Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Iraq war films among favourites at Venice film festival

(Reuters) - Two very different movies about the Iraq war are among the favorites for awards at this year's Venice film festival as it passes the halfway stage, and an unusually high number of male leads have stood out.
For pure shock value, Brian De Palma's "Redacted" wins hands down, stunning audiences with an uncompromising reconstruction of the real-life rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her and her family by U.S. soldiers.
For those looking for a more nuanced take on the conflict, which has become a hot topic in Hollywood, Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah" stands out, as does the central performance of Tommy Lee Jones. Paolo Mereghetti, film critic for Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper, gave his highest marks so far to "Redacted", calling it "well and truly a blow to the stomach".
But not everyone agreed. Jay Weissberg, critic for the U.S.-based Variety industry magazine, said De Palma "hits you over the head with a sledge hammer. "My concern with films like that is that people sing their praises because of the subject matter and not because of the film itself." He and Maria Giulia Minetti, who covers the festival for Italian daily "La Stampa", preferred Haggis' picture.
"So far I think the hot favorite is 'In The Valley Of Elah' more than 'Redacted', because it combines the high quality of the director, the message about the Iraq war and a thriller-type story that the public will enjoy," she said.

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