- Title: Clooney gets political in Venice while presenting 'Suburbicon'
- Date: 2nd September 2017
- Summary: VENICE, ITALY (SEPTEMBER 2, 2017) (REUTERS) MATT DAMON AT NEWS CONFERENCE TEAM FROM 'SUBURBICON' AT NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, MATT DAMON, SAYING: ''It's kind of the definition of white privilege when you're riding around your neighborhood on a bicycle covered in blood murdering people and the African American family is getting blamed for it, but look - we, we couldn't have predicted obviously you know when we were filming these race riots that we would have something like Charlottesville where we weren't literally thinking that you know race riots would erupt in America right before this came out but it does speak to the fact that these issues have not and are not going away until there is an honest reckoning in our country.''
- Embargoed: 16th September 2017 17:58
- Keywords: George Clooney Venice press conference Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in Venice Suburbicon world premiere Coen brothers
- Location: VENICE, ITALY AND VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- City: VENICE, ITALY AND VARIOUS FILM LOCATIONS
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Film
- Reuters ID: LVA0046WWJR5Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Under the brittle veneer of the picture-perfect suburbs of 1950s America, George Clooney's new satire tackles racial prejudice which the actor and director said on Saturday (September 2) continues to erupt in today's very angry society.
"Suburbicon", starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, takes the audience to a town of that same name. The town is rudely awoken from the American dream by a series of surreal crimes and residents' angry reaction to a black family moving into the neighbourhood.
"This is a movie about our coming to terms with the idea that we have never addressed our issues with race fully," Clooney told a news conference after the premiere at the 74th annual Venice film festival.
"We've still got a lot of work to do, from our original sin of slavery and racism."
Damon said last month's race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia showed that the issues addressed "have not and will not go away until there is an honest reckoning in our country".
Damon plays Gardner, a family man whose home life darkens just as tensions rise in the community outside, while Moore changes hair colour to play both his wife and sister-in-law.
Based on a script written by Joel and Ethan Cohen in the 1980s, the film opens with a cheery prologue promoting the charms of Suburbicon, which include a church and a mall.
But the promise that it is a "melting pot of diversity" is quickly and categorically disproved, and a burgeoning friendship between a white boy and his black neighbour sparks violence.
Clooney, a festival stalwart who got married in a star-studded party in Venice, and has since made Italy his second home, said the film reflected deep anger in his home country.
"People are angry, a lot of us our angry, angry at ourselves, angry at the way that the country is going, angry at the way the world is going," he said, although he declared, "this isn't a movie about Donald Trump".
Asked whether he would like to be the next U.S. President, Clooney joked, "That sounds like fun!" and Damon cut in: "Can I just say I would like anybody to be the next President of the United States?"
"Suburbicon" is Clooney's latest turn behind the camera since 2014's "Monuments Men", but he is perhaps best known for his decades-long acting career.
He reminisced on Saturday about participating in Civil War re-enactments in his home state of Kentucky when he was growing up, when the meaning of the roles assigned had eluded him.
"You got to pick if you wanted to be a union or a rebel soldier and I was like give me the rebel, I want to be the rebel. You didn't really understand the history of the confederate flag ... a flag that was designed to carry into battle ... in favour of slavery."
Speaking of the confederate flag, Clooney said:
''Now if you want to wear it on your tee-shirt, or you want to hang it off of your front lawn - have at it - good luck with your neighbours, but to hang it on a public building, where partially African American tax payers are paying for it when it was a symbol of hate that cannot stand and we have to come to terms with those things.''
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