Venice Film Festival 2015 – Five Things We’ve Learned


That final boat journey away from the Lido is always a sad one, heralding the end of another Venice Film Festival, and the end of my stay in this beautiful island city. I managed 29 films at Venezia 72, some good, some bad, and a lot in-between. Overall, the standard was decent, but how much of what I’ve seen here can be applied to daily life? Here’s the top five takeaways that will help you prevent that awkward social faux pas or avoid upsetting family members.

1. Whitening toothpaste doesn’t work on everything
Now we all want a lovely set of pearly whites, but you can’t always take short-cuts, as poor Terry Norris finds out in Australian drama Looking for Grace. When we first meet him, he’s standing in front of the mirror complaining that the toothpaste he’s purchased doesn’t seem to have done the job. This is not surprising when it turns out he wears dentures. Take note people, false teeth might look real, but they really aren’t.

2. Get your hands out the peanut bowl
We’ve all seen those savoury snacks heaped up in an unsavoury communal bowl on the side of the bar. Countless studies tell us the number of bacteria swimming in there is off the scale, and yet we continue to dip in with impunity. Well Whitey Bulger has had enough. Johnny Depp’s take on the infamous Boston gangster in Black Mass paints him in a pretty bad light, but he does at least have a basic sense of cleanliness. When one of his associates keeps slobbering over his fingers and shoving them back in the bowl, he gets a stern warning. And you don’t ignore stern warnings from Whitey.

3. If you must hold kidnap victims in your own house, soundproof the walls first
By all accounts Arquímedes Puccio was a pretty unpleasant man. After suggestions that he helped disappear people during the Dirty War in Argentina, he then turned freelance criminal, orchestrating a number of kidnappings with the help of his family. As The Clan demonstrates, to avoid having to rent expensive storage facilities, he would just lock them in his bathroom or basement for months. This is all fine if you don’t have young teenagers in the house who you would prefer remain oblivious to your misdeeds. People locked in a dark room for months on end tend to scream. And yes Mr Puccio, those screams carry.

4. Antique Japanese sex dolls are not appropriate gifts for children
Michael Stone clearly has a lot on his mind. Everyone in the world in Anomalisa appears to be morphing into the same person, with similar looks and identical voice. When you have this going on, it’s easy to forget to pick up a present for your young son on a business trip to Cincinnati. Especially when your son seems to be the same as everyone else as well. However, in his distracted state, Stone accidentally heads to a sex shop to pick up a gift, going with the enchanting antique behind the counter. When you hand it over and you hear your wife asking if that’s semen coming out the doll’s mouth, you know you’ve erred.

5. It’s easy to smuggle items across the Canadian border
In Remember, Christopher Plummer’s Zev is on a mission of revenge. Attempting to track down the SS concentration camp officer who killed his family, he’s narrowed his target down to one of four people. Unfortunately, this requires a trip to Canada. So what should one do when their coach reaches the border and they’re carrying a firearm? In Zev’s case, he cunningly conceals his Glock pistol by leaving it on his seat. After a trip to the immigration counter in which they tick him off about his expired passport and search his bag, he’s free to board the vehicle again and resume his murderous journey. It’s that simple.

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