Michael Moore to bring acerbic wit to Venice

2nd September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" is among 24 selections competing for the Golden Lion award at this year's Mostra, the world's oldest film festival.

Rome -- Michael Moore unleashes his acerbic wit on the world financial crisis and US fashion designer Tom Ford makes his directorial debut at the Venice film festival opening Wednesday.

Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" is among 24 selections competing for the Golden Lion award at this year's Mostra, the world's oldest film festival.

"It's got it all -- lust, passion, romance and 14,000 jobs being eliminated every day," says the Oscar-winning Moore, whose past targets have included President George W. Bush, the US health care system and the gun lobby.

Ford's "A Single Man" is based on Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel about a British professor in California mourning the recent death of his homosexual partner.

Starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, it is the first film by 48-year-old Ford, a former Gucci designer.

The film, "at least on paper," is in line to win this year's Queer Golden Lion, a prize independent of the Venice festival that has been awarded the past three years to gay-themed movies, according to organiser Daniel Casagrande.

"We were pleasantly surprised" at the selection of "A Single Man" for the main competition, he told AFP.

The jury will be chaired by Taiwanese filmmaker Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning director of "Brokeback Mountain," which also won in Venice in 2005.

Lee's "Lust, Caution" won the Golden Lion two years later.

"The importance of 'Brokeback Mountain' has been enormous in terms of having a gay love story accepted by a broad audience," said Casagrande, whose jury has identified 14 candidates for the 2009 Queer Golden Lion, up from nine last year.

In all more than 80 films will be presented at the prestigious festival, which has a strong American presence both in and out of competition.

US stars include Nicolas Cage as a new "Bad Lieutenant," this time in New Orleans in Werner Herzog's film which the German director insists is not a remake of Abel Ferrara's 1992 cult thriller with the same title.

Ferrara, who told the Guardian online that Herzog and company "should all die in hell," has a film out of competition at the festival, "Napoli, Napoli, Napoli," a documentary on the southern Italian city.

Herzog's film has the tagline "Port of Call New Orleans."

Also out of competition, Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney stars with Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey in "Men Who Stare at Goats," set in Iraq, and Matt Damon stars in Steven Soderbergh's comedy "The Informant!"

The festival will open with an Italian movie for the first time in 20 years, with the latest picture from "Cinema Paradiso" director Giuseppe Tornatore, "Baaria," an epic love story based in a Sicilian village.

Iran will lead topical themes at the festival as 21-year-old Hana Makhmalbaf previews her film about the violence that followed the disputed June presidential election.

"Green Days," using a mix of raw footage from the protests and fictional sequences about the position of women in Iran, was a late addition to the lineup and will be screened outside of competition.

A different Iran, that of 1953 when a US- and British-backed coup installed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi to power, is the subject of the in-competition "Zanan-E Bedun-E Mardan" (Women Without Men) by Shirin Neshat.

The Lido will also host an inaugural 3-D competition, with eight films competing and a career Golden Lion for John Lasseter and his Disney/Pixar team.

New 3-D versions of their "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" will screen at the festival.

"The Wrestler," starring resurgent American actor Mickey Rourke, won the Golden Lion last year.



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