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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La Mostra récompense Sofia Coppola

by Jean Roy

The Mostra Awards its Prize to Sofia Coppola

Translated Monday 20 September 2010, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Bill Scoble

The Venice Mostra awards its main prize, the Golden Lion [1] to Sofia Coppola. The personal taste of Quentin Tarantino visibly influenced the choice of the jury. "Somewhere" wins the top prize.

The Mostra is over. The Golden Lion goes (to!) Somewhere, film by Sofia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola and ex-companion of the president of the jury, Quentin Tarantino. This would not have been our choice, but the film is not lacking in certain formal qualities. One recalls that in Lost in Translation the hero, at odds with solitude and jet lag, mopes about his hotel room, and, looking out his window, contemplates Tokyo. It is this same feeling of heaviness that we find again in this film, but now far from Japan. The character is in his home town, Los Angeles. It’s the story of a movie star (Stephen Dorff) in full existential crisis,
bored at a hundred miles an hour. Here is our man in his Ferrari making turns around a fixed track in the desert. And here he is in the hotel where he lives, the mythical Château Marmont. Or bedding two pros come to do a strip-tease in his room, a bottle of Pétrus on the bed-side table. Or ceding to the advances of a groupie, but going to sleep while she licks him. Emptiness, got it? Anyone who remembers the final period of Antonioni will understand. Distancing, all the while holding on. The counterpoint will be provided by the arrival of his eleven-year-old daughter, who will oblige him to make some sense of his life. Is there a breath of autobiography here?

Suspense at its Peak

Just as modish, the film of Alex de la Iglesia, Balada triste de trompeta, received the silver lion for director and the prize for script-writing. This is a full-blooded eye-dazzler like Kill Bill, to tell the tale of two clowns in the Franco period. This would have made a fine subject for Fellini. The author plays it as such a disjointed parody that it almost imitates the final scene in North by Northwest. In OSS 117 it’s funny, because the film has no other pretensions, but here, in a film made in El Valle de Los Caidos [2], where bodies lie by the tens of thousands, this has the same effect as if we were in the ossuaire [3] of Verdun. This prize goes also to a friend of Tarantino, Vincent Gallo, in a difficult role, we must admit, and silent, to boot, that of an Afghan captured by the Americans, who will send him to squat in the cold in one of their secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Then there’s escape, man-hunt, suspense is at its peak, marking the return to the screen of Jerzy Skolimovski, who celebrates his 50 years in cinema with this Essential Killing, which also receives a special jury prize.

To so concentrate on a certain type of film, the jury has made a highly visible choice, and in the process has ignored all the rest. This was not the year to present a political or contemplative film. As a result, some of the most beautiful films bit the dust. In particular, Le Fossé [4], first fiction film by Wang Bin, which gives a broad slap in the face with its presentation of the absolute horror in the shape of a camp for reeducation at the end of the nineteen-fifties.

[1Lion d’Or

[2The Valley of the Fallen, near the Escorial, Madrid.


[4The Ditch

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