Open iTunes to preview, buy, and download this movie.
About the Movie
Dean (Henry Jaglom) is a maverick American film director surprised that his most recent film has been chosen as an Official U.S. Entry at the Venice Film Festival. A beautiful French journalist (Nelly Alard) arrives at the festival with the apparent intention of interviewing the unique and eccentric filmmaker. In the midst of all the festival madness, she is forced to confront the wide divergence between things as they really are and things as they seem to be - both on-screen and off. And so, finally, are we. Shot half in Venice, Italy and half in Venice, California, "Venice/Venice" looks at the profound effect movies have had - and continue to have - on our lives, our loves and dreams of romance.
Good: Interesting women talking about movies; this is 5% of the film. Bad: The protagonist is ugly. Not just unattractive, but Hunchback of Notre Dame ugly. Where is the makeup department? The film has zero plot; the characters talk on and on about absolutely nothing. Nothing else happens. I watched the trailer and the film looked pretty; gondolas in Venice with piano music. Be warned: for these few seconds of beauty, you'll be saddled with two hours of torture. This is the worst film I have seen. This estimate includes Jerry Lewis's Hardly Working, The Trial of Billy Jack and Plan 9 From Outer Space. It's not funny-bad or interestingly bad. It's downright painful to watch. Have I made myself clear?
Self-indulgence to the extreme
The camera makes love to Venice (Italy) and rightfully so - unfortunately the focus is on a nutball who sees himself as the center of every woman's universe. Don't bother. Not worth $2.99
A Real “Killer” B Movie (one of 237!)
This review is an excerpt from my book “Killer B’s: The 237 Best Movies On Video You’ve (Probably) Never Seen,” which is available as an ebook on iBooks. If you enjoy this review, there are 236 more like it in the book (plus a whole lot more). Check it out!
VENICE/VENICE: Dean (Jaglom) is an independent filmmaker attending a film festival in Venice, Italy. One of his numerous interviewers is Jeanne (Alard), a Parisian journalist smitten with his films and their sensitive insights. His wheeling, dealing and schmoozing at the festival, however, shatters her romantic illusions about his screen persona, and she leaves, disenchanted and disappointed. Cut to Venice, California, some time later. Jeanne shows up unexpectedly at Dean’s home to pursue their initial attraction. Problem is, Dean’s already living with someone. Whose true love will overcome all obstacles?
Discussion: “It’s really hard to think that real life exists independent of the movies,” Jaglom-as-Dean admits. He might as well have entitled this film “Real/Reel,” as his experiments in cinema faux verité reach new heights of integration here. Or is that new depths of self-indulgence? The film ponders that question too, as well as more important questions, like: How do movies affect our life, especially in terms of self-concept and romantic expectation? And: Are movies—even “realistic” movies—an accurate reflection of life? Illustration is punctuated by discussion in a brave attempt to blur the border between life and film.
Admittedly, the film has its flaws, which are magnified by its audacious experimental nature. It’s occasionally frustrating to watch Jaglom grapple with a subject he can’t quite seem to bring into sharp focus, for instance, and despite his defense and denial of self-indulgence, he occasionally flirts with narcissism. He must have [expletive deleted] big enough to fill a blimp hanger, for example, to expect to pull off a “realistic” scene in which his past, present and future lovers all share a heart-to-heart, and all end up liking, understanding and respecting one another. Now there’s a self-indulgent fantasy!—particularly when he plays “Dean” as a cranky, obnoxious, abrasive and sometimes downright nasty little egotist.
Yet despite its flaws, this is the film Jaglom has been trying to make most of his life—and it’s as unique and thoughtful an attempt to fuse film and fact as has ever been committed to celluloid.