Belfast Telegraph

Affleck doc screened at Venice

Casey Affleck is still being coy about whether his directorial debut I'm Still Here is a no-holds barred documentary or just a set up.

The movie about brother-in-law Joaquin Phoenix's seemingly downward spiral from actor to hip-hop musician was screened out of competition at the Venice Film Festival.

And Casey said he would let the audience make up their own minds about the film.

"Elliptically, I would say ... I sincerely don't want to influence people's interpretation," he told reporters. "I can tell you there is no hoax. It makes me think of Candid Camera or something."

The film is full of dark, sometimes graphic scenes about the Academy Award-nominated Joaquin, whose decision to go for a music career and concurrent decline was fodder for late-night comics.

In one scene, Phoenix banters about the irony of his life being depicted in film, when he is trying to get away from the industry. The film follows the star to his last acting and press events, where he grumbles that he "hates" acting.

"I think everyone at some point in their life hates their jobs and the people they are around," he says in opening scenes to explain why he wants to change his life despite his talent and enormous success, which includes an Oscar nomination for playing Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.

What follows are scenes depicting his negative downturn. There's drug use, graphic language, the search for online sex, a meeting with a prostitute and other hard core scenes, such as of Joaquin attacking a spectator at his own concert.

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