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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Venice Film Festival rolls with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth

Venice Film Festival took off with Japanese filmmaker’s The Truth, a mother-daughter story, set in Paris.

world-cinema Updated: Aug 30, 2019 16:35 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times
Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times
The Truth is set in Paris and stars Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche in lead roles.
The Truth is set in Paris and stars Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche in lead roles.
         

The 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival opened on Wednesday with Cannes Palm dÓr winner Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Truth in French language.

Making a film outside of Japan for the first time, Kore-eda, whose Shoplifters won the Palm dÓr last year at Cannes, did not quite hit the bull’s eye with his latest outing. In fact, this has been the case with several world class directors who kind of slipped when they dared to step outside their home and the familiar. If there was one movie of Satyajit Ray’s which was not considered great, it was Shatranj Ke Khilari – an effort he made in Hindi.

Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi made a gem called A Separation in Persian, but when he took his camera to France and made The Past, it was way below a standard he had set for himself.

Kore-eda, who has been making lovely movies for the past two decades, sets The Truth in Paris and profiles the relationship between an actress mother, played by Catherine Deneuve, and her married daughter (Juliette Binoche). On a visit to Paris, the daughter gets into a tiff with her mother – a successful actress who is basking in the limelight particularly after the publication of her memoirs. The daughter picks faults in the book – which is made up of half-truths.

Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche star in The Truth.
Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche star in The Truth.

The festival on the Lido, a pretty island off Venice, also began on a trail of controversies. It was rapped for including Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy and Nate Parker’s American Skin. Both directors have been accused of rape. But the festival director, Alberto Barbera, made it clear that he could not let such allegations come in the way of artistic excellence. He would not judge the men, but only their work.

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Barbera was also accused of having too few women helmers – just two out of the 21 in Competition. He told the media that more women needed to make films, and this essentially was the problem.

At a media conference on Thursday, Haifaa Al-Mansour – whose The Perfect Candidate is one of the two movies in Competition – said she believes more funding and support for female film-makers is the simplest way to improve representation.

“There is a crack now, and we see things happening and changing. But it needs to happen at an earlier stage,” she said. “It starts from financing. It starts with studios opening up their systems to more diverse directors. We’ve seen a lot of women prove themselves, like Brie Larsonwho is carrying a huge film and showing it can make boxoffice.”

(Gautaman Bhaskaran has been covering the Venice Film Festival for over 18 years.)

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First Published: Aug 30, 2019 16:34 IST