Venice Film Festival opens with "Birdman" and honors James Franco

Sunday , August 31, 2014 - 1:27 PM

Standard-Examiner

The 71st Venice International Film Festival rolled out the red carpet for a mass of big name American actors.

The oldest film festival in the world it has more recently been criticized for not being as edgy as Cannes or Berlin. But this year director Alberto Barbera has re-branded it as a home for fresh and new talent, onscreen and behind the camera. 

The festival which runs from Aug 27 to Sept 6th is based at a marble Italian structure from the Mussolini era.

The festival opened to rave reviews with the screening of Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. A black comedy, it tells the story of an actor Michael Keaton who is famous for portraying an iconic superhero and struggles to mount a Broadway play. 

The film is written, directed and produced by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu best known for “Babel” starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.  

Al Pacino is at the festival for two different films Barry Levinson’s (out-of-competition) “The Humbling” and David Gordon Green’s competition entry “Manglehorn.”

In addition Frances McDormand will receive the Persol Tribute to Visionary Talent Award 2014 on Labor Day Monday September 1st.

The coveted Glory to the Filmmaker Award for this year will be presented to James Franco. This distinction is conferred upon a personality who has made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary cinema. Franco joins an exclusive list of great American actor/filmmakers including Spike Lee, Al Pacino, and Sylvester Stallone.

These past few days we’re seeing a great love for this festival through past pictures shared on social media. Good luck to all the competitors.

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