×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Hurt Locker’ gives Venice a jolt

Bigelow film follows elite bomb squad in Iraq

VENICE — The Iraq war dominated the day at the Venice Film Festival, where the world preem of Kathryn Bigelow’s high-adrenaline bomb-squad actioner “The Hurt Locker” gave the Lido a jolt and emerged as the Iraq pic that may break through to American auds.

“We represent something that’s very different from any other Iraq war film that we’ve seen so far,” producer Greg Shapiro told Daily Variety on Thursday.

Shapiro has high hopes of closing a U.S. distribution deal at the Toronto Film Festival for the war drama, which received a 10-minute standing ovation after its Lido screening.

The story follows an elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team operating in and around Baghdad.

Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Brian Geraghty star as the death-defying defusers, with Ralph Fiennes putting in a cameo as a mercenary. Guy Pearce also has a small role.

The indie pic, which was shot in Jordan and was produced by Shapiro and Nicolas Chartier’s Voltage Pictures, goes out in Italy via Warner Bros. on Oct. 10.

Popular on Variety

At the packed news conference, Bigelow, who is the only woman helmer in the Lido’s 21-title competition, called “Hurt Locker” “a very topical film about an underreported war.”

But politics are really peripheral.

“My interest was to give this conflict a human face and to enable the audience to actually experience what a soldier experiences, based on personal observation from the battlefield,” she said.

Journo Mark Boal, who was embedded with an EOD team in Iraq in 2004 and penned the screenplay based on that experience, called “Hurt Locker” “primarily observational, as opposed to polemical.”

“It’s almost a dirty little secret of war that, as horrible as it is, there are some men who, through the intensity of the experience, come to find it alluring,” Boal said.

Shapiro acknowledged that the market for Iraq war films is very tough.

Paul Haggis’ “In the Valley of Elah” and Brian De Palma’s “Redacted,” which both preemed in Venice last year, sparked little interest with auds. Boal also wrote the material on which “In the Valley of Elah” was based.

“Hopefully this film presents the war in a new and a fresh way that people haven’t seen, so we’re hoping that perhaps that will break the trend in America,” Shapiro said.

Slotted just as Toronto opens, “Hurt Locker” provided further proof that Venice topper Marco Mueller has backloaded the fest, which lacked firepower during the first week.

The Venice fest ends Saturday.

More Film

  • Colombia’s ‘Valley of Souls’ Wins Marrakech’s

    Colombia’s ‘Valley of Souls’ Wins Marrakech’s Etoile d’Or

    The 18th edition of the Marrakech Intl. Film Festival awarded the Etoile d’Or for best film to Colombia’s “Valley of Souls,” directed by Nicolás Rincón Gille. In his acceptance speech the director said: “Colombia is a country that people know very little about. But in this film I try to offer a glimpse of the [...]

  • SAFF Winners 2019

    ScreenSingapore: Philippines Projects Take Top Prizes at SAFF Market

    Projects from the Philippines took away the top prizes awarded Friday at the conclusion of Screen Singapore’s Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market. The event is part of the Singapore Media Festival. The winners included director J.P. Habac’s musical comedy drama “Golden” about homeless gay seniors who reunite to perform as drag queens to [...]

  • THE FAVOURITE

    'The Favourite' Wins Big At The 32nd European Film Awards

    Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite” scooped the 32nd European Film Awards, winning best film, best comedy and best actress for Olivia Colman who previously won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Queen Anne in the film. “The Favourite” was leading the nominations along with Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” Marco Bellocchio’s “The Traitor” and Roman [...]

  • Ed-Skrein-Erica-Rivas-Fernando-Trueba-Lucia-Puenzo

    Ventana Sur 2019: Big New Titles, Argentina-Mexico, Deals, Trends

    BUENOS AIRES   —  The last few years have caught Ventana Sur – Cannes Festival and Market’s biggest initiative outside France – taking place as the industry debated radical change. This year saw the Latin American industries in a state of  transformation themselves, wracked by headwinds – Jair Bolsonaro’s government in Brazil – or looking [...]

  • 'Free Guy' Trailer: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie

    'Free Guy': Ryan Reynolds, Taika Waititi, Jodie Comer Star in First Trailer

    The first trailer for Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” premiered Saturday at the CCXP convention in Brazil. Reynolds stars as Guy, a bank teller and NPC (non-playable character) who discovers he’s living in a video game. In the trailer, hostage situations, buildings being blown up and people shooting guns off in the street is depicted as [...]

  • KARMELE

    Asier Altuna Preps Basque Historical Drama ‘Karmele the Hour of Waking Together’

    Basque cinema is booming, and director Asier Altuna is part of the vanguard leading it forward. The Spanish filmmaker, behind 2005 Youth Award winner “Aupa Etxebeste!” and 2015 Best Basque Film “Amama” at the San Sebastián Intl. Film Festival, attended this year’s Ventana Sur Proyecta sidebar with his next project, “Karmele, the Hour of Waking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content