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76th Venice Film Festival: La Vérité (The Truth) Movie Review

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76th Venice Film Festival: La Vérité (The Truth) Movie Review

La Verite

(L-R): Actresses Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve, and actor Ethan Hawke, star in the drama, ‘La Verite (The Truth).’
Credit: L Champoussin

Title: La Vérité (The Truth)

Director: Kore-eda Hirokazu

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke, Clémentine Grenier, Manon Clavel, Alain Libolt, Christian Crahay, Roger Van Hool, Ludivine Sagnier, Laurent Capelluto, Jackie Berroyer.

The Nippon director who won the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for Like Father, Like Son and the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for Shoplifters, opened the 76th Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica di Venezia. Kore-eda Hirokazu’s La Vérité (The Truth), marks his first movie shot away from home, in a language that is not his own, with a remarkable European and American cast.

The story revolves around Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), a star of French cinema. She is a very temperamental woman with an inflated view of her talent and importance within the star system. When her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) returns from New York to Paris — with her husband (Ethan Hawke) and young child — and discovers what Fabienne published in her memoirs, the mother and daughter reunion will quickly turn into a confrontation.

The film has a very French flair that isn’t determined simply by the cast and setting, but by the sardonic humor, that explores the world of cinema from the point of view of the actor’s craft. The unabashed way in which a diva brings, not only her characters to life, but keeps the allure of her iconic image, is majestically delivered by Catherine Deneuve. Fabienne has to confront the way the passing of time is giving way to younger talents, one in particular who will bring up all kinds of old ghosts. In fact, at the heart of the screenplay is a play Kore-eda had written in 2003 about a night in the dressing room of a theatre actress coming to the end of her career. But contrarily to the Norma Desmond-Sunset Boulevard archetype, the Japanese filmmaker brings the humanist exploration to a more articulate level by expanding the subject matter to the relationship between a cinema star and her daughter who gave up her dreams of becoming an actress. The chemistry between Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche is phenomenal, and the rest of the male cast, that seems to act as contour, harmoniously amalgamates to allow truths to emerge, accounts to be settled, resentments to be confessed and love to come forth. 

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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