Film Fests x 5: Venice program, TIFF slate, diversity issues, Russian interference, Fall favorites

Movie Love, Italian Style: Films by the Coen Brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass, Mike Leigh, and Damien Chazelle are among those slated for the 75th annual Venice Film Festival, opening Aug. 29. (New York Times); related coverage via Deadline, The Guardian, Variety,, Reuters, and The Jerusalem Post.

venice film

Diversity? What Diversity? Only 1 of 21 entries in competition at Venice Film Fest was directed by a woman (Hollywood Reporter).

TIFF Ahead: The 43rd Toronto International Film Fest program, Sept. 6-16, will include Bradley Cooper‘s directorial debut, “A Star is Born,” Barry Jenkins‘ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Steve McQueen‘s “Widows,” Claire Denis’ “High Life,” Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself,” Damien Chazelle‘s “First Man,” and Jason Reitman‘s “The Front Runner.” (L.A. Times); related coverage via Hollywood Reporter.

Just say Nyet: New Russian regulations may force festival shutdowns in the former Soviet Union (Moscow Times).

Fall Film Fest Circuit: Some highlights (Film School Rejects).







Hemingway Sightings in “The Words”

It makes sense: “The Words,” a movie largely focused on writers and the art and craft of writing, offers¬† several nods to Ernest Hemingway.

In one sequence, a young writer (Ben Barnes, left, with co-star Zoe Saldana) sits at a Paris cafe, just after World War II, smoking, and reads Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”; later, angry about a personal tragedy, he knocks the same book off a shelf and throws his manual typewriter on the floor.

In another passage, set in Paris, circa now, another struggling writer (Bradley Cooper) views a plaque memorializing Hemingway’s stint in the city during the 1920’s.

The film, structured as a story within a story within a story, is well written, and features several impressive acting performances, particularly Jeremy Irons as an elderly man whose long-lost manuscript is discovered, decades later, by another writer, who proceeds to pass off the book as his own.

Great to see Hemingway continuing to get much love in popular culture lately (HBO’s entertaining if misguided “Hemingway and Gellhorn”; Paula McLain’s beautifully written novel “The Paris Wife”; Woody Allen‘s “Midnight in Paris”). Meanwhile, some academics have decided, for reasons of political correctness, to disdain the great writer and his works.

“The Words,” co-written and co-directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal (making their directorial debuts), opens this Friday.