The Venice International Film Critics’ Week presents its line-up
by Camillo De Marco
- The independent, parallel section of the Venice International Film Festival will include seven first works in competition and two special screenings, all of which will be world premieres
The selection of the 34th International Film Critics’ Week - the independent, parallel section organised by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Critics within the 76th Venice International Film Festival (28 August – 7 September) - is full of free-thinking works which are “able to question the current state of affairs”, the festival’s general delegate Giona A Nazzaro explained.
Featuring seven first works in competition and two special screenings, all of which will be presented as world premieres, this is a film selection which sits quite happily in the realm of the fantastical, melding thriller, fantasy and animation genres.
The opening film, in fact, is an Indian animation which pays tribute to the stars of Bollywood: Bombay Rose is a debut feature film (a UK-India- France co-production) made over the course of six years by Gitanjali Rao, who first revealed her directing talent at Cannes’ Critics’ Week with her animated short Printed Rainbow in 2006. The closing slot, meanwhile, will be entrusted to Sanctorum by Mexico’s Joshua Gil, the former collaborator of Carlos Reygadas, who will be presenting his second full-length film following his previous work La Maldad, which was selected for the 65th Berlin Film Festival. The film focuses on the inhabitants of a small, forgotten town ensconced in the mountains, whose day to day lives are turned upside down when they become caught in the crossfire of the war between the military and the local drugs cartels.
Mexico also forms the backdrop of the Italian film in competition, Tony Driver [+see also:
film profile], Ascanio Petrini’s first work on a taxi driver of Italian origin in Yuma who transports illegal immigrants across the border and into the US. The title is produced by Dugong Films - who also threw their weight behind Samouni Road [+see also:
interview: Stefano Savona
film profile] - alongside Mexican outfit Fulgura Frango and Rabid Film. Staying with the Americas, we find The Prince by Sebastian Muñoz, who worked as a set designer on some of the most important works of contemporary Chilean cinema. The Prince is a prison melodrama set in Chile during the rousing time of Salvador Allende’s speech and starring the ever-extraordinary Alfredo Castro.
All This Victory, on the other hand, is set in Lebanon in July 2006, as war rages between Hezbollah and Israel. Ahmad Ghossein is a multi-award-winning director and video artist and this, his first feature film, is a visionary political thriller co-produced by Lebanon, France and Qatar. Parthenon, meanwhile, is the first fiction feature film by Mantas Kvedaravičius, an associate professor who teaches Visual Cultures and Cinema at Vilnius University and who is the author of two documentaries. The film unfolds between Africa (the Sudan), Europe (Greece), Turkey and the Ukraine, where three separate destinies intertwine and overlap. Also set in Europe is Psychosia by Marie Grahtø, based on the director’s own medical experiences and starring Trine Dyrholm and Victoria Carmen Sonne: Viktoria is an unusual and highly disciplined researcher in the field of suicide, who is called to a psychiatric ward to treat Jenny, a patient with suicidal tendencies. English actress, dancer and singer Billie Piper, meanwhile, has directed her first feature film, Rare Beasts, in which she plays the lead character Mandy, a mother, screenwriter and nihilist at breaking point. The film also avails itself of the acting talent of David Thewlis (Harry Potter), Leo Bill (Peterloo [+see also:
interview: Mike Leigh
film profile]) and Lily James (Downton Abbey). Last but not least, Scales is a ferocious, enchanting fable directed by the incredibly young Saudi director Shahad Ameen, who studied film in London. Her first work centres around a headstrong 13-year-old girl who lives in a poor fishing village caught up in a sinister tradition whereby every family must sacrifice their "obsolete" daughters to the creatures inhabiting the sea.
The seven feature films in competition in the 34th International Film Critics’ Week will be competing for two main prizes: the Audience Award, made possible by the support of the Municipality of Taranto, and the International Film Critics’ Week Grand Prize, made possible by the support of SIAE – the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers and awarded to the best film in the competition as chosen by an international jury. The films selected for International Film Critics’ Week, along with all the other first feature films presented in the various competition sections of the Venice Film Festival (Official Selection and Independent and Parallel Sections), will also compete for the Lion of the Future – Venice’s “Luigi De Laurentiis” Award for a Debut Film.
The full line-up is as follows:
All This Victory - Ahmad Ghossein (Lebanon/France/Qatar)
Parthenon - Mantas Kvedaravičius (Lithuania/Ukraine/France)
The Prince - Sebastian Muñoz (Chile/Argentina/Belgium)
Psychosia - Marie Grahtø (Denmark/Finland)
Rare Beasts - Billie Piper (UK)
Scales - Shahad Ameen (United Arab Emirates/Iraq/Saudi Arabia)
Tony Driver [+see also:
film profile] - Ascanio Petrini (Italy/Mexico)
Bombay Rose - Gitanjali Rao (UK/India/France)
Sanctorum - Joshua Gil (Mexico/Qatar/Dominican Republic)
(Translated from Italian)
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