Films competing for “Best Picture” at this year’s Venice Film Festival 2017 feature some of the world’s most important special interest stories circulating the globe.
Here are 5 of the bravest social dramas competing for The Gold Lion award at The Venice Film Festival happening later this month.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Angela Hazes’ mother, Mildred Hayes, survives her murder and is determined to find the killer. The story begins with Mildred engaging the police in an unconventional manner after they’ve all but given up on solving the case.
In a tale of taking the law into your own hands Mildred Hayes (played by Francis McDormand) erects three billboards challenging the police to “stop torturing black folks” and to use the man hours to “solve actual crimes”. As expected Mildred receives push back from the local town folks and the police which really pisses her off and makes her more determined. Her courage gets people talking and sparks new leads and new friendships that enrich the story and makes us hope for a positive outcome.
The film is a shit fest of foul language, it’s rude and obnoxious, and McDormand delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as a creative woman open to all avenues to seek justice for someone she loves.
A documentary described by critics as a look into migration in the aftermath of war the film is actually a mirror reflecting societies gross loss of humanity in response to tragedy. Filmed in 23 countries over the course of more than a year, Human Flow is a refugee story. Produced by renowned artist Ai Weiwei who narrates an emotional tale of societies lack of empathy, this film is both a strong visual arts project and a strong stand-alone documentary.
In fact, the film was so well received it was picked up by Altitude Films, also known for grabbing Academy Award winning best picture film “Moonlight”. Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow has already been announced for a 2018 release world-wide.
A dark satire set in a more idyllic time of society when men were men, women were subtle and life was a piece of cake, Suburbicon relates to today’s growing trend of violence in American households and the lack of empathy in taking human life. The film focuses on a pent-up but otherwise boring suburban father and husband (played by Matt Damon) who for reasons unknown has borrowed money from the Mob. When a henchman comes to collect and Damon is unable to pay his wife is brutally murdered.
From there the film progresses in a sequence of events that urges forth the psychotic nature of the grieving husband. With the brutal murder of his wife whose quickly replaced by her sister (played by the lovely Julianne Moore) we watch the sparks fly as the two team up to take down the mob in deadly pursuit.
Medeas is aptly described by Twitch as “a rare piece of cinema”. The film begins peacefully the director having captured the soft spirit of simple life in the country and we are allowed to sit back and relax as 3rd party observers. A little ways into the film we probe deeper into a country family’s home and we smile at the idyllic lifestyle many of us secretly believe is the perfect existence. I must say this is the specialty of the film in that we are allowed to proceed as observers without judgement. But, as a result, we are unable to escape the horror of watching the wife being battered by her husband.
We watch the effects of domestic violence and its toll on everyone in the home. By now we’re on the edge of our seats and all that we’ve seen before- the beauty of the natural landscape, the innocent wonder of the children and the sweet, precious moments of life often taken for granted- gets swept away as the film sinks into a nightmare.
Angels Wear White
This film touches on our failed social construct, specifically how society encourages turning a blind eye to sexual assault and child molestation. The film, directed by Angela Qu, takes place in a small seaside town. It begins with two schoolgirls who are assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. (And the blame game begins)
The film is narrated by Mia, a teenager who is working the reception counter the day of the assault, and is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she says nothing. As events unfold we watch devastated by the impact of Mia’s silence. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Wen, one of the assaulted minors, finds that her troubles have only just begun. Trapped in a world that offers them no safety, we watch society fail Mia and Wen and hope they are able to save themselves.
This film sheds light on the darker recesses of Australian history. Set in the 1920s the story sticks a pin in a turning point in Australia’s social justice system when an indigenous aboriginal is mistreated after he shoots and kills a white Australian out of self-defense.
The western-style flick is shot in the northern plains of the country with a cast that includes indigenous aboriginal actors. The film is a passion project of Australian director Warwick Thornton who believes these stories need to be told. The events of the film is narrated by a young boy, Philomac (played by twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan), who witnesses Aboriginal stockman Sam Kelly (played by Hamilton Morris) kill a white station owner in self-defense.
In a true cinematic twist we come to realize things aren’t black and white, film maker Warwick Thornton reveals “there were angels and demons on both sides of the fence.”