By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On September 26th the 15th edition of the Festival do Rio (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival) will present hundreds of films from over sixty countries during a two-week-long event that will take place in theaters throughout the city. In anticipation of the big event, organizers recently announced the titles that will show as part of this year’s festival.
As in previous editions, some of the most talked about films of the year will be featured in the festival’s categories. They include; Panorama, Dox (Documentaries), Midnight, Gay, Première Latina, and Première Brazil, the competitive section of the festival for Brazilian cinema.
In the Panorama or World Cinema section, director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” is already creating Oscar buzz and is one of the most anticipated films of festival. Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, the space survival drama has been called “breathtaking” and “awe-inspiring” by critcs for its 3D visual effects.
The effects are not the only things pleasing critics, as many are saying that Bullock’s performance might lead to another Oscar nomination and win for the actress who in 2010 took home an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film “The Blind Side”.
However Bullock may have serious competition from fellow actress Cate Blanchett. Her portrayal of a woman coming undone in Woody Allen’s latest, “Blue Jasmine”, a film that will also show as part of the festival, is generating its own Oscar mentions. Allen will make another appearance in this year’s Rio film festival as an actor in director/actor John Turturro’s film “Fading Gigolo”, Allen plays a bookstore owner turned pimp with Turturro as a male prostitute.
Other notables in the festival’s Panorama category include Gus Van Sant’s film depicting small town traditions against outsider and corporate promises of progress in “Promised Land” starring Matt Damon and Frances McDormand; director Jim Jarmusch’s vampire love story, “Only Lovers Left Alive” starring actress Tilda Swinton; director of “Drive” Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film “Only God Forgives”; director Alexander Payne’s American drama, “Nebraska” and director Harmony Korine’s much talked about and raucous film “Spring Breakers”.
Also showing will be the much anticipated documentary “Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer”, which follows the trail and imprisonment of three members of the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot after their arrest for a performance in protest of Vladimir Putin held in a Moscow cathedral.
Additionally this year the festival will spotlight German filmmakers with Foco Alemanha (Germany Focus) and with the section, Escola de Berlim (Berlin School). The term “Berlin School” refers to a style of film that emerged within German cinema in the mid-90s.
As always, the festival will also focus on the best new offerings from Brazilian filmmakers as the films in the Première Brasil section compete for the Redentor trophies for Best Feature Film Fiction, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Editing.
A notable entry this year for Première Brasil is one of eight competing documentaries, “City Of God – 10 Years Later”. The film shows what has happened in the lives of the actors who appeared in Fernando Meirelles’ and Kátia Lund’s 2002 Brazilian crime drama “Cidade de Deus” (City Of God).
The 2013 Festival do Rio will begin on Thursday, September 26th and run through Thursday, October 10th and will take place in theaters throughout the city with its main hub located again in the port zone of Centro, at Armazém 6 (on Rua Rodrigues Alve) also known as Armazém da Utopia.