The Top 5 Films To See At the 2014 Venice Film Festival

Written and Directed by Ramin Bahrani

"A father struggles to get back the home that his family was evicted from by working for the greedy real estate broker who's the source of his frustration." Ramin Bahrani, an American filmmaker often associated with helping establish the neo neo-realism movement, has made a career of tackling desperate people in these economically depressed times. Films like Chop Shop and Man Push Cart have defined the power of independent filmmaking and forcing us to forget about the limitations. With 99 Homes he appears to be continuing this trend while adding the recognizable likes of Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern.


4. Pasolini


Written and Directed by Abel Ferrara

Among those in competition at this year's festival is the latest project by the controversial director Abel Ferrara. Ferrara's previous film Welcome to New York screened at Cannes just this year; he's clearly been busy lately. With Pasolini he explores the final days of an even more controversial director, Pier Paolo Pasolini, the Italian filmmaker behind Salo and Pigsty. Pasolini was infamously murdered at the age of 53 after completing work on Salo. Most interesting is that Willem Dafoe will be playing the lead. It's safe to assume that it won't be in Italian, but Pasolini should have little to no problem holding our attention.


3. Fires on the Plain


Directed by Shinya Tsukamoto

Based on the novel of the same name and previously adapted into a film in 1959 by Kon Ichikawa, Fires on the Plain is the story of Private Tamura who deserts the Imperial Japanese Army and struggles to survive in the Philippine jungles. Fires on the Plain is directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, a filmmaker who has developed a cult following and is know for his sci-fi and horror films. Whether he chooses to practice restraint or goes all out, we anticipate seeing what Tsukamoto will bring to a wartime story inspired by real events.


2. The Look of Silence

Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer

Last year Joshua Oppenheimer challenged audiences around the world to face the truth of Indonesian genocide with The Act of Killing. This year he continues that noble quest with The Look of Silence which follows a surviving family who confront the men that killed one of their brothers. Oppenheimer rewrote the conventions of the documentary form last time around, taking us to a dark and surprisingly entertaining place with genre-styled reenactments. We'll see what tactics he brings this time around in the follow-up to one of the most important films ever made. We'll also see how many people choose to remain "Anonymous" in the closing credits on this one.


1. Birdman

Written and Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

"A washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero must overcome his ego and family troubles as he mounts a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim his past glory." Michael Keaton stars in a lead role that seems to blur the line with his own life. Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifinakis co-star. The film comes to us from Alejandro González Iñárritu, the renowned Mexican writer/director famous for intersecting character pieces of grief. This is a pleasant surprise of a direction for him to take as Birdman is billed as a comedy. Emmanuel Lubezki, the cinematographer behind Children of Men and The Tree of Life, is responsible for what is reported as being a real-time film with the appearance of being a single-take. Birdman will have its world premiere at Venice.

Note: Quoted plot synopses taken from IMDb and Wikipedia.

Those are our top 5 films to see at the 2014 Venice Film Festival. What are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments below!