Two films - The Last Duel and Venom: Let There Be Carnage - were released this week and the European Film Festival opened yesterday (14 October).
European Film Festival
The European Film Festival provides a window onto what is fresh and new in the film industries across Europe. It opened yesterday and will virtually screen a selection of 18 films from across Europe free of charge until 24 October,
The films on show will present, through the lenses of European filmmakers, a snapshot of experiences of re-establishing oneself after sometimes traumatic and possibly cathartic experiences. They deal with journeys that include organic growth, transition and processes of self-discovery.
Many include a healthy dose of humour, bringing some possibly much-needed laughter into our lives. Much of the humour is of a more cerebral nature - films that make you smile and think at the same time. Essentially, these films present stories of hope, humanity and thought-provoking intrigue, show-casing new work by some of Europe’s most accomplished filmmakers alongside exciting new talent.
From visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott comes The Last Duel, a gripping tale of betrayal and vengeance set against the brutality of 14th century France.
Based on actual events, the historical epic unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris - two friends turned bitter rivals.
Following winning an Oscar for best original screenplay for Good Will Hunting, their first screenplay which they wrote together and a friendship of over 40 years, Bostonians Matt Damon and Ben Affleck re-team for the screenplay of The Last Duel, a historical epic based on actual events that unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals.
Eric Jager’s compelling 2004 book, The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime Scandal and Trial by Combat in Medieval France, caught the eye of Matt Damon, who immediately saw its cinematic potential and envisioned Ridley Scott taking the helm.
“We knew it was an incredible story. The question was how do we tell it in a way that would be really interesting,” says Damon. “And that’s when we came up with the perspective idea and, ultimately, the kind of the bait and switch where you have two thirds of a movie with these two men, only to discover that this woman is actually the hero of the whole story.”
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Damon and Affleck were soon collaborating on the script with Nicole Holofcener, a writer/director (Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money) and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), with each writing from the perspective of Carrouges, Le Gris and Marguerite, respectively, to ensure the story effectively captured all three voices.
A superhero film, Venom: Let There Be Carnage is the second film in Sony’s Spider-Man Universe and the sequel to Venom (2018). Eddie Brock attempts to reignite his career by interviewing serial killer Cletus Kasady, who becomes the host of the symbiote carnage and escapes prison after a failed execution. The film is directed by Andy Serkis with Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams and Naomie Harris.
Hardy is committed to every film he makes but took that commitment to another level with this film. He receives the first feature film writing credit of his career having penned the story of Venom: Let There Be Carnage with Kelly Marcel, who also wrote the screenplay, reprising his role as the lethal protector venom.
“The film is a love story, but not the love story you might think,” says Serkis. “It’s very much about the extraordinary relationship between symbiote and host. Any love affair has its pitfalls, its high points and low points. Venom and Eddie’s relationship absolutely causes problems and stress, and they have a near-hatred for each other. But they have to be with each other - they can’t live without each other. That’s companionship - love - the things that relationships are really about.”
Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za