The 24th edition of the Critics’ Week has unveiled a line up of ten world premiere first features to be presented at the 66th edition of the Venice Film Festival (Sept 2-12).
Sweden, with three films, and Iran, with two, dominate in this year’s Eurocentric selection.
From Sweden-based, Italian-born director Erik Gandini comes the hotly awaited Berlusconi themed title Videocracy prior to its play in Toronto’s Reel-to-Reel section. The film will be presented as an out-of-competition special event in partnership with Venice Days (that line up will be announced July 28).
Videocracy takes a close look at the thirty-year phenomenon that is Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, vis-à-vis his TV empire as a reflection of the nation’s degrading moral compass. Fandango will distribute in Italy.
Opening Critics’ Week out of competition is the animation Metropia by Swedish graphic artist and director Tarik Saleh. Co-written by Stig Larsson, the film has a futuristic energy-crisis theme set in a Stockholm call center.
Lucky Red brings the in-competition Swedish title A Rational Solution (Det Enda Rationella) by Jorgen Bergmark. When a married man falls for his friend’s wife - the two couples move in together as they seek a “rational solution.”
France brings Domaine, directed by Patric Chiha starring Beatrice Dalle - expected to attend - as a woman struggling with alcohol dependency.
Italy brings the immigration-themed Good Morning Aman - to be distributed by Cinecitta Luce - by up and coming director Claudio Noce whose short Aria took the David of Donatello award in the category in 2005. Aman tracks the relationship between a Somali immigrant and an ex-boxer (played by Valerio Mastandrea).
From Russia, Like Scampi (Kakraki) by Ilya Demichev, is a comedy that shifts to the dramatic vein and is loosely themed around the literary figure of Gogol.
The Czech Republic in co-production with Ireland brings Mira Fornay’s Wolves (Listicky) - about two Slovak sisters who immigrate to Dublin.
Café Noir is the sole Asian title from Korea - directed by film critic Jung Sung-il, the picture clocks in at over three hours. The story begins with a man left by his girlfriend on Christmas Eve and unfolds across the city of Seoul starting in color and shifting to black and white.
And finally, the Critics’ Week line-up includes two pictures from the hot button nation of Iran.
Tehroun - an Iran-France co production directed by French-born Nader T Homayoun - gets its title from Tehran’s inner city slang pronunciation of the city. Shot on the streets of Tehran under restricted conditions the picture doesn’t replicate “media images” but rather offers a neo realistic look at the underbelly of Tehran, including drug dealers, corruption and crime.
Out of competition - the section will close with Iran’s The Hole (Chaleh), directed by Ali Karim about a man who makes his living pulling cars out of a hole in the road that he himself dug.
The seven competing titles are eligible to compete for Venice’s Luigi De Laurentiis “Lion of the Future” award for first works that comes with $100,000 in prize money and a new audience prize sponsored by the Veneto region that carries a Euros 5,000 prize.
Venice Critics Week 2009, in competition:
A Rational Solution (Det Enda Rationella) by Jorgen Bergmark, Sweden
Café Noir by Jung-Sung-il, Korea
Domanie by Patric Chiha, France
Good Morning Aman by Claudio Noce, Italy
Like Scampi (Kakraki) by Ilya Demichev, Russia
Foxes (Listicky) by Mira Fornay, Czech Republic-Ireland
Tehroun by Nader T Homayoun, Iran-France
Out of competition:
Metropia by Tarik Saleh, Sweden (opening film)
The Hole (Chaleh), by Ali Karim, Iran (closing film)
Videocracy, by Erik Gandini, Sweden (special event)