VENICE WATCH: War film shocks; Pacino reminisces

 

The Associated Press

The Venice Film Festival is bringing 11 days of red carpet premieres, innovative movies and Hollywood glamour to the Italian city. Here's what has been catching the eye of The Associated Press.

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JAPANESE DIRECTOR'S VISION OF WAR SHOCKS

Japanese director Shinya Tsukamoto says his new movie will shock people in his country — and that's the way he wants it.

Tsukamoto's Venice Film Festival entry "Nobi (Fires on the Plain)" is a nightmarish descent into the madness of war that looks at a group of defeated Japanese soldiers at the end of World War II who turn to brutality and cannibalism to survive.

Adapted from a novel by Shohei Ooka, which was also filmed in 1959 by Kon Ichikawa, "Nobi" contrasts luridly gruesome violence with a gorgeous Philippine jungle setting.

The director, a horror maestro, said he thought Japanese audiences, who are used to more conventional war movies, "would be shocked by such a film."

"But I want to show my film so that the danger of the war could be widely understood by people," said the director, who also stars in it as a sick, emaciated soldier.

He told The Associated Press that "the political situation ... is changing very fast" in Japan, with the government bolstering the military and loosening the pacifist constitution imposed after its wartime defeat.

"The people that actually went to the war are old and many of them have already died," he said. "So we need to show this kind of movie to show people what can happen during war."

"Nobi" is one of 20 films competing for the Golden Lion at the Venice festival. The winner will be announced Saturday.

—By Louise Dixon and Jill Lawless

PACINO SHARES GOOD ADVICE

In Venice, Al Pacino was feted with two red carpet premieres in one day. The Toronto Film Festival is celebrating him with a special gala.

So it's no wonder the 74-year-old actor has been reflecting on his career.

Talking to reporters in Venice, where he starred in festival entries "Manglehorn" and "The Humbling," Pacino recalled the best career advice he'd ever got. It was from his mentor, actor-director Lee Strasberg.

"He said, 'Darling, the best thing I can tell you is you must learn the lines,' Pacino said. "That's the best thing for acting — learn your lines basically so you can forget them. They become a part of you."

Strasberg also gave him another tip when "The Godfather" made Pacino a star in the early 1970s: "Darling, you simply have to adjust."

And he says that's what he did, living in the present and — for the most part — resisting the urge to reflect on past glories and failures.

"That might be a blessing for me," he said. "I thank God for it, that I don't look back."

—By Jill Lawless, http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

QUICKQUOTE: MILLA JOVOVICH

"Here it's much more about seeing great films rather than being seen by people watching great films. ... It's more about the art here, it's less about all the glamorous stuff that goes on. Even though of course it's super-glamorous, it's beautiful, but in a historical way, rather than in a 'let's prance around in pretty dresses and high heels.'" — Milla Jovovich, who stars in the Venice entry "Cymbeline."

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