Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Up and running at the Venice film festival

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mendesWe’re off.

After weeks of planning, the Venice film festival finally launched today with a lengthy, sentimental Italian entry as the opening film, “Baaria.” It is the first home-made movie to start the annual festival in around 20 years, and, if the budget is anything to go by, it should do well. The movie, which is more than two-and-a-half hours long, cost a whopping 25 million euros to make.

Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore (of Oscar-winning “Cinema Paradiso” fame), “Baaria” is set in Sicily and spans the 1930s to the 1980s. It tells the story of Sicily, and more broadly of Europe as a whole, through three generations of the same family.

Critics are divided. One I spoke to hated it, another I have just read liked it. Venice could do with an Italian hit, after so many have failed to impress in recent years.

I’ve just come out of a screening of “The Road”, starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, in an interpretation of Cormac McCarthy’s grim novel about a man and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The father-son relationship at its heart is tough to watch for a dad of two young boys like me, and it’s not what I would call an easy watch. But then the acclaimed book was not an easy read either. I’ll be interested to see what the critics say about the movie, and how Mortensen found the shooting when he speaks to us in an interview.

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