Gravity, The Zero Theorem and Child of God at Venice Film Festival 2013

Gravity, The Zero Theorem and Child of God at Venice Film Festival 2013


The films from Alfonso Cuaron, Terry Gilliam and James Franco are among the festival highlights

The 70th International Film Festival in Venice includes films starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Lindsay Lohan.

The annual film gala is opening with Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s sci-fi thriller featuring Clooney and Bullock. The two play marooned astronauts attempting to return to Earth after debris breaks their ship.

While Cuarón was previously nominated for the festival’s prestigious Golden Lion for Best Film in 2001 and 2006 (for Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men respectively), he faces stiff competition from Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem, starring Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, and James Franco’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s violent novel Child of God. Xavier Dolan, Hayao Miyazaki, Paul Schrader, Wang Bing and Ti West are among the other filmmakers showing works at the festival

Our top five picks from the programme (in addition to those mentioned above) are as follows:


Nicolas Cage plays the titular ex-con in David Gordon Green’s new southern thriller. Though Green is better known for comedies like Pineapple Express and TV series Eastbound & Down, Joe offers a gritty look at the relationship between Cage's character and 15-year-old Gary (The Tree of Life's Tye Sheridan), the eldest child of a homeless family.

Lance Armstrong: The Road Back

Out-of-competition slots offer an equally diverse range of films, with Oscar winner Alex Gibney’s examination of Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal being one to watch.

Under The Skin

A twist on the usual alien invasion film, Jonathan Glazer’s adaptation of Michel Faber’s novel features an alien in human form crossing Scotland. And who better to play this flesh-eating alien than Scarlet Johansson?

The Unknown Known: The Life and Times Of Donald Rumsfeld

Errol Morris’ documentary looks at the former US Defense Secretary’s time in office – from his days as a congressman to his role in planning the invasion on Iraq in 2003, Morris’ expose looks to be one that will cause controversy.


One to tug on the heart strings, award-winning British director Stephen Frears has cast Judi Dench as a mother who is in search of the son taken away from her at birth.

The festival takes place between Wed 28 Aug–Sat 7 Sep. For a full list of films, see below.

Venice 70 (In competition)

The Rooftops
dir: Merzak Allouache

dir: Gianni Amelio

Miss Violence
dir: Alexandros Avranas

dir: John Curran

Via Castellana Bandiera
dir: Emma Dante

Tom At The Farm
dir: Xavier Dolan

Child Of God
dir: James Franco

dir: Stephen Frears

La Jalousie
dir: Philippe Garrel

The Zero Theorem
dir: Terry Gilliam

Ana Arabia
dir: Amos Gitai

Under The Skin
dir: Jonathan Glazer

dir: David Gordon Green

The Police Officer’s Wife
dir: Philip Groning

dir: Peter Landesman

Kaze Tachinu
dir: Hayao Miyazaki

The Unknown Known: The Life And Times Of Donald Rumsfeld
dir: Errol Morris

Night Moves
dir: Kelly Reichardt

Sacro Gra
dir: Gianfranco Rosi

Stray Dogs
dir: Tsai Ming-liang

Out Of Competition

Space Pirate Captain Harlock
dir: Aramaki Shinji

dir: Alfonso Cuaron

dir: Kim Ki-duk

dir: Steven Knight

dir: Lee Sang-il

Wolf Creek 2
dir: Greg Mclean

Home From Home – Chronicle Of A Vision
dir: Edgar Reitz

dirs: Paul Rudish, Aaron Springer, Clay Morrow

The Canyons
dir: Paul Schrader

Che Strano Chiamarsi Federico Scola Racconta Fellini
dir: Ettore Scola

Walesa. Man Of Hope
dirs: Andrzej Wajda, Ewa Brodzka

Out Of Competition – Documentaries

Summer 82 When Zappa Came To Sicily
dir: Salvo Cuccia

Pine Ridge
dir: Vanessa Piper

Lance Armstrong: The Road Back
dir: Alex Gibney

dir: Miguel Gomes

Ukraina Is Not A Brothel
dir: Kitty Green

Con Il Fiato Sospeso
dir: Costanza Quatriglio

dir: Thierry Ragobert

La Voce Di Berlinguer
dirs: Mario Sesti, Teho Teardo

‘Til Madness Do Us Apart
dir: Wang Bing

At Berkeley
dir: Frederick Wiseman


Je M’appelle Hmmm…
dir: Agnès B.

Little Brother
dir: Serik Aprymov

Il Terzo Tempo
dir: Enrico Maria Artale

Eastern Boys
dir: Robin Campillo

Palo Alto
dir: Gia Coppola

dirs: Amiel Courtin-Wilson, Michael Cody

Fish & Cat
dir: Shahram Mokri

We Are The Best!
dir: Lukas Moodysson

dir: Rick Ostermann

La vida después
dir: David Pablos

Algunas Chicas
dir: Santiago Palavecino

dir: Andrea Pallaoro

Still Life
dir: Uberto Pasolini

Piccola Patria
dir: Alessandro Rossetto

La Prima Neve
dir: Andrea Segre

Why Don’t You Play In Hell?
dir: Sono Sion

The Sacrement
dir: Ti West


  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • US / UK
  • 1h 30min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Eric Michels
  • UK release: 8 November 2013

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.