Cinema: Sorrentino gets 9 mins applause at Venice

Film world's attention now turns to Dune

(ANSA) - VENICE, SEP 3 - Paolo Sorrentino got fully nine minutes of applause at the Venice Film FestivalThursday night for his E' Stata La Mano Di Dio (It Was The Hand Of God), the Great Beauty Oscar winner's first semi-autobiographical film featuring his idolization of soccer great and Naples' favourite adopted son Diego Maradona.
    The new film, which debuted in Venice, is Sorrentino's most personal yet and recounts his teen years and the loss of his parents at the age of 16.
    The synopsis on the fest's website says The story of a young man's heartbreak and liberation in Naples, Italy. It's the 1980s and 17-year old Fabietto Schisa might be an awkward Italian teen struggling to find his place, but he finds joy in an amazing family who love life, relish mischief and take deep pleasure in meddling in one another's complicated relationships. Then comes a pair of events that alter everything. One is the triumphant arrival in Naples of a god-like athletic legend: high-flying soccer idol Maradona, who has Fabietto, and the whole scrappy city, feeling a pride that once seemed impossible.
    The other is an inconceivable accident that will drop the bottom out of Fabietto's world—setting his future in motion. Seemingly saved by Maradona, touched by chance or the hand of God, Fabietto wrestles with the nature of fate, the confusion of loss, and the intoxicating freedom of being alive. In his most movingly personal film, Sorrentino takes audiences on a sensory journey bursting with the contrasts of tragedy and comedy, love and desire, absurdity and beauty, as Fabietto finds the only way out of total catastrophe through his own imagination.
    The website quotes Sorrentino as saying: "The Hand of God is a coming-of-age story that aims, stylistically, to avoid the traps of conventional autobiography: hyperbole, victimhood, pity, compassion, and the indulgence of pain, through a simple, sparse, and essential staging and with neutral, sober music and photography.
    "Cinematography's apparatus will take a step back so as to let the life of those years speak, in the way I remember them—in the way I experienced them, felt them. Simply put, this is a film about sensibility. And hovering above everything, so close and yet so far, is Maradona, that ghostly idol, five foot five, who seemed to sustain the lives of everyone in Naples, or at least mine." Sorrentino's latest is among five Italian movies that will be in the running for the Golden Lion.
    The others are Mario Martone's 'Qui Rido Io', Gabriele Mainetti's 'Freaks Out', Michelangelo Frammartino's 'Il buco' and 'America Latina,' a thriller by brothers Fabio and Damiano D'Innocenzo.
    Sorrentino's 2013 film La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
    The attention of the film world turns Friday to Denis Villeneuve's Dune, a new adaptation of the Frank Herbert sci-fi classic novel.
    A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
    Frenc-Canadian director Villeneuve, who found acclaim with Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, said: "Adapt or die. It was my mantra while doing Dune. The desert has its ways of bringing you back to your true self and ridding you of rotten habits. You have to evolve to survive the experience. Making this film answered an old call, with deeper roots than I imagined. It had to do with fate, faith and instinct, colonial alienation and free will. I spoke of Frank Herbert as my new prophet and his novel as my bible. Nature was my God. Silence, my Holy Spirit. The winds of reality shifting the sands, sculpting new landscapes, erasing my landmarks, I prayed to avoid losing my way. Thanks to Frank, I came back alive. Back from the erg, allow me to play the game of prophecy. Dune was dreamed and made for the theatrical experience.
    The big screen is not just another format, it is at the core of the cinematographic language. The original form. The one that will stand the test of time." (ANSA).


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