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GDYNIA: The winner of the 43. Polish Feature Film Festival held in Gdynia 17-22 September 2018 did not come as a surprise with Paweł Pawlikowski’s Cold War winning the Golden Lion for best film. The film’s producers Ewa Puszczyńska and Tanya Seghatchian shared the prize.

VENICE: Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón was awarded the top prize for his film Roma in the main competition of the 75th Venice Film Festival, which took place from 29 August to 8 September 2018. Romania, Bulgaria and Poland scored as coproducers of prize winning films.

Director Darren Aronofsky returns to the Lido with mother! in the main competition a film which he describes as having “poured out of him as a fevered dream.” The description is indeed apt and his vision has left both critics and Venice audiences a bit baffled as to what it all means, that is if it means anything at all.

The honourary Italian from Lake Como George Clooney is back on the Lido with a quirky film called Suburbicon with a script by the Coen brothers that he has amended to make it his own.

Director Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water is a much needed antidote to cynicism in an increasingly cynical world.  This may just be Del Toro’s best film in a decade with nothing compares to it since his 2006 Pan’s Labyrinth.

Director Paul Schrader joins a group of films in this year’s Venice Main Competition that are concerned with the destruction of our planet’s environment via greed and over-exploitation with his latest film First Reformed. Maybe they are trying to tell us something.

Actor Matt Damon might be in danger of over-exposure if such a thing were possible in today’s Hollywood.  The very much “in demand” actor appears as a leading character in two films screening in the main competition in Venice this year Alexander Payne’s Downsizing and George Clooney’s Suburbicom.Actor Matt Damon might be in danger of over-exposure if such a thing were possible in today’s Hollywood.  

VENICE: Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, the first minority coproduction for Cristian Mungiu’s Mobra Films, and Sunset by Hungarian László Nemes, with Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov in the lead, were selected in Competition at the 75th Venice Film Festival. Another seven films from the central and eastern European region are screening in different sections of the festival that will take place from 29 August to 8 September 2018.

PRAGUE: Oscar winning Czech director Jan Sverak has re-mastered and re-released theatrically his 1994 comedy hit Akumulator I. The film is the second in a series of Sverak’s early films that the Czech director is re-mastering for re-release including the Oscar winning hit Kolya. Elementary School was re-mastered in 2016.

CANNES: Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is back in competition in Cannes with The Wild Pear Tree four years after winning the Palme d’Or with his Winter Sleep. The film is a coproduction between Turkey, Germany, Bulgaria, Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia, Sweden and Qatar although this is no pudding with Ceylan’s unmistakable style undiluted by the complexities of a seven country coproduction.