Venice's International Critics’ Week: an observatory for a dynamic brand of cinema
by Camillo De Marco
- The 33rd SIC (29 August-8 September 2018) includes 7 feature debuts in competition and 2 special events unspooling as world premieres; the debut horror by Finland's Anna Eriksson is also taking part
General delegate Giona Nazzaro has unveiled the independent and parallel International Critics’ Week (SIC) section organised by the National Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI) as an integral part of the 75th Venice Film Festival (29 August-8 September 2018), defining it as an observatory "from which cinema looks like a breeding ground buzzing with activity". The 33rd edition of the SIC is made up of a selection of seven feature debuts in competition and two special events, all of which are set to be presented as world premieres. "Spurred on by the success of the previous edition, we’ve attempted to broaden the horizons of our possible gaze even further, trying to reach worlds and points of view that we hadn’t even scratched the surface of before," stresses Nazzaro.
Opening the gathering as a special event will be Tumbbad, an Indian fantasy film co-produced with Sweden, and directed by Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad. Bringing proceedings to a close will be Dachra, a Tunisian horror flick that deals with the clash between tradition and modernity. Sub-Saharan Africa has secured a place in the competition with The Roundup by Hajooj Kuka (a Sudanese-South African-Qatari-German production), a cheerful comedy ripped from the horrific entrails of the Civil War in Sudan. Italy is represented by a debut feature, We’ll Be Young and Beautiful by Letizia Lamartire, an auteur who rose to fame in the second edition of SIC@SIC with the short film Piccole italiane. French cinema will be competing with Blonde Animals, a surreal comedy helmed by Alexia Walther and Maxime Matray, while the ghosts of the reunification are still alive and kicking in German cinema, as demonstrated by Adam & Evelyn by Andreas Goldstein, a nostalgic coming-of-age story set in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
A documentary is also involved in this edition of the SIC, in the form of Still Recording by Saaed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub, which presents an innovative and never-before-seen glimpse inside the hell of the Syrian Civil War (a co-production between Syria, Lebanon, Qatar and France). Montenegro is taking part in the SIC for the first time with You Have the Night by Ivan Salatic, a painful poem about the disappearance of an entire world. And lastly, M, the directorial debut by Finnish pop star Anna Eriksson, is a mysterious experimental horror flick, and interestingly, the auteur herself took care of every single stage of the film’s creation, including the colour correction and the various mixing phases.
Finally, the third edition of SIC@SIC (Short Italian Cinema @ Settimana Internazionale della Critica) will offer a competitive selection of seven short films by Italian auteurs who have not yet made the leap to feature territory, plus three out-of-competition special events, all of which will be presented as world premieres. The programme was born of the synergy between the National Union of Italian Film Critics and Istituto Luce-Cinecittà, and is just one of the initiatives intended to support the development of new Italian film and to promote young auteurs.
Here is the complete line-up of the 32nd International Critics’ Week:
The Roundup - Hajooj Kuka (Sudan/South Africa/Qatar/Germany)
Adam & Evelyn - Andreas Goldstein (Germany)
Blonde Animals - Alexia Walther, Maxime Matray (France)
Still Recording - Saaed Al Batal, Ghiath Ayoub (Syria/Lebanon/Qatar/France)
M - Anna Eriksson (Finland)
We’ll Be Young and Beautiful - Letizia Lamartire (Italy)
You Have the Night - Ivan Salatic (Montenegro/Serbia)
Tumbbad - Rahi Anil Barve, Adesh Prasad (India/Sweden)
Dachra - Abdelhamid Bouchnak (Tunisia)
(Translated from Italian)
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