Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews 11

Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews 11
The Venice Film Festival is now underway and the new Roman Polanski film, "An Officer and a Spy", is dominating the media's attention. "An Officer and a Spy" is a 19th century historical drama based on the Dreyfus Affair. A Jewish officer in France is sentenced to life imprisonment on a false charge of treason. Louis Garrel plays Alfred Dreyfus while Jean Dujardin plays the army intelligence officer who exposes the cover-up.

Director Polanski is not attending tonight's screening of the film, thereby avoiding any controversy. Polanski's wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner who plays a role in "An Officer and a Spy", responded to a question regarding the film's subject matter defensively; "All I can say about a sentiment of persecution is it's enough to consider what has happened to him in his life to understand. I have been married to him for 30 years and I know his life very well." In 1978, Polanski pleaded guilty to the rape of a 13-year-old girl but fled the US before he could be sentenced. Is he being treated unfairly? The president of the Venice jury, "Zama" director Lucrecia Martel, has pledged to judge the film on its own merits. She seems conflicted, however, in her views stating that she does not separate the man from his work.

Also premiering in Venice, on September 6th, is Giuseppe Capotondi's "The Burnt Orange Heresy". Adapted from Charles Willeford's novel, "The Burnt Orange Heresy" is a crime drama set in the art world. Danish actor Claes Bang stars alongside Donald Sutherland and Mick Jagger. The film is making the rounds, with additional screenings scheduled at the Toronto International Film Festival (September 5th - 15th) and at the San Sebastian Film Festival, which runs September 20th through the 28th. Sutherland will be on hand at the Spanish fest to support the film and also receive a career achievement award.

Claes Bang has a number of projects about to be released including "Lyrebird", directed by Dan Friedkin. Like "An Officer and a Spy", this is a true-life drama but set in the aftermath of World War II. A Dutch painter is the subject of an investigation to determine if he collaborated with Nazi Germany. The film co-stars Guy Pierce and Vicki Krieps. "Lyrebird" is showing this weekend at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, which opened today and runs through Monday, September 2nd. As of yet, "Lyrebird" and "An Officer and a Spy" have not been picked up for distribution in the US.

Column posted on 8/30/2019.

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