Atom Egoyan’s ‘Remember’ Bows To Long Standing O, Mixed Reviews – Venice

remember venice arrivalLast night brought another 10-minute standing ovation to the Venice Film Festival, accompanying the screening of Atom Egoyan’s Remember. The title is one of the last to play in Competition here as the final films bow today and the jury deliberates for the last time ahead of tomorrow night’s prize ceremony. Remember was hailed inside the main Sala Grande at its official presentation where there were bravos at the end — and also in the Palabiennale venue where there was slightly more subdued “warm applause,” an attendee tells me.

Reviews have been mixed on the revenge tale that stars Christopher Plummer as a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor. He’s receiving great notices for his role as Zev who, despite his physical frailty and dementia, sets out to find the Auschwitz Block Commander responsible for the murder of his and his late wife’s families, and is now believed to be living in North America.

Remember heads to Toronto as a Gala Presentation this weekend. Entertainment One has set a Canada release on October 23 and A24 releases in the U.S. on January 15, after a December qualifying run that can be expected to highlight Plummer.

The Oscar winner, who was not in attendance in Venice, told the Lido press by Skype, “I was dying to play an ordinary man; a simple, intelligent and educated man, but who was very introverted.” Egoyan, the Oscar nominated director of The Sweet Hereafter who is coming off of 2014 misstep The Captive, called Remember “an extraordinary examination of memory and trauma but refracted through such exceptional characters.”

Also in the cast are Martin Landau as Zev’s nursing home crony and confidant, Jürgen Prochnow and Bruno Ganz as two of the potential Nazi officers, and Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris. Egoyan is reteamed here with longtime producer Robert Lantos. The script is by Benjamin August. IM Global has done well with international sales.

As we head into the final few screenings, there’s typically no consensus on which way the prizes will go tomorrow. Among the best received films are Alexander Sokurov’s Francofonia — which just scooped the Best European Film in Competition prize from the Fedeora jury; Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa (with the cast’s voice work particularly strong), Eddie Redmayne’s lauded turn in The Danish Girl; Netflix’s Beasts Of No Nation and Amos Gitai’s Rabin, The Last Day. But as we’ve seen in years past when an Italian documentary came seemingly from left field to scoop the Golden Lion, and last year’s Birdman was a shutout in the main awards, it’s still anybody’s game.

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