7 Movies We’re Watching at the Venice Film Festival

First Man ▴ Dir. Damien Chazelle ▴ Stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy

First Man - Damien Chazelle ft. on 7deadlythings
First Man ▴ Dir. Damien Chazelle ▴ Stars Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy ▴ Photo courtesy of Asac – la Biennale di Venezia.

Opener of this year’s 75th Annual Venice International Film Festival is space odyssey, First Man, based on the authorised biography of moon walker Neil Armstrong, whose one small step changed history for mankind. Damien Chazelle (Gravity, La La Land) hurtles us through the troposphere on a rickety rocket in the most dangerous journey ever taken.

Suspiria ▴ Dir. Luca Guadagnino ▴ Stars Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton

Without further ado, director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) had this to say to the Hollywood Reporter, “I hope that the movie comes across as a relentless experience that’s going to go deep into your skin all the way down into your spine. I want the movie to perform as the most disturbing experience you can have.”

At Eternity’s Gate ▴ Dir. Julian Schnabel ▴ Stars Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac

AT ETERNITY'S GATE - Julian Schnabel ft. on 7deadlythings
At Eternity’s Gate ▴ Dir. Julian Schnabel ▴ Stars Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac ▴ Photo courtesy of Asac – la Biennale di Venezia.

We recently went to opening night of the incredible Roderic O’Conor exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland so catching At Eternity’s Gate is the perfect follow-up as it focuses on the last days of Vincent van Gogh before he shot himself. O’Conors’ works are on display side-by-side with paintings by Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin – artists he connected and collaborated with – and are both portrayed in this movie.

The Favourite ▴ Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos ▴ Stars Emma Stone, Rachael Weisz

Dogtooth is disturbing, The Lobster unnerving and The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is distressing – albeit in a good way, per se. What on earth could this unique Greek filmmaker have in store for us this time? A little ray of pitch black no doubt.

22 July ▴ Dir. Paul Greengrass

22 JULY Paul-Greengrass
22 July ▴ Dir. Paul Greengrass ▴ Photo courtesy of Asac – la Biennale di Venezia.

On the 22nd of July, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people by detonating a van bomb in Oslo, Norway, then traveled to the island of Utøya, posed as a police officer, and shot dead 69 people on a youth summer camp. This is the story.

The Nightingale ▴ Dir. Jennifer Kent ▴ Stars Aisling Franciosi

The Venice Film Festival has come under fire for its lack of female representation with Jennifer Kent being the only Golden Lion hopeful. The Aussie director changed horror history with her profound psychological horror The Babadook back in 2014 and now returns to give us all the thrills.

Vox Lux ▴ Dir. Brady Corbet ▴ Natalie Portman, Jude Law

When a movie stars Natalie Portman it’s always worth a watch. The three-time Academy Award nominee, who won Best Actress for Black Swan, may well be in the running to becoming Oscar’s next top winner.

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La Biennale Di Venezia takes place from 29 August to 8 September. See the full line-up here.

The 75th annual Venice Film Festival ft. on 7deadlythings

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7 Deadly Occult Classics to See Since You Survived Hereditary

Ari Aster’s first feature is a frightening movie. Hereditary fuses psychodrama with paranormal activity by allowing sinister forces to sink their claws into a grieving family. This atmospheric horror explores occult related themes similar to those in these 7 deadly movies.

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The Witch

A meticulously crafted folktale of witches set in 1630s New England places a banished colonial family into a bleak farmyard to fend for themselves. It’s not long before malevolent forces come a-knockin’ from the woods featuring ominous animals, eerie aul wans, and even the Devil decides to make an appearance.

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“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?” Black Phillip in ‘The Witch’ (2015)

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The Exorcist

Banned from Irish shores for more that 25 years The Exorcist twisted its mangled head into our screens in 1998. Based on a true story the movie hits the ground running with its nerve-rattling opening in northern Iraq to the obscenities that spout from an all-spewing, all-demonising child from her bedroom. Often regarded as the scariest horror ever made, and quite frankly, it is.

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“What an excellent day for an exorcism.” The Demon in ‘The Exorcist’ (1973)

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Kill List

There’s something about British horror (movies not Brexit) that makes it much more real. That closeness to Ireland, the familiarity of their accents, Kill List feels uncomfortably real, like a dinnertime drama, until things take an almighty turn. For those who haven’t seen it yet – you’re in for a hell of a time.

Kill List
“Come on, you devils.” Shel in ‘Kill List (2011)

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Rosemary’s Baby

Being pregnant is hard enough without learning that you’re carrying the spawn of Satan and that your friendly neighbours are all part of a satanic cult. Much like Hereditary the mom realises too late in the game that she has been targeted by demonic forces way beyond her control.

Rosemary's Baby
“This isn’t a dream! This is really happening!” Rosemary Woodhouse in ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ (1968)

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The Shining

The Torrance family certainly has a rough go of it in the isolated Overlook Hotel. Each member descends into versions of madness so it’s hard to know which ghosts are real and which are imagined. One thing is for sure – The Shining will haunt you forever, and ever, and ever.

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“Here’s Johnny!” Jack Torrance in ‘The Shining’ (1980)

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Gone are the days when a bunch of Z-listers battled it out in B-movie thrillers – nowadays big movies stars are fighting to be featured, such as the strong cast in Yorgos LanthimosThe Killing of a Sacred Deer. Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell find themselves trapped in a most ungodly situation forcing their family into dire straits.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
“He’s got issues. Serious psychological issues.” Steven Murphy in ‘The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’ (2017)

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Carrie

Brian De Palma’s spellbinding adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel is a mother-daughter psychodrama focused on a telekinetic teen and an overbearing parent. The slow-burn dread felt throughout mounts to one of the most intense climaxes ever captured on screen. Like Hereditary, it’s humans that are the real source of our terror. Scary stuff indeed.

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“They’re all gonna laugh at you.” Margaret White in ‘Carrie’ (1976)

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7 Deadly Speculations on the Disappearance of the Schoolgirls in Picnic At Hanging Rock

In the afternoon of Valentine’s Day, 1900, about an hour from Melbourne, Australia, a group of schoolgirls and their teacher vanished while on a field trip to Hanging Rock. Numerous rumours relating to their whereabouts have been whispered yet the mystery of what happened goes unsolved.

The beguiling story is being retold in a six-part TV miniseries based on Joan Lindsay’s classic 1967 novel Picnic At Hanging Rock, which was made into an unforgettable feature in 1975 by director Peter Weir.

Lindsay did little to dispel the myth that the story is based on truth, refusing in interviews to confirm whether her novel was fictitious or based on fact. Either way, it’s a mystery that has haunted public interest since 1967.

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A Supernatural Force

Before the 19th century colonization of Australia, traditional Aboriginal owners lived around Hanging Rock for over 26,000 years, gathering there for important meetings and tribal ceremonies. Many were killed when they were forced from the area leading to beliefs that spiritual forces of nature remain. In the book No Picnic at Hanging Rock, author Helen Goltz reprises a theory that Aboriginal spirits were responsible for the disappearance.

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Etching by William Blandowski during his 1850s expeditions into central Victoria, Australia

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A Murderous Intent

The narrative has been widely considered as a dramatisation of some fateful real event. Searching for answers in her book Beyond the Rock Janelle McCulloch studies a similar expedition in 1919 by students from the school that Lindsay attended in which several girls disappeared in the same secluded outback, presumed by authorities to have been abducted by local degenerates, thus explaining where Lindsay got the story from.

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A Natural Phenomenon

On their journey the girls casually climb up Hanging Rock barefoot with relative ease. At this point in the novel, “Irma was aware, for a while, of a rather curious sound coming up from the plain. Like the beating of far-off drums.” Could this sound be tumbling rocks that lead to the group getting trapped? The search party later on climb through the same location with great difficulty – perhaps a result of new boulders blocking the path.

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A Hidden Truth

Might the mysteries of the story stem from a traumatic event kept secret by the author? The lead role of Miranda, played by Anne Lambert, recalls in an ABC interview Lindsay’s strange behavior on set. One day Lambert wandered off by herself when the author clambered over to her, “put her arms around me, and said in a very emotional way: ‘Oh Miranda, it’s been so long!’ She was shaking like a leaf…. it was clear she’d regressed into some part of her past. To her, I really was someone she had known, somewhere in time.”

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A Suicide Pact

This theme runs throughout: The defiant orphan girl Sara commits suicide; head governess Mrs. Appleyard kills herself by jumping from Hanging Rock. Striking similarities emerge between the movie and Sofia Coppola’s 1999 film The Virgin Suicides. Each present their central characters as both victims and triggers of tragedy. It is possible that the schoolgirls planned their fates collectively in retaliation to the repressive oppression they were subjected while at boarding school and in Australian society.

 

 

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Irma, Miranda, Marion and Edith in Peter Weir’s 1975 film

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A Missing Chapter

 

Before Lindsay’s book was published her editor suggested that the final chapter be cut. It is written in these last twelve pages what really happened to the girls that day. The missing chapter was published after Lindsay’s death in 1984 as The Secret of Hanging Rock that concludes with the party entering another dimension through a time warp, never to be seen again.

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A Mere Mystery

Our desire for answers as viewers is an integral part of movie viewing. When this unwritten right isn’t satisfied it brings about confusion and intrigue. Picnic At Hanging Rock leaves so many questions open. The only definitive answer the author gives us in the book is still as ambiguous as ever: “Thus the College Mystery, like that of the celebrated case of the Marie Celeste, seems likely to remain forever unsolved.”

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Hanging Rock

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