Nine world premieres selected for Critics Week.
Family drama, loss, grieving, environmental crisis, life in the countryside, crime sprees and the “nouveau pauvre” or the “new poor” class due to the global financial economic turndown are among the themes that run through the nine debut world premiere works - of which seven are in competition - in the 26th edition of the Critics’ Week held during the upcoming Venice Film Festival.
While not the most globally balanced edition in recent memory - the line up is limited to two regions: Latin and North America as well as Europe (spanning Central, Southern and Northern countries) - but the films attest to the vitality and importance of national funds for the development of new talent, organizers said.
The section opens with Stockholm East (Stockholm Östra) [pictured] out of competition, the debut film foray for TV director Simon Kaijser da Silva, whose film covers territory between loss and grief as lived by two families impacted by the same accident. Brought to the Lido by Trust Nordisk, the film stars Mikael Persbrandi and Iban Hjejle.
Closing this year’s selection is Italian satire Mission of Peace (Missione Di Pace) by Francesco Lagi, written by This Must Be The Place screenwriter Umberto Contarello. The Balkan set story unites two warring factions: a committed military man father and his die-hard pacifist son who confront their personal battles during a field mission. Mission stars Silvio Orlando, Alba Rohrwacher and Filippo Timi.
In competition, Latin American is represented by Mexico with Machete Language (El Lenguaje De Los Machetes), by Kyzza Terraza, long time production and screenwriting collaborator of Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, who executive produce the project about a diverse couple (she is a punk rock singer and he a bourgeois political activist with Zapatista tendencies) whose dreams to change society expose rifts between them.
From Argentina, In the Open (El Campo), directed by Hernán Belón is what organisers call a “refined” country set film that gives all the sense of being a thriller, but isn’t - the film was produced in part thanks a co production agreement with Italy’s Cinecitta Luce.
North American is represented by Canada’s rural set Wetlands (Marécages) by Guy Edoin, about a family that suffers economically as it also grieves the loss of a young child.
Totem - from Germany’s Jessica Krummacher, is a story the director took from real life about a suicide of a foreign girl working as a nanny in her home town, which organizers call, “an intense and cruel family drama.”
Down There (Là-Bas), Italy’s second entry in a strong year, is also inspired by a true life dramatic event, that of the 2008 shooting of several illegal African immigrants in a clothing factory in the Neapolitan Camorra territory of Castel Volturno. Writer/director Guido Lombardi used mostly non-professional African actors to tell the story of these six Camorra crime clan victims.
France is also strong with two titles. A Ukrainian-French-German-Polish co-production entitled Land Of Oblivion (La Terre Outragée) by Michael Boganim begins on the day of the Chernobyl disaster, April 25, 1986 and picks up ten years later. Critics Week organisers today described the film as a “mature” work that doesn’t have the markings of a debut.
The second Gallic offer is Louise Wimmer, from Cyril Mennegun, a film that charts the economic fall of a well-off woman who must resort to living in her car as she awaits public housing.
A final film, to be shared by Venice’s other independent section Venice Days will be out of competition.
The films are eligible for the Luigi De Laurentiis - Lion of the Future Prize that comes with $100,000 to be divided equally between director and producer as well as the regional audience Kino award worth $4,300 (€3,000).
Atlantide Entertainment - in conjunction with Critics’ Week, will announce the launch of indieframe.it - an online portal to stream independent pictures, during the festival.
In a separate announcement, the Biennale has announced the films featured in the Controcampo Italiano section. The section’s six competing features include Michele Rho’s buzzy Cavalli with an appearance by distributor and former actor Andrea Occhipinti and Asia Argento; Ricky Tognazzi’s Tutta Colpa Della Musica with Stefania Sandrelli and the director Tognazzi starring; Francesco Patierno’s Cose Dell’Altro Mondo with Diego Abatantuono; Saverio Di Biagio’s debut Qualche Nuvola and Fabrizio Cattani’s second film Maternity Blues with Andrea Osvart. As previously reported, Francesco Bruni’s debut Scialla! opens the section, which will present a total of 28 films across the categories of short, documentary and features.
The Venice Film Festival runs Aug 31 - Sept 10 and the full line up will be announced Thursday.