Musical about L.A. dreamers opens 73rd Venice film festival

Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:22pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

VENICE (Reuters) - Damien Chazelle's "La La Land", a musical comedy-drama about the joys and pains of pursuing one's dreams, opened the Venice film festival on Wednesday, kicking off days of screenings, parties and red carpet glamour.

The movie, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, tells the story of a struggling jazz pianist, Sebastian, who falls in love with Mia, an aspiring actress in modern day Los Angeles. Sebastian is trying to get people, young and old, to care about traditional jazz, while Mia hopes one of her many auditions will finally land her an acting gig.

"Young people have fallen into a lot of cynicism, are making fun of things and pointing out the flaws in everything and this movie is anything but that," Stone told journalists at a news conference. She said the movie reminded her of her own "humiliating auditions" when she first arrived in Los Angeles.

"This is what I hope young people will do: work hard to achieve their dreams."

The musical is one of 20 U.S. and international vying for the Golden Lion that will be awarded on Sept 10.

British director Sam Mendes, known for James Bond movies "Skyfall" and "Spectre" and who heads this year's jury, said he is looked forward to seeing each movie with as little knowledge as possible, adding he had no criteria for what made one excellent.

"I will know it when I see it," he said.

"La La Land" opens with a chorus music scene set during a morning traffic jam on a Los Angeles motorway, where drivers jamming away to tunes in their empty cars suddenly jump out of their vehicles and dance on the roofs, all to the beats of a big band.   Continued...

Director Damien Chazelle (L) and actress Emma Stone (R) attend the photocall for the movie "La La Land"  at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi