The Venice Film Festival got underway last night with a gala screening of ‘Birdman’, the latest feature from ‘Amores Perros’ director Alejandro González Iñárritu. But our roving reporter Cath Clarke has already seen the film, and has sent back a glowing review. The film has parallels with star Michael Keaton’s real life: he plays a washed-up action star trying to restart his career by starring in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story. Supported by a rogue’s gallery of big-name co-stars including Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Zach Galafianakis, Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough, this is set to mark a major (and very welcome) comeback for the admirable Keaton.
But it’s just the beginning of a packed Venice lineup: other highlights on offer include two films starring Al Pacino (serious drama ‘The Humbling’ and small-scale indie tale ‘Manglehorn’) and one with – yes! – Jennifer Aniston, who takes a lead role in ‘Last Picture Show’ director Peter Bogdanovich’s long-awaited comeback film ‘She’s Funny That Way’. But of course it’s not all Hollywood glitz: with new films from confrontational filmmakers like Fatih Akin (‘The Cut’), Xavier Beauvois (‘La Rancon de la Gloire’) and Ulrich Seidl (‘In the Basement’), the festival’s reputation for showcasing the best in world cinema remains intact.
Read our review of ‘Birdman’, or take a look at our list of ten films we reckon will be blowing Venice Film Festival audiences away in 2014.
Take a look at more great film events happening this week.