This year marks the 76th edition for the Venice film festival. The festival which takes place on the island of Lido is the oldest film festival in the world. The Venice Film festival is also part of the holy 3 of world cinema festivals. These big three festivals include alongside the Venice Film Festival, The Cannes Film Festival and The Berlin Film Festival.
Well, for starters it is located in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Venice. But beyond the glitz and glamour, the Venice film festival has always been more laidback, fun and family oriented. The festival boasts loads of opportunities for the general public to view some exceptional screenings without paying a lot.
As we get ready for the 76th Venice film festival which will host films including The Joker starring Joaquin Phoneix, the new James Gray space drama Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt and the new Noah Baumbach film “Marriage Story” (to name a few of the most anticipated films at the festival).
10. Ivan’s Childhood
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky from 1962
A powerful anti-war movie from Russia’s masterful maestro Andrei Tarkovsky. The film looks at the effects of war on civilians through the eyes of an orphaned child named Ivan. The film takes place during World War two when the Germans began their invasion into Russia. A powerful statement for peace from the Soviet Union and Russia’s first Golden Lion winner!
9. The Wrestler
Directed by Darren Aronofsky from 2008
Can we say that this might be one of the greatest performances in film history? Absolutely! Mickey Rourke as the down and out former wrestling superstar is gripping, emotional and raw power. Aronofky has crafted a film around brilliant performances and a character study so lovingly structured at times you feel like you are watching a documentary.
8. Three Colors: Blue
Directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski from 1994
The first film in the masterpiece of the Three Colours triology takes places in Paris, stars Juliet Binoche as a woman who has recently lost her husband and child in a car accident. The films looks at how she tries to cut herself off emotionally, socially and mentally to isolate herself from the world she knows after this tragedy. The film is really at its core is about reflection and renewal.
7. The Battle of Algiers
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo from 1965
This film like so many films on this list can only be described as raw power! The original Black Hawk Down. The film takes place and tells the story of the Algerian rebels who fought against their French occupiers during the Algerian War for Independence in 1954 until 1962. What makes this film so ahead of its time, is Pontecorvo’s use of camera to describe the action as well as display it in the form of news reel footage. The film makes the audience feel as though they are looking at a real war documentary. This film changed the way war was depicted in cinema forever! Take that Saving Private Ryan.
6. The Red Desert
Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni from 1964
Another poetic film from the great Michelangelo Antonioni. The last film of his four films to star his muse Monica Vitti. A very progressive film that sought to look at how the world’s need or sometimes lack of adaptation to change could either evolve a person or make them suffer. A theme that he would visit in many of his films. Vitti is tragic as the main character trying to live in the industrialized world of factories, pollution and noise in post war Northern Italy. A film that really pushed cinema forward.
5. The Last Year in Mariebad
Directed by Alain Resnais from 1968
Perhaps, the most complex film on the list, it has divided people throughout cinema due to its narrative structure or lack of narrative structure. For one thing, there was never in the history of cinema a film where time and space are just free. The film has influenced so many future filmmakers, with its dreamlike scenes and conversations.
Directed by Akira Kurosawa from 1951
Innovative, funny, exciting, epic, brilliant, and Kurosawa goodness. One of the most famous films from the Japanese maestro’s works. Kurosawa tells the story of a murdered samurai from four different character perspectives a structure that would be innovative and influential on filmmakers like Quintin Tarintino. The audience is constantly being led to view and question the account with contradictions objective perspectives from each character’s own account of the story. One of the most important works in cinema history.
3. Belle du Jour
Directed by Luis Buñuel from 1967
One of Buñuel’s most famous works. The film besides being a great movie is also a beautiful looking film. Each frame composed with the sophistication of a painter could be a work of art in it’s own right. The ever beautiful Catherine Deneuve stars as Severine who works as Belle du Jour a high class prostitute in afternoons during the week while her husband goes to work. The film is a delicate and sophisticated look into sexuality. As well as how sex and love can be confusing for most humans. An amazing look at the struggles most couples have within a marriage just a bit more intense.
2. The Shape of Water
Directed by Guillermo del Toro from 2017
Who would have ever thought that a film about woman falling in love with the Creature from the Black Lagoon could be so beautiful and romantic. Del Toro creates a film that has everything, horror, science fiction, drama, comedy, romance and cold war history. This is full cinematic meal with sophisticated nods to the films that have influenced what is his greatest work while still being fresh with his narrative. Just see it, this is a seriously perfect film!
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer from 1955
Possibly one of the most underrated filmmakers in world cinema. Carl Theodor Dreyer delivers in this Danish masterpiece what few have ever done since and before in cinema, create a work that will stay with you forever. With it’s long takes, Dreyer was able to tell a deeply compelling story with fewer shots than most filmmakers. Like in all of his work the cinematography is simply stunning. The film analyzes the themes of pure faith and religious faith through the eyes of a Danish family in 1925. A film that never feels old, if you have not seen it, then, you have never seen a perfect film.
Well that is our list, if you are going to be in Venice for the film festival, do take advantage of the full film pass to all the public screenings at this year’s festival. If you want to get to the Venice Film Festival in the Lido in style rent a classic boat from Classic Boats Venice, to show you the way.
Image Credits: Biennale Cinema