'Rachel' players draw parallels to election

Jonathan Demme, Jenny Lumet say themes in politics fit

VENICE -- Jonathan Demme's family drama "Rachel Getting Married" might not seem like it has political overtones, but Demme and screenwriter Jenny Lumet see some ties to the U.S. presidential election.

The film, which premiered on the Lido on Wednesday, centers on Kym (Anne Hathaway), who returns from drug rehab to her troubled family as it prepares for the interracial marriage between Kym's sister Rachel (Rosemary DeWitt) and Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe).

One European journalist asked Demme -- who was in Venice last year with the Jimmy Carter documentary "Man From Plains" -- in the film's press conference whether such a multicultural portrayal of the U.S. was accurate, and Demme drew a parallel to the candidacy of Barack Obama.

"This is the aspect of U.S. culture I love," Demme said, to a smattering of applause. "And it does exist: Look at the Democratic convention last week, when Barack Obama was nominated for president."

Asked for her opinion about whether the struggles of the family in the film could be seen as a metaphor for something larger, Lumet said she agreed with that interpretation.

"This aspect didn't occur to me until just now, but, yes, I think it's a story about a family trying to pull itself together and heal," Lumet said. "I think that's what our country may be going through with this presidential election."

Hathaway -- who traveled to the Democratic National Convention last week with the Creative Coalition to discuss issues facing the party and the U.S. -- stayed away from politics Wednesday but called the role of Kym her most complex yet, adding that she would be open to more such roles.

"I really loved it," she said. "You may think actors are lying when they say something like that, and sometimes we are lying. But this time I'm telling the truth, I promise."
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