Two titans of American cinema, Terrence Malick and Paul Thomas Anderson, brought films to the 69th Venice Film Festival this weekend. Anderson’s ‘The Master’ is a drama that riffs on the early days of Scientology with Philip Seymour Hoffman playing a thinly veiled version of founder L Ron Hubbard. It received a rapturous reception (and a five-star Time Out review), with praise heaped on Joaquin Phoenix for his intense performance as a disciple of ‘The Cause’. Malick’s ‘To the Wonder’ (above), a poetic and romantic drama with Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko, divided critics, drawing boos and cheers (exactly the response his Palme d’Or-winning ‘The Tree of Life’ received at Cannes last year). Needless to say, the lesser-spotted Malick, who is famously publicity-shy, was a no-show on the red carpet. There were even ‘Wanted’ posters featuring his photo pinned up around the festival.
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