid Love. Just the very idea of the reunion had audiences chomping at the bit, and it proved to be every bit worth the wait. La La Land is a modern musical that jolts from sad, happy, romantic and funny, keeping the audience on their toes and utterly captivated. The film chronicles Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress, who falls in love with Sebastian (Gosling), a bitter piano player. Both of them live in Los Angeles, which plays the ambiguous third character of the film. The plot is fairly simple. Girl meets boy. What we see is a whirlwind romance that deals with the many hurdles of real life. Vanity Fair are claiming the charm of the film comes from Stone and Gosling’s natural performance,

He and his glowing co-star once again have a witty, winning chemistry.

The film will be released in US cinema’s on Dec 2.

Also on everyone’s mind is Mel Gibson’s latest directorial feat Hacksaw Ridge. This is Gibson’s first directorial film since his 2006 Apocalypto, and apparently it was well worth the wait as it received a rapturous response from both critics and audiences. Based on a true story, the film chronicles the story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) a conscientious objector, who, after saving 75 men in WWII, was awarded the Congression Medal of Honour. As a filmmaker, Gibson is renowned for his cynical, violent and bloody battle films, just take a look at Apocalypto, Passion of Christ or Braveheart. However, it would appear he has outdone himself, Critics claimed 

The films centrepiece, the bloody assault on Okinawa in 1945, is one of the most violent and impactful battle scenes ever filmed.

As the film played for audiences on monday night, it concluded with a 10 minutes standing ovation, something that is not as common at Venice as it is at other film festivals. It looks as though Hacksaw Ridge will be a likely contender the academy awards next year.

Hacksaw Bridge is set to be released in the US on Nov 3.

The next film fresh on everyone’s mind is Clint Eastwood’s Sully. Starring Tom Hanks, who plays the character of real-life captain Chelsey Sullenberg, who famously landed a US airways flight on the Hudson river just minutes after take-off in January 2009. Unlike every other cliche plane crash tale, Eastwood takes a different route, instead exploring the psyche of Sullenberg who suffers from the events that took place. So it’s no surprise that both Eastwood and Hanks have been highly commended for their teamwork on Sully which the Hollywood Reporter are referring to as

taut, upbeat drama [likely] to play well with the general audience,” reserving particular praise for the leading man, who “confidently carries” the movie.

Sully will be released later this week on Sept. 9 

We all know Tom Ford as the super successful fashion designer right? Well it would seem that he’s taken a different path as he made his directorial debut at Venice with his semi-layered thriller-romance Nocturnal Animals. Starring Amy Adams, Isla Fisher and Jake Gyllenhall, Ford has evidently capitalised on the notorious similarity between Fisher and Adams, who plays the wife of a cheating husband. After she receives a manuscript from her first husband, Edward (Gyllenhall), whom she believes wrote the book about her, the film moves into the second layer as Adams, who has insomniac tendencies, starts to see the action in the book played out. The protagonist of the book Tony, is also played by Gyllenhall and his wife is played by none other than Fisher, who’s character portrays the fictional version of Adams. The designer-turned-director has proved his worth as a filmmaker with a visual sensation, brimming with promises for both the box office and the academy awards. Nearly all reviews praise Adams and Gyllenhall as

The emotional centre of the movie.

The film is set to be released in the US on Nov. 18

Amy Adam’s seem’s to be having a pretty spectacular year as she stars in yet another Venice film favourite, Arrival, directed by Denis Villaneuve. However this time Adams play’s the role of linguist expert Louise Banks, who is drafted in by the military in an attempt to communicate with a mysterious alien race. The Sci-fi genre has had a pretty appalling year and Arrival is evidently just the sigh of relief we needed. It intelligently explores how a situation would unfold where we to have visitors from a distant planet, without disguising it as another over the top outer space blockbuster. The film has received astonishing reviews, some even calling it Adams best film yet and The Telegraph, who gave the film a 5 star rating and highlighted one of the scenes as

“the best and creepiest scenes Villeneuve has yet shot.”

The film will be released in the US on Nov. 11. 



What we have here are five fine examples of brilliant filmmaking. After a summer of disappointing blockbuster failures, The Venice Film Festival has provided all of us film lovers a perfect breath of fresh air as we not so patiently await the release of these promising films.

Which film will you see first?!