The Venice Film Festival will open with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land on August 31 as part of the 20-odd titles competing for the Golden Lion.
Last year, Venice opened with Baltasar Kormakur’s mountain adventure, Everest -- where a number of climbers get caught in a severe snow storm.
In contrast, La La Land is a musical drama that reunites Chazelle with JK Simmons, who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as a punishing music instructor in the coming-of-age movie Whiplash. Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling and John Legend feature in lead roles in La La Land.
The festival director Alberto Barbera, called La La Land “a surprising tribute to the golden age of American musicals: “It is a film that does not merely reinvent the musical genre, it gives it a brand new start. If Whiplash was the revelation of a new moviemaker, La La Land is his definitive, albeit precocious, consecration among the great directors of Hollywood’s new firmament.”
The Hollywood romance traces the life of a couple -- Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress who serves lattes to film stars in between her disappointing auditions, and Sebastian (Gosling), a jazz musician who survives by playing cocktail gigs in seedy bars. As success begins to knock on their lives, Mia and Sebastian will have to confront decisions that affect their love affair.
Meanwhile, Barbera will remain head of the Festival for another four-year term, till 2020. His predecessor, Marco Mueller, also served the Festival as Director for eight years, and he is recognised as having been a driving force behind Venice’s revival after its longish bad patch. Muller now heads the Macau International Film Festival, whose first edition is slated for December. He briefly headed the Beijing International Film Festival.
The Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world having started in 1932 primarily as a platform for films propagating the message of Fascist leaders like Hitler and Mussolini, will run till September 10.
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