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Feature: Shuttle mission "Gravity" lights up opening of 70th Venice Film Festival [China Economic Information Service (Xinhua)]

August 29, 2013


Feature: Shuttle mission "Gravity" lights up opening of 70th Venice Film Festival

by Marzia De Giuli

VENICE, Italy, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The traditional red carpet and opening night, followed by screening in 3D of the much-awaited thriller "Gravity", officially kicked off the 70th Venice International Film Festival on the Lido seafront on Wednesday.

The flashes of crowds of fans were especially graced by two major Hollywood stars, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, whose presence filled the Venice lagoon along with the numerous celebrities.

Gravity, directed by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, is part of the Out of Competition section.

In the film, Clooney and Bullock play two astronauts stranded in space. A brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission is left completely alone with a veteran astronaut, while spiraling out into the blackness.

The movie will not open in theaters until Oct. 4, but has already drawn positive reviews.

"It was a vertiginous experience, a journey in inner being, as well as a masterpiece of entertainment," Lorenzo Pedrazzi, a film critic, told Xinhua.

"Besides being a tribute to life, it also features positive messages of collaboration between the peoples of big countries including the U.S, China and Russia," a second film critic, Anna Maria Pasetti, noted.

According to another watcher, Francesco Crispino, the use of new technologies was a "winning choice" projecting the film world into the future and its new languages.

In fact the Italian festival, one of the world's oldest, "firmly believes in the gradual growth of the cinema market," said Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale, foundation organizer of the event.

He said "courage, quality and coherence" are the three ingredients that can make cinema festivals continuously develop their fundamental role of providing a "guidance" for best artistic creations in the sector.

Four international juries will assign the official awards. The competition section of Venezia 70, which includes 20 titles to dispute for the top Golden Lion prize, has a jury of nine key figures in the film and culture fields of various countries, including Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen.

The jury of Venezia 70 is chaired by Bernardo Bertolucci, one of the most influential directors in the history of film.

"We know that cinema may not change the world, but it can create a world," the 72-year-old Italian maestro said, visibly moved, at the opening ceremony.

In celebration of its venerable anniversary, the festival artistic director Alberto Barbera presented the special project "Venezia 70 - Future Reloaded", a composition of short films created by 70 movie directors from all over the world.

Paul Schrader, Shekhar Kapur, Abbas Kiarostami, Monte Hellman, Walter Salles, Jia Zhangke and Peter Chan were just a few of the well-known directors and young filmmakers with recognized talent who agreed to contribute to the project.

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