Friday, 23 November 2007
focus on asia and dario argento
ACMI salutes one of Italy's most famous filmmaking families in Focus on Asia and Dario Argento, presenting a program of films either directed by or starring international 'It' Girl Asia Argento - including three new films direct from Cannes Film Festival - screening alongside signature classics by her horror maestro father, Dario Argento.
Filmmaking has been in the Argento blood for three generations. Arguably the most famous (currently) of the clan is Dario Argento, whose distinctive directorial flair for stylish horror flicks has earned him a substantial and enduring cult following. Both Dario's father, the influential film producer (the late) Salvatore Argento, and younger brother Claudio Argento, have taken on the producer role for Dario's films.
But the star of ACMI's season is truly Asia Argento, Dario's daughter, an accomplished actor, writer and director whose star is well and truly on the rise following her starring roles in not one but three films* in Official Competition in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Heralded by New York's Village Voice in 2002 as "international starlet del giorno, showbiz kid, polymath auteur [and] big talker daughter', Asia (pronounced "aah-ze-ya") has already worked with some of international cinema's most celebrated directors, including Abel Ferrera (twice), Sofia Coppola, Catherine Breillat, George Romero, Patrice Chéreau, Gus Van Sant and her own father Dario Argento.
As a director, she has produced two impressively confident and stylistically energetic works: A Scarlet Diva (in Italian, produced by uncle Claudio Argento) and the English language feature, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. Based on the 'autographical' novel of J. T Leroy, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things attracted significant attention for its limited US cinema run, thanks to the explosive revelation (on the eve of its release) that LeRoy was in fact a forty-something San Francisco-based writer, Laura Albert, and not a 'white trash' urchin from the South as previously claimed.
Highlights of Focus on Asia and Dario Argento will include three new films (all screening as Melbourne premieres) that showcase Asia's most recent acting work: Boarding Gate, Olivier Assayas' bold East/West thriller, and Go Go Tales, Abel Ferrera's new 'intentional comedy' set in a strip club - also starring Willem Dafoe and Bob Hoskins - both of which screened in Official Selection in the 2007 Cannes Film Festival; and Transylvania, Tony Gatlif's most recent musical excursion into Romany culture, which was the closing night film for the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.
These will screen alongside examples of Asia's earlier acting work which includes Marie Antoinette; New Rose Hotel, directed by Abel Ferrera (credited by Asia as a crucial figure in her evolution as a director), screening in a double program with Abel / Asia, a video diary shot on location during the filming of New Rose Hotel; and the short film Cindy, the Doll is Mine in which Asia plays the dual role of famous photographer Cindy Sherman and a blonde-wigged fashion model.
Rounding off the program will be three classic horror films from Dario Argento: Deep Red, Suspiria and Inferno, publicly credited by Asia as her personal favourites among her father's work and widely considered by Dario Argento buffs to be among his best work.
*An Old Mistress, one of three films in Official Selection at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival that starred Asia Argento, premiered at ACMI Cinemas in October 2007 as part of Focus on Catherine Breillat.
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