Matt Smith as Charles Manson in the film.
VENICE: Charles Manson did not wield the knives in the 1969 murder spree that ended the Californian hippy dream, so what drove the people who did so on his orders? That is the question posed in Charlie Says, which premiered in Venice on Sunday.

Doctor Who star Matt Smith plays Manson, a wild-eyed petty criminal who sets up a hippy commune where his followers worship him like a messiah, clinging to every word of his incoherent prophecies of Armageddon.

Smith said: “There’s nothing new to find out (about him), but I like the idea that this was a film about what made these girls go to commit these crimes.”