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The Venice Film Festival has wrapped, and yes, we all started vomiting blood and screaming at the idea that the “Joker” won the Golden Lion (if only because of the social hot takes to come). But one of the more curious moments of Venice was the last-minute premiere of Ciro Guerra’s “Waiting For The Barbarians.” It’s one of those Venice films not programmed at any of the festivals—besides BFI London seemingly weeks after the fact—and was buried at the end of the schedule on the Lido. Was ‘Barbarians’ a disaster accepted only for its prestige actors? This is a more common practice at festivals than you might think: taking a star-laden movie that’s not very good for buzz and then burying at the end of a festival when everyone has moved on or forgotten.
Guerra is the acclaimed Colombian filmmaker behind the Academy Award-nominated “Embrace of the Serpent” and “Birds Of Passage,”and “Waiting For The Barbarians” is his first English-language film. It’s also his first with Hollywood stars, giving it all the makings of the folly that occurs when international director makes this kind of leap and it doesn’t go well. Word from Venice is out—’Barbarians’ quietly premiered on Friday—and while the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently rotten and not great (granted, it’s like four reviews), the online/social reaction wasn’t bad (expect a positive...
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