'Jackie' paints mystery of First Lady after assassination

Wed Sep 7, 2016 12:46pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

VENICE (Reuters) - Film director Pablo Larrain said his portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of her husband's assassination is not a biopic but rather a chance to look at an intriguing and painful story from the point of view of the former first lady.

Larrain was speaking at the Venice film festival where "Jackie", starring Natalie Portman, will premier later on Wednesday and is competing against 19 other movies for the coveted Golden Lion that will be awarded on Saturday.

"I believe that Jackie was someone incredibly mysterious, probably one of the most unknown from the known people," the Chilean director told a press conference.

The movie is Larrain's first English-language feature and also his first movie centered around a female character.

"I'm not American and not necessarily attached to their history ... but I felt this was a very beautiful and intriguing story," he said.

The movie shows Jackie in the first week after the assassination as she struggles to come to terms with the tragedy and her own grief. At the same time she seeks to comfort her two young children and prepare her husband's funeral in a way that will make his death meaningful but also allow her to be remembered as more than a fashion icon.

Portman, who won an Oscar for her role in ballet thriller "Black Swan", said portraying someone whose looks, speech and gestures were known to everyone made this the "most dangerous" role she had ever played.

The movie recreated parts of a White House tour the first lady gave after renovating the presidential residence, making it easy to draw comparisons between Portman and Kennedy.   Continued...

Director Pablo Larrain (L) poses with actress Natalie Portman as they attend the photocall for the movie "Jackie" at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy September 7, 2016.  REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi