Out of competition: Master Gardener and Pearl



USA, 2022 Direction Paul Schrader Interpreters: Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Quintess Swindell Duration: 111 ‘ Distribution: Movies Inspired

What has Paul Schrader done to constantly tell in his career as a screenwriter and director guilt and atonement in its most disparate forms? He also does so in the Master Gardener, the story of the gardener Narvel Roth, a master in his field, author, it should be said, of a garden masterpiece, that of a rich and elderly widow from Louisiana with whom he has developed a very strong relationship. special. The balance, which governs the garden and the house, is broken when the lady decides to entrust her very problematic niece to Narvel’s care. The girl learns the trade, while memories of a past life are stirred in the gardener. After entering the competition in 2017 with First Reformed and in 2021 with The Card Counter, Schrader is invited out of competition, as per tradition for those who must receive the Lifetime Achievement Lion from the hands of the artistic director. Highly deserved for the scriptwriter of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and director of magnificent films such as Hardcore and The Drug Dealer. Narvel Roth is one of the many forms that the taxi driver Travis Bickle has taken over the years, who later became an ambulance driver, drug dealer, philosopher, and a confused priest. He is played by actor and director Joel Edgerton who duets with a rediscovered Sigourney Weaver and the promising young Quintessa Swindell, who we will soon see in the DC Comics blockbuster Black Adam.

About his new effort Paul Schrader said: “I was lucky, because I lived in a bubble of creative freedom, wealth, free time, peace and good health. My latest film focuses on Narvel Roth, a lonely man sitting in a room, with a mask on his face – which is his job as a horticulturist – waiting for something to happen. And then something happens ”.

Perfect synthesis by an artist who has done his job with writing and words and who has given the cinema very high moments. And it is one of the many amusing cases of cinema that this year the restoration of The Mysteries of the Garden of Compton House is being screened in Venice. Perhaps we would all need to dedicate ourselves to something alive, in a world so full of violence even a simple flower can give so much hope.

Mattia Pasquini


Direction Ti West Interpreters: My Goth Duration: 102 ′

It was the horror revelation of 2022. Xof course, the homage that the expert of the genre Ti West he made the ultra-independent cinema of the 70s, shot on the loose, few means and a lot of passion. Pearl was the old sex addicted psychopath who slaughters the crew who rented her barn to shoot a porno. Today we find her, young and beautiful, in a prequel shot at the same time as the first film and which still stars Mia Goth, who had played her old and ruthless under layers of make-up. “When I told Mia what I was planning to do, I asked her if I felt like taking on this adventure. She accepted without thinking for a minute and I had found my Pearl“. This is what the director told Ciak during a zoom call last June. Goth is a muse of auteur cinema, she worked with Luca Guadagnino in Suspiria and Claire Denis in High Life. We find her Pearl in the 1920s, young, beautiful and with two great passions: cinema and meat. The latter in every sense. Also in this case West celebrates the cinematographic art, that of the origins, which is intertwined with the homicidal fury of the protagonist. Pure genre work that fits perfectly into this Venezia 79 which has touched horror and its various declinations also with Bones and All by Luca Guadagnino and also with Athena, who takes up suggestions dear to John Carpenter’s cinema and beyond. Pearl is an A24 product, the new independent major that brought it into competition The Whale by Darren Aronofski and, in part, also White Noise. A24 is giving a new signature on the Hollywood scene.

Alessandro De Simone

Out of competition: Master Gardener and Pearl