Highlights From The 74th Venice Film Festival

The Picturehouse marketing team lends us their thoughts on the best films to screen at the 74th Venice Film Festival.

Yesterday Guillermo del Toro’s other-wordly fairy tale The Shape Of Water won the Venice Film Festival’s top award, the Golden Lion. Jon Barrenechea and John-Paul Pierrot from the Picturehouse marketing team offer just some of their highlights from the 74th edition of the prestigious film festival.


 The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro.
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Octavia Spencer. USA

Jon’s verdict: Guillermo Del Toro’s finest work since Pan’s Labryinth, like a cross between Creature of the Black Lagoon and Amelie. Hopelessly romantic.


 Lean On Pete

Lean on Pete

Director: Andrew Haigh.
Starring: Charlie Plummer, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi. UK.

Jon’s verdict: This film really floored me. Featuring a star-making performance from 18 year old Charlie Plummer, this is Andrew Haigh’s finest film to date. Its restrained style does not undermine the pure emotional power it packs. Best film of the festival for me.

John-Paul’s verdict: A devastating film which deserves awards recognition. Andrew Haigh has confirmed his status, along with Lynne Ramsay in my eyes, as the preeminent British filmmaker working today. This is a beautiful and heartbreaking story featuring a wonderful central performance from Charlie Plummer (he previously impressed in King Jack) and a supporting cast that includes the superb Steve Buscemi.


 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director: Martin McDonagh.
Starring: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. UK/USA.

Jon’s verdict: More outrageous behaviour and quotable dialogue from the foul-mouthed director of In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, the incredible cast deliver their filthy lines with gusto and depth. Not to be missed.

John-Paul’s verdict: A dark and supremely funny comedy which would make the Coens proud. Typically sly and foul-mouthed dialogue from Martin McDonagh that provoked gasps and rapturous applause at the screening we attended. Frances McDormand gives a tour de force performance. One to look forward to!


Ex Libris: New York Public Library

Director: Frederick Wiseman. USA.

Jon’s verdict: Masterful, sprawling account of New York’s public library network, filled with amazing characters. Over three hours long, but fascinating.


Under The Tree

Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
Starring: Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson, Edda Björgvinsdóttir and Sigurður Sigurjónsson.

Jon’s verdict: Black, violent Icelandic comedy that will shock and make you giggle.


First Reformed

First Reformed

Director: Paul Schrader.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer.

Jon’s verdict: Another controversial film, it marks a return to form for Paul Schrader after years in the wilderness. Ethan Hawke is wonderful as a tortured priest. Carl Dreyer’s Ordet for the climate change era.

John-Paul verdict: Paul Schrader tackles religion and climate change in this intense, muddled but ultimately thrilling outing. It’s weird; brilliantly weird at times. The writer-director icon that brought us a heap of treasures in the late seventies and early eighties is back.


Brawl In Cell Block 99

Director: S. Craig Zahler.
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter and Don Johnson. USA.

John-Paul’s verdict: Fun. Gruesome fun. Vince Vaughn is on the warpath in this B-Movie jailbird horror ride from the director of the 2015’s equally violent Bone Tomahawk. Not the faint hearted but fans of kick-ass genre movies should be salivating in anticipation for this one.


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