Controversy at Venice Film Fest


After opening on 29 August with the well-received World War II drama, “Atonement’, starring Keira Knightly and James McAvoy and directed by Joe Wright (“Pride & Prejudice’), the Venice Film Festival has seen much controversy with the screening of “Redaction’, based on the alleged rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager by US troops and the slaughter of her family.

This latest film from Brian De Palma (“The Untouchables’, “Carlito’s Way’) has received both praise from critics and condemnation from other parties, some referring to it as anti-US propaganda. According to De Palma, the word “redacted’ is the military’s term for censoring servicemen’s letters and other comments on the war.

Also raising controversy is “Lust, Caution’, the new film from Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain’, “The Ice Storm’), which is reportedly very sexually explicit. The film is an espionage thriller set in World War II-era Shangai. A complaint was lodged by the Taiwanese government over the festival’s decision to designate the film as coming from “Taiwan, China.”

Meanwhile, it was announced at Venice that cult American director Spike Lee(“Inside Man’, “Do The Right Thing’) has been named an honorary judge at the Babelgum Online Film Festival, which recognises outstanding international filmmakers whose work appears on the Internet. The festival is open to films screened at more traditional festivals from January 2007 to February 2008 and will be showed on www.babelgum from 15 February. Winners will be announced in April.

Adding glamour to Venice, the world’s sexiest humanitarian couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, made a standard media-frenzy appearance at the festival to promote Pitt’s film, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford’. Pitt alarmingly found himself being hugged by a fan who dodged between the bodyguards to get to her idol. (Sources: Studio Briefing, The Hollywood Reporter)


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