Venice Film Festival, between Fincher’s killer-philosopher and the doubts of Artificial Intelligence

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By John

The long-awaited return of the «Fight Club» director David Fincher with «The Killer,» an ambitious exercise between Henry James and artificial intelligence with «The Beast» by Bertrand Bonello and then again, the third film of the day, the German «The Theory of Everything» by Timm Krogerwhile the controversy launched by Pierfrancesco Favino on Ferrari played by the American Adam Driver. The absence of stars on the red carpet also weighs heavily on Venice 80: it would have been a completely different scenario at the Palazzo del cinema with Michael Fassbender killer for Fincher and Lea Seydoux for the French Bonello, absent due to the authors’ and actors’ strike. And so the red carpet, in the usually crowded first weekend of the Festival, sees production delegations pass by with directors, set designers, set managers, as well as official press conferences, a sad year.
To complete the picture also the arrest of Gabriel Guevaraa young Spanish teen idol, famous for «Skam Spagna» and «It’s my fault», who should have come for an award, the Filming Italy Best Movie (but the Biennale specifies that Guevara’s presence was not linked to any activity or production of the Exhibition), but who instead was taken by the police following an international warrant on charges of sexual assault.
Fincher starts from the idea that a professional killer has his moments of pause between one crime and another, during which he also runs another risk: that of becoming a philosopher. It is the plot of the killer Michael Fassbender with a solitary, unscrupulous, cold and meticulous character who however finds himself making a mistake on an assignment. Driven by revenge, he will search for his instigators in an international manhunt between Paris, New York and New Orleans. Many action scenes, including an interminable duel to the death in an anthology-worthy apartment. Literary extraction – a graphic novel written by Alexis Nolent (aka Matz) and illustrated by Luc Jacamon – and a cast in which a very bad girl stands out Tilda Swinton.
Lea Seydoux, one of the most international French actresses, withdrew and sent a message «knowing that thousands of actors and writers are fighting, I choose not to come to Venice and I will promote the film when the strike is over». She is the protagonist of «The Beast» by Bonello, a film similar to (I would like to be) David Lynch, philosophical, romantic and cross-temporal. The inspiration, very freely, is from a story by Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle”. In a coming and going of years, pre-war 1910, full of light and hope, pre-MeToo 2018 and a science fiction but not at all distant 2044, Gabrielle (Seydoux) is put to the test with her emotions for a great love, Louis (McKay ) blocked by the anxiety and anguish of an imminent catastrophe (a Paris flooded by the overflowing Seine). The solution lies in the future dominated by artificial intelligence where there is no place for emotions: all that remains is to purify the subconscious of past experiences with a sort of DNA washing. «The one imagined for 2044 is a world without the internet, smartphones, social media, a world where there are no colors – said the director – artificial intelligence is a threat, if we think for example of its use in politics, but also opportunity if it is applied to medical research. I am optimistic, it will be useful but as long as it is used with caution.”
A contrast, opportunity or threat, which, taking inspiration from one of the strong battles of the unions in the USA, was also at the center of a conference of the Authors’ Days, promoted by Wgi (Writers Guild Italia), the Italian union, with the 100 authors and the Anac analyzed the new danger beyond preconceptions. Not just any conference but a real live challenge between man and machine with an experiment whose outcome is rather scary: in less than half an hour the AI ​​was able to create a pitch (a presentation of project) complete with synopsis, characters and environments, on a theme requested by the public.