If you weren't one of the people who was totally befuddled by The Fountain, then you're probably waiting with bated breath for director Darren Aronofsky's next picture. Pi and Requiem for a Dream established Aronofsky as a major talent, and his next picture -- with its combination of mainstream subject matter, amazingly talented actors and Marisa Tomei stripping -- is sure to take the country by storm. That's probably why Fox Searchlight outbid all comers at the Toronto International Film Festival for the rights to distribute The Wrestler, which only last week won the Golden Lion in Venice. (Man, I wish I had a gold lion.)
The Venice Film festival (that's the Venice in Italy, if you didn't know) is the world's oldest film festival, and it got underway yesterday for the 65th time. Emceed by Russian actress Ksenia Rappoport, known in Italy for her turn in the film The Unknown, the opening day of the fest featured an afternoon screening of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 classic The Bicycle Thief. But no one really gives a damn about any of that crap, because George Clooney and Brad Pitt were there, omigod!
Longtime Hollywood outsiders Joel and Ethan Coen are becoming as mainstream as Michael Bay these days. (I kid, of course, in comparing the intelligent, quirky writer-director team to the director-producer of Bad Boys, Armageddon, and Transformers.)
But they are gaining popularity outside of their loyal cult following. In February, they won three Oscars (and gave the most subdued speeches in awards show history); and it was announced today that they'll open the Venice Film Festival with Burn After Reading, starring some relatively unknown actors: you know, actors like George Clooney, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, and Brad Pitt -- all of the actors who non-mainstream filmmakers are working with these days.
Venice is sinking, and this time the rising tides aren't to blame. This time, the decline has to do with the 65th Venice Film Festival, which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is suffering from subpar business, high prices and a "relative lack of red carpet star power." Somewhere in the distance, Brad Pitt is saying to a journalist: "What am I? Chopped liver? I saved a kid from the canal the other day!" Or maybe he would be saying it, if he were giving interviews beyond the obligatory 30-minute press conference he and co-star George Clooney gave for the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading.