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September 18, 2020

Venice film festival kicks off today

LONDON – Michael Moore’s documentary on the U.S. recession and films touching on the 1982 war in Lebanon, the Tamil Tiger rebellion in Sri Lanka, recent Iranian protests and China’s violent past promise to make the headlines, as does Oliver Stone’s documentary “South of the Border” about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The Venice film festival has capitalism in its sights this year, with premieres of Michael Moore’s documentary on the U.S. economic meltdown and a drama starring Matt Damon as a corrupt corporate whistleblower. “Capitalism: A Love Story,” in competition at the annual cinema showcase, sees Moore take on the corporate bosses with his trademark combative style, bringing the hot topic of recession to the picturesque Lido waterfront. And “The Informant!,” directed by Steven Soderbergh and featuring Damon as a real-life crooked executive who exposed his company’s price-fixing tactics, will be screened out of competition. The festival runs from September 2-12.

George Clooney, who has a home in Italy and is a local favorite, appears in “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” about a reporter who stumbles across a U.S. military unit in Iraq which employs paranormal powers on its missions.

Author Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic vision of the world in “The Road” makes it to the big screen, with Viggo Mortensen starring with Theron. Cage appears in Werner Herzog’s “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,” a remake of the 1992 movie directed by Abel Ferrara, who has publicly criticized the new version.

U.S. director Todd Solondz is in competition with “Life During Wartime,” while horror master George Romero presents “Survival of the Dead,” one of several horror movies at the festival this year.

Two very different cinema heavyweights will be honored, with animation king John Lasseter receiving a lifetime achievement award and “Rambo” and “Rocky” star Stallone receiving an award outside the main festival.

As usual Venice promises a global line-up, with Egypt’s “The Traveler,” featuring Omar Sharif, in competition alongside pictures from China, Austria, Israel, Japan, France, Hong Kong, Germany and Italy. Not for the first time fashion is in focus, with designer Tom Ford bringing his directorial debut “A Single Man” starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.

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