Japan's Hirokazu Kore-eda’s new work, The Truth, will open the 76th Venice Film Festival on August 28, while Gitanjali Rao's animated feature, Bombay Rose, will herald the sidebar, Critics Week, the following day.
Kore-eda clinched the Palm dÓr at Cannes 2018 for his Shoplifters, a moving saga of a group that comes together as a family and lives by stealing. The movie has just been commercially released across India.
Interestingly, The Truth – the auteur's first outing in the French language and titled La Verite – was hotly tipped to be at Cannes last May, but missed the deadline, probably because the film was not ready.
The Truth has another first to its credit. Venice's Artistic Director, Alberto Barbera, has since 2012 gone with a Hollywood work to open his Festival. First Man, Downsizing and La La Land have been some of them. But this time, he has picked a French title helmed by a Japanese legend, an amazing combo it seems.
The Truth also has an incredible cast. French actress Catherine Deneuve essays a movie star, Fabienne – a darling of the men around her who are irresistibly drawn to her. But when she publishes her memoirs and invites her daughter, Lumir (Juliette Binoche), and her husband (Ethan Hawke) from New York to Paris, the mother-daughter meeting does not go too well. “The reunion between mother and daughter will quickly turn to confrontation: truths will be told, accounts settled, loves and resentments confessed,” according to a synopsis.
Kore-eda filmed The Truth in Paris over a 10-week schedule, and he said:“The cast is prestigious, but the film recounts a small family story that takes place primarily inside a house. I have tried to make my characters live within this small universe, with their lies, pride, regrets, sadness, joy, and reconciliation.”
Rao's Bombay Rose will enjoy the pride of being the first ever Indian animation work to open the Critics Week, an important sidebar.
Rao has made five animated shorts, including Blue, Printed Rainbow, Orange and Chai. Printed Rainbow won three awards at the Cannes Critics' Week in 2006. Rao played an important role in Shoojit Sircar's October.
Bombay Rose outlines the life of a flower seller, who has to make the choice between her family and love. The plot begins on the pavements of Bombay and flies into the realm of the fantastic. Painted frame by frame, Bombay Rose is a poignant account of those people who migrate from rural and small-town India to cities for a livelihood. Bollywood songs underline the pathos of their lives.
Rao said: “I have always wanted to paint stories about people who live and love in the streets of Bombay, never become success stories, yet their struggle for survival makes heroes out of them. This is the city with its cast of unsung heroes and heroines that I want to share with the world and why I started this labour of love 6 years ago. My hand painted short movies have travelled the globe and I have found connections to my films in the most unusual places. From Cannes to Kanpur. These fans of my stories give me confidence that my first feature, Bombay Rose, about simple people with their simple yet impossible dreams can connect with people around the world”.
Venice will announce its full list of movies on July 25 in Rome.
(Author, Commentator and movie critic Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Venice Film Festival for over 18 years)
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