The Philippines' "Melancholia" directed by Lav Diaz won the Orizzonti prize for feature film in the Venice Film Festival. Last year, Diaz won the Special Mention in the Orizzonti for his documentary "E ncantos."Melancholia," according to Diaz, is an 8 plus hour meditation on love, life and suffering. It was shot in various locations around the Philippine cou ntryside.
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MY good hunch about our two entries in the ongoing Venice Film Festivalâs sidebar, Orizzonti, âJayâ and âMelancholia,â is proving to be right . (Photo: "Jay" delegation on the Lido [from left]: distributor Ferdy Lapuz, acto r-cinematographer Carlo Mendoza, lead actor Baron Geisler and writer-director-p roducer Francis Xavier E. Pasion) Financial Times came out with the first review of director Francis Xavier E. Pa sionâs âJayâ and it is very encouraging. The London paperâs critic, Nigel Andre ws, cited Francisâ directorial debut which stars Baron Geisler, Coco Martin and Flor Salanga, as one of the standouts so far in the festival on the Lido. Andrews wrote, âOn the Venice fringe there have been two films to cheer: an Ita lian reconstruction and a Philippine satire. Pier Paolo Pasoliniâs 1963 La Rabb ia (âRageâ) was a potion of screen rhetoric, never before seen in the undiluted form the director intendedâ¦Giuseppe Bertolucci (Bernardoâs brother) has re-as sembled the old material, added some never seen, and puts before Italy and the world Pasoliniâs true original rage, a scintillating montage of 20th-century ne ws footage â from Mussolini to Marilyn Monroe â unified and signposted by a gen iusâs vision. âPerfidious media managers; treachery in the name of truth. They are everywhere today, not least in the lies of âreality TV.â Francis Xavier Pasionâs Jay, fro m the Philippines, is an acutely funny tale of intrusive telly reporters, beari ng down on a family bereaved by a gay sonâs murder to make their grief part of a nationâs infotainment. They start by poking a lens at the familyâs faces as t hey learn the news; they end by getting them to act, or re-enact, every emotion al convulsion that needs a second, third or umpteenth take. The remuneration? T he reporters will help find the sonâs killer. By the time they do, even the mur derer, we know, will be signing release forms and hungrily securing his 15 minu tes of fame.â Congratulations to the âJayâ delegation now in Venice! Next, Lav Diaz unveils h is âMelancholiaâ on Saturday. I have high hopes for Lavâs second consecutive Or izzonti (Horizons) entry too.
"HOW disappointed you guys must be to have to interview me after Woody Allen," Colin Farrell told us as he sat down on a chair that was just vacated by his "C assandra's Dream" director, the legendary Woody Allen. The setting was a terrac e in Venice's Hotel Des Bains. Colin was being modest in light of his director's body of work. But the actor, chain-smoking Camels, wearing a hat and torn jeans, was and is always an intere sting, colorful interview subject. He admitted, "At first, I was very nervous working with Woody." But in the film , the nervousness doesn't show at all. He and Ewan McGregor boost the movie wit h their good chemistry as brothers. Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales
OUR camera flash failed us in this photo of Brad Pitt at the Excelsior Hotel in Venice but we liked the dramatic result. For once, the much-photographed and scrutinized actor looked enigmatic, mysteri ous. Brad breezed into town for the screening of his competition entry, "The Assassi nation of Jesse James." Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales
FROM playing a faun to a much-deserved leading man status in a big-budge ted romance-war drama, James McAvoy is certainly going places. The actor who first made a splash as a half-man, half-goat in "The Chronicles o f Narnia" is in Venice for the ongoing film festival. Jamesâ film with Keira Kn ightley, "Atonement," opened the festival to good reception. Over lunch at the famed Hotel Cipriani, James told us that he has wrapped up fi lming his movie with Angelina Jolie, "Wanted." But he is raring to go back to t he stage after having been away from the boards for at least a couple of years. He said he may be back in theater next year. We're happy for James -- he has remained the same simple, unassuming guy from h is "Narnia" days, when he was a virtual unknown. When we congratulated and told him that he's come a long way from "Narnia," James simply broke into an embarr assed smile. Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales
THE RED carpet at the Palazz o del Cinema is vacuumed in time for the opening of the 64th Venice Film Festiv al. Lav Diaz, the Filipino filmmaker known for his audacious, marathon films such a s "Batang Westside" and "Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino," gets the closi ng night honors in the festival's Horizons (Documentary) section. The running time of his latest masterpiece, "Kagadanan sa banwaan ning mga Engk anto (Death in the Land of Encantos)"? Oh, just a mere nine hours. Editor's note: Photo by Ruben V. Nepales