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Venice cheers Gilliam, Gia Coppola, salutes Miyazaki

Radcliffe, Franco mobbed

02 September, 19:28
Venice cheers Gilliam, Gia Coppola, salutes Miyazaki (By Sandra Cordon) (ANSA) - Venice, September 2 - Long and heartfelt applause mixed with some criticism greeted the latest film by Terry Gilliam screened at the Venice Film Festival.

The Zero Theorem, which stars Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, is in the running for the Golden Lion award at the 70th edition of the international film event that will wrap up on Saturday.

The futurist film bears some resemblance to the classic sci-fi flick Blade Runner, and features a mysterious and neurotic computer genius, Qohen Leth portrayed by Waltz, who through the film discovers the power of love.

But while it drew cheers and applause, some critics panned the film.

According to Variety magazine: "Altogether, a bunch of nothing happens, more or less, until the pic runs out of steam and budget".

The all-star cast also includes Matt Damon, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Lucas Hedges, Ben Whishaw and Tilda Swinton. Indeed, a lengthy list of celebrities is attending the world's oldest film festival, adding glitter and glamour, with such Hollywood celebrities as George Clooney and Sandra Bullock drawing additional interest.

The pair are in Venice to promote their space thriller Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarn's feature, and described by Variety magazine as a "white-knuckle space odyssey" that "should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide".

Also catching attention is the latest member of the famous Coppola family to enter the film world.

In her feature film "Palo Alto," Francis Ford Coppola's granddaughter Gia Coppola makes her directorial debut.

"Palo Alto," is based on a book by James Franco who also stars in the film, which explores the lives of four high school students living in Palo Alto, California.

Coppola said that she was drawn to Franco's story because it sounded a strong note of reality.

"I met James Franco shortly after graduating," she said in an interview. "For a long time I did not read or see anything about teenagers...that seemed realistic," Coppola explained.

Besides her famous grandfather, her aunt Sofia Coppola is also a director, winning the Golden Lion in 2010 for her film "Somewhere".

But in his book Palo Alto Stories, "the different voices of the (teens) stood out true and honest, showing the essence of being young in their vulnerability...the ridiculous conversations, crushes repressed, the silly mistakes".

Fans swarmed Franco when he arrived in Venice, but saved some of their attention for young British star Daniel Radcliffe, best known as the star of the Harry Potter series of films based on the international best-selling books.

Radcliffe arrived in Venice with director John Krokidas to promote their movie "Kill Your Darlings". That features Radcliffe, 24, as a young Allen Ginsberg in a film about his life, exploring the gay poet’s early years at Columbia University in New York City.

The former boy wizard say he hoped his fans would not be turned off by his portrayal of Ginsberg - including an explicit sex scene, adding that he hoped it would help strike a blow against homophobia and bullying.

"When I hear of suicides among the young, it saddens me very much," said Radcliffe.

The Venice festival was surprised Sunday by news that Oscar-winning Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki will retire following the release of his latest movie, which has premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

Miyazaki won an Oscar for the film Spirited Away, and is also known for such animated films as Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle.

In 2005, Miyazaki won a lifetime achievement award from the Venice film festival where his film The Wind Rises has made its premier.

The Wind Rises will reportedly be released in North America by Disney's Touchstone Pictures.