Venice Film Festival day seven reviews: O Gebo e a Sombra, Bella Addormentata and Pieta
We are near the end of the 69th edition of the Venice Film Festival, and today Korean director Kim Ki-duk showcases his movie Pieta for a chance at a Golden Lion. Also presented are O Gebo e a Sombra (in competition) by Manoel de Oliveira (out of competition) and Bella Addormentata by Marco Bellocchio (in competition).
O Gebo e a Sombra by Manoel de Oliveira
Portuguese film-making master Manoel de Oliveira is back at the Lido with his 33rd movie starring legends Michael Lonsdale and Claudia Cardinale.
De Oliveira, who is set to turn 104 in December, wrote and directed this story of an old accountant, Gebo (Michael Lonsdale), who still provides for his family.
Gebo lives with his daughter-in-law Sofia (Leonor Silveira) and beloved wife Doroteia (Claudia Cardinale), wondering and worrying about the absence of their son João.
The family live in poor conditions in the France of the 18th-century revolution, with Doroteia claiming that they are in this situation because Gebo failed to take advantage of his position – despite this being common for accountants.
One day João comes back home to perturb an already precarious situation.
Bella Addormentata (Dormant Beauty) by Marco Bellocchio
Bella Addormentata tells the story of two families going through ethical conflicts and difficult personal choices, as the Italian nation discusses whether it is right to put an end to the life of Eluana Englaro, who has been in a vegetative state for 17 years.
Three different groups of characters are interconnected by the events surrounding the real, sad story of Eluana, who eventually died before the government tried to promulgate a law to stop the euthanasia attempt.
Great actors (Toni Servillo, Isabelle Huppert, Roberto Herlitzka and Alba Rohrwacher) are a crucial part of this choral picture that alternates some moments of great cinema with others of TV series quality.
Pieta by Kim Ki-duk
Festival protégé Kim Ki-duk, who impressed movie buffs with masterpiece 3-Iron back in 2004, sweeping the best director prize, presents the tough story of Pieta.
Fearless and merciless debt collector Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) meets Mi-sun (Cho Min-soo), a woman claiming to be his mother who abandoned him 30 years before.
Mi-sun understands that his violence and his reputation as the devil incarnate are completely her fault. She is ready to be for him whatever he is missing: a mother, a friend and a lover.
Scenes of incest are part of a dramatic rapprochement between mother and son. Beautiful camera movements and crude scenes are the fabric of this movie.
Iceman Kang-do’s heart starts to melt, showing all the feelings and emotions he kept inside his whole life. But all the pain caused to his victims suddenly comes back when his mother disappears.
Pieta is a wonderful film.
Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor