Lunch With Jude Law’s Missus

Empire woos Sienna Miller as Venice enters Day 6

by empire |
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Venice - Day 6 Monday kicked off with the latest film from Jonathan Glazer at a sneaky press screening of Birth, the film he shot with Nicole Kidman many, many moons ago. Kidman's smaller films have a habit of falling by the wayside, and this film's long time coming should by no means be taken as an indication that it's a stinker. In fact, this is one of the most intense thrillers we've seen in quite some time and certainly one of Kidman's best performances too. She plays a widowed woman who, after ten years, is about to marry again, but her newfound peaces is shattered when a ten year-old boy appears, claiming to be her dead husband. Glazer milks the trouble this causes with a Kubrickian precision and a score that really jangles the nerves. Lauren Bacall adds gravitas as her mother, Danny Huston is exceptional as her irritable fianc (a Best Supporting Actor nod there?) and the child himself is truly spooky and older than his years. After that we nipped across town for lunch with Sienna Miller, Jude Law's co-star from Alfie and one of the better things about this surprisingly good remake. Miller's been here for several months and will remain until November, working on Lasse Hallstrom's Casanova, with Heath Ledger. Hopefully this will give audiences a flavour of the actress who studied at the Lee Strasberg Studio in New York, and banish all the tabloid tattle that's followed her this year. She's also looking forward to next year's Empire awards and admits that her memories of the 2004 bash, like ours, are "rather messy". Back at the festival Vera Drake drew approval for Imelda Staunton's portrayal of a 1950 housewife whose abortion skills bring her family into disrepute. And talking of disrepute, the latest from Takashi Miike, Izo, even repulsed his faithful admirers, while Tarantino chuckled loudly in the auditorium. Conversely, Miike's contribution to the three-in-one film Three, Monster was fairly tame compared to the offerings from Fruit Chan and Park Chan-Wook. The latter features a delirious set piece in which a woman's fingers are superglued to a piano, chopped off and thrown in a blender. Needless to say, Metro Tartan have acquired it for a UK release. Similarly grotesque is the latest from Todd Solondz, a breathtakingly tasteless study of a 12 year-old girl who gets pregnant, has an abortion and runs off to live with a family of happy clappy Christians where all the children are disabled. Lines like, "She tried to run away - but she didn't even have any legs!" will live long in our memories, and a truly outré paedophile Bonnie & Clyde routine drew disbelieving laughs that were missing from the rather awful Storytelling. It's still a little clumsy (most especially the decision to have the lead played by six or so different actresses), and nowhere near as good as Happiness, but this is still a welcome statement from a very different voice. And we'll be speaking to Solondz tomorrow…

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