Oscar-winner’s true gift close to home

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iol pic sep 3 frances mcdormand AFP/GABRIEL BOUYS US actress Frances McDormand accepts the 'Personal Tribute to Visionary Talent' award at the 71st Venice Film Festival on September 1, 2014 at Venice Lido.

Oscar-winner Frances McDormand said on Monday that she may be known as a great actress and producer, but her true gifts are as an excellent housekeeper and loving wife.

A regular star of Coen brothers’ films, and married to Joel Coen, McDormand showed up at the Venice Film Festival to pick up a so-called Visionary Talent Award.

She also presented Olive Ketteridge, a TV mini-series screened out of competition in which she has a main role and on which she she is an executive producer.

The 57-year-old, who won her Oscar for playing a police woman in Fargo, said she is happy to finally have a leading role after “an entire career of supporting male protagonists in film – a very good career, I must say.”

Olive Ketteridge is a four-part adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Elizabeth Strout, set in a small town in Maine. Richard Jenkins, another Coen brothers’ regular who features in the TV hit Six Feet Under, co-stars.

“We are both character actors, we are not movie stars,” McDormand said of Jenkins and herself. She suggested they had good on-screen chemistry because they are both involved in “long and successful marriages.”

McDormand described her husband of 20 years as “one gorgeous, talented man,” but ruled out following him into filmmaking.

“One director in the family is enough,” she said, adding that domestic duties were keeping her more than busy.

“I have relocated my family around the world, I found schools for my son, I am a social secretary for both my husband and my son, I have given dinner parties, redecorated houses, chosen door knobs, I’m really good at ironing,” she quipped.

The TV series is the latest high-level project backed by the HBO channel. It is directed by Lisa Cholodenko and its star-studded cast includes Bill Murray.

Many critics have spoken of a “golden age of television,” arguing that sophisticated US series in the mould of The Wire, House of Cards and Breaking Bad have become as good as Hollywood productions.

Cholodenko said moving from film to television was no step down, and argued that cable TV was “a kind of Wild West” where “you can be as adventurous, out of the box and subversive as you want to be”.

Also making its debut on Monday was Near Death Experience, a French movie showed in the experimental Orizzonti section.

It starred cult French author Michel Houellebecq as a burn-out man who escapes to the mountains with suicidal intentions.

Houellebecq, who himself vanished for a few days three years ago, causing a media storm, said it was “easy” to immerse himself into the role. Directors Benoit Delepine and Gustave Kervern hailed his performance as “extraordinary.”

Other offerings included premieres of the uncut version of Nymphomaniac Volume II, a sex epic by Danish director Lars von Trier, and Tsili, a Holocaust survival drama by Israel’s Amos Gitai.

So far, Birdman, a black comedy starring Michael Keaton as washed-up Hollywood actor, and The Look of Silence, a documentary on anti-Communist purges in Indonesia,seem to be the strongest top prize contenders. – Sapa-dpa


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