George Clooney, a Taiwanese Braveheart, and the mystery of Valentino’s tan
31 Aug 2011
Where I meet George Clooney again, love his new film The Ides of March and wonder about another Gold Lion-competitor about a Taiwanese Braveheart-type of guy, who decapitates his victims with a machete flying through the air. Where fashion icon Valentino’s misterously caramel-coloured tan causes gossip, as he holds court on the terrace of the Excelsior, and I am, finally, promised my interview with Madonna.
I have to learn to stop blushing when adressing George Clooney at the press conferences. That will be an imperative. Next year, that is, because for now the damage is done. We have both been regulars for at least five years at the prestigous Italian film festival on the Venice Lido, but this year I am not so much smitten with Clooney’s abilities to wear a grey suit and – even more, of course – to spellbind a difficult crowd with his trademark charm, and his relaxed attitude to fame. And this is while others, such as his friend Brad Pitt, have been left almost petrified faced with the demands of what was supposed to be the cream of international press, but who at times morph into scary masses hungry for fresh celebrity. As when the Coen Brothers presented Burn after reading, calling it the third film in their trilogy of idiots, and a Spanish tv-journalist asked Brad Pitt run after her, and an Italian guy dropped his pants and declared Clooney his love. While other journalists demanded news on the then newborn Pitt-Jolie twins. And thus involuntarily confirmed the Coens’ theory that we live in en era of idiocy
No, this year, at the 68th Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia, George Clooney exceeds him self by joining the league of extraordinary American filmmakers. Featuring Ryan Gosling as Stephen, the odd idealist in politics, and a quickly rising press secretary of a governor, running to be the Democratic presidential candidate, The Ides of March depicts the mechanisms of politics, claiming that you if you want access to power, you leave your integrity at the door.
When facing a delicate dilemma regarding his loyality, Ryan Gosling’s Stephen hesitates a milisecond too long and before he knows it, he is on the route to moral decay. Accompanied by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti as rival press officers and the Hollywood-newcomer, starlet Evan Rachel Wood as the far too innocent 20 year old intern, this is an intriguing and well-written moral fable, that has a great – and I mean great – deal in common with masterful Tv show The Wire. Clooney himself has balls big enough to play the Democratic presidential candidate, who in Stephen’s opinion is going to change the face of America, but who soon dissapoints by being far more flawed than his obnoxious opponent in the race for the Democratic presidential candidacy.
”I have been wanting to make this film for 4-5 years, but then Obama was elected, and the atmosphere was too positive. Now is the perfevt time, I think, when cynicism rules above idealism. Think abouyt this: We have the smartest most well-meaning guy in office right now and it is impossible for him to do his job,” said Clooney, who with The Ides of March, in my, opionion joins the league of extraorinarys American directors.
Maybe that’s why he was serious at the conference, not needing his usual wisecracks – about from his favourite remark – ”We have time for one more question!” after five of the conference’s 30 minutes which always leaves himself and the audience giggling.
After a series of years, where it seemed the Venice Film fetsival, the worlds oldest, by the way, was struggling for it’s life, it seems that the headline of local newspaper Il Gazzettino was actually prophezing when today it stated:
”Clooney ignites the film festival!”
But, whether Clooney has a shot at the main prize remains to be seen, because in the following days we will be spoiled with world premieres by star directors like Roman Polanski and David Cronenberg. Plus younger auteurs such as British Andrea Arnold, who made the masterly Fish Tank, and who appears to have been given Emily Brontes Wuthering Heights an angry art house makeover and Swedish Thomas Alfredson, dirtector of the vampire comedy Let the Right One In has given new blood to another sort of classic John Le Carré’s spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy.
No competition will come from the late night screening on the first day on the festival, I bet, after having been introduced to Seediq Bale – Warriors of the Rainbow, an epic saga about Taiwanese riot against the Japanese intruders, which I think, is more suited for the History Channel. An extremely violent film about a Taiwanese Braveheart-type of character, who decapitates his enemies with a machete while flying through the air. In slowmotion.
Nevertheless, there is no reason to despair. The lineup this year has Cannes growing pale and the international press in large numbers. Over the next ten days we will be fed 66 world premieres, among them Madonnas directorial debut about King Edward the VII and the affair with Wallis Simpson, that made him hand over the British throne to Colin Firth. Sorry to the Prince of Wales.
Half-baked by the sun on the terrace of five star hotel Excelsior today I finally got my confirmation for an interview with Madonna, after an initial mistake with the nominations. I didn’t so much mind the wait, particularly since it gave me the opportunity to further scrutinize the colour of Valentino’s tan. Something which is so mysteriously caramel, that I had a hard time to focus, when doing an interview with him on the Lido a few years ago, when Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary about him came out. It seemed like it amused his court of long legged models as well, at least they were laughing at everything the Italian fashion legend, who invented Valentino-red was saying to them.
Could it be the color of extreme wealth? Or could it be a spray tan?
I’ll keep you posted.