Screen profiles the 21 titles to be screened out of competition at the 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival (August 28 - September 7).
45 Seconds Of Laughter (US) dir. Tim Robbins
Oscar-winning actor Robbins directed three fiction features in the 1990s, showcasing Bob Roberts, Dead Man Walking and Cradle Will Rock respectively at Toronto, Berlin and Cannes. Following TV work including episodes of Treme and The Brink, he now presents his debut documentary feature, looking at a group of inmates from California’s Calipatria State Prison learning theatre exercises developed by Robbins’ theatre group The Actors’ Gang. Robbins produces with David Diliberto (a co-producer on fellow Out of Competition title Seberg) and Allison Hebble Starkovich.
Contact: Bart Walker, ICM
Adults In The Room (Fr-Greece) dir. Costa-Gavras
One of European cinema’s grand old men arrives in Venice with the first film he has shot in his homeland of Greece. Adults In The Room is based on the memoirs of former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, about the country’s economic crisis and negotiations with the European Union in 2015. The divisive project filmed this year, with Costa-Gavras rebutting claims the $700,000 (€630,000) that the project received through Greece’s cash rebate scheme could have been better used elsewhere in the cash-strapped country.
Contact: Elle Driver
Angela’s Diaries - Two Filmmakers. Part Two (It) dir. Yervant Gianikian
Partners in work and in life, Angela Ricci Lucchi and Gianikian were among the pioneers of moving image art in Italy, more at home at the Art Biennale than its cinema cousin. After Lucchi’s death in 2018, the Italo-Armenian Gianikian dipped into the personal diaries of his companion of more than 40 years and revisited their work together to create a video tribute. This is the second chapter; part one screened at last year’s festival. Both were produced by jewellery dynasty Beatrice Bulgari’s film/art crossover operation In Between Art Film.
Contact: In Between Art Film
The Burnt Orange Heresy (UK-It) dir. Giuseppe Capotondi
Ten years after his debut fiction feature The Double Hour premiered at Venice, winning three prizes including best actress for Kseniya Rappoport, Capotondi returns with an English-language thriller set in the world of art theft. The international cast includes Claes Bang, Mick Jagger, Donald Sutherland and Elizabeth Debicki. Scott B Smith (A Simple Plan) adapts from the 1971 noir novel by Charles Willeford. William Horberg (The Kite Runner), Rumble Films’ David Lancaster and MJZ’s David Zander produce.
US contacts: CAA; UTA
International contact: Hanway Films
Citizen K (UK-US) dir. Alex Gibney
The latest from prolific documentarian Gibney — a 2008 Oscar winner for Taxi To The Dark Side — concerns Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who was imprisoned in 2005 until a presidential pardon from Vladimir Putin in 2013, and who now lives in exile in Switzerland. Gibney produces with Passion Pictures’ John Battsek and George Chignell, alongside Erin Edeiken and Storyteller Productions’ PJ van Sandwijk.
Contact: Jonathan Ford, Kew Media
Citizen Rosi (It) dirs. Didi Gnocchi, Carolina Rosi
In a series of films that range from The Challenge (1958) to Lucky Luciano (1973) and beyond, director Francesco Rosi established himself as the political conscience of post-war Italian cinema. In this documentary produced by journalist Gnocchi’s 3D Produzioni and co-directed by her and Rosi’s daughter Carolina, the murky history of Italian public-sector corruption and Mafia collusion is illustrated via Rosi’s films and comments from those who knew or worked with him, including John Turturro.
Contact: Istituto Luce Cinecitta
Collective (Rom-Lux) dir. Alexander Nanau
Romanian documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Nanau’s previous film, Toto And His Sisters, won a host of festival plaudits including the France Culture Award at Cannes in 2016. His follow-up Collective (Colectiv) — on which he serves as director, editor, cinematographer, producer and writer — tells of the fire that raged through the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania, in October 2015, taking the lives of 64 people. It is produced by Alexander Nanau Productions, together with Samsa Film and HBO Europe. HBO will screen the film across Europe.
Irréversible - Inversion Intégrale (Fr) dir. Gaspar Noé
Noé’s violent reverse-chronology revenge drama Irréversible — starring Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassel — has been a magnet for controversy since its 2002 Cannes premiere. Now the Buenos Aires-born provocateur presents a new version, the most significant change being to rejig the scenes into chronological order.
The King (UK-Hun) dir. David Michôd
Michôd secures a first Venice launch on his fourth feature — his second for Netflix after 2017’s War Machine. The awards-courting historical drama is inspired by elements of Shakespeare plays Henry IV and Henry V with Ben Mendelsohn and Timothée Chalamet as the two kings. Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Thomasin McKenzie and Michôd’s co-writer and fellow producer Joel Edgerton also appear in a stellar cast. Plan B’s Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who struck awards gold with Moonlight in 2016, also produce; a Netflix release date — and strategy — is unannounced at time of writing.
The Kingmaker (US) dir. Lauren Greenfield
Greenfield has won acclaim for documentary films such as The Queen Of Versailles, Thin (a Primetime Emmy nominee in 2007) and Generation Wealth. Her latest subject is Imelda Marcos, wife of deposed Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos, famous shoe collector and Philippines congresswoman. Evergreen Pictures’ Frank Evers produces, continuing an ongoing professional association with Greenfield.
Contact: Frank Evers, Evergreen Pictures
Mosul (US) dir. Matthew Michael Carnahan
As a writer, Carnahan has penned screenplays for features including Lions For Lambs (2007), World War Z (2013) and Deepwater Horizon (2016). He makes his directorial debut with the Arabic-language Mosul, based on Luke Mogelson’s series of articles for The New Yorker, which focuses on a local police unit fighting to liberate the Iraqi city from Isis militants. It is produced by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo for AGBO, along with Jeremy Steckler of Conde Nast Entertainment.
Contact: Endeavor Content
The New Pope (It-Fr-Sp) dir. Paolo Sorrentino
Sorrentino clearly enjoys counter-casting. In his 10-part TV series The Young Pope, which marked Venice’s first foray into TV when two episodes screened at the festival in 2016, dishy devil Jude Law played an ultra-conservative pontiff. In nine-part sequel The New Pope, austere aesthete John Malkovich plays his liberal, compromise-seeking successor — though Law’s pope is still alive, if comatose, as this Sky Studios, HBO and Canal+ production begins. Episodes two and seven play in Venice as special screenings, though it is unclear whether these will include either of two high-profile guest appearances announced for the new series: Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson.
Contact: Fremantle Media
No One Left Behind (Mex) dir. Guillermo Arriaga
Oscar-nominated Mexican writer Arriaga can now boast a 100% track record of premiering on the Lido as a director. After his directorial debut The Burning Plain starring Charlize Theron launched at Venice 2008, he returns with his follow-up No One Left Behind, a crime drama starring Isabel Aerenlund and Danny Huston, which plays as a special screening. Arriaga’s screenplay credits include Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel and The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada. Mexico-Canadian firm Follow The Wolf are the producers.
Contact: Carlos Corral, Follow The Wolf
Il Pianeta In Mare (It) dir. Andrea Segre
Venice’s idyllic lagoon skyline is punctuated to the west by the chimney towers and refineries of Porto Marghera, an industrial complex first built in the 1920s that employed 35,000 people by 1970. Veneto native Segre’s feature-length documentary charts a world in steep decline, together with the dream of progress that fuelled it. Segre’s previous three fiction features all screened in Venice. The film is co-produced by the director’s own ZaLab and Rai Cinema with the backing of Istituto Luce Cinecitta.
Roger Waters: Us + Them (UK) dirs. Sean Evans, Roger Waters
Concert film Roger Waters: The Wall captured the Pink Floyd frontman performing the band’s 1979 album in its entirety — premiering at Toronto in 2014 and releasing into cinemas in 2015. Waters and Evans return with this feature celebrating the performer’s 2017-18 concert tour, filmed at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome. Waters produces with Clare Spencer, who likewise produced The Wall concert film with him. Event-cinema specialist Trafalgar Releasing distributes worldwide in October.
Contact: Trafalgar Releasing
Seberg (US) dir. Benedict Andrews
Theatre-turned-film director Andrews follows up his 2016 debut Una with this drama about an ambitious young FBI agent who is assigned to investigate iconic actress Jean Seberg’s involvement with the civil rights movement in 1960s America. The film, which stars Kristen Stewart as Seberg alongside Jack O’Connell and Anthony Mackie, is produced by US outfits Phreaker Films, Bradley Pilz Productions and Automatic for Amazon Studios.
Contact: Memento Films International
State Funeral (Neth-Lith) dir. Sergei Loznitsa
Ukrainian filmmaker Loznitsa premiered documentary The Trial (originally titled Process) out of competition at Venice last year. His latest — a documentary of found footage chronicling the four days leading up to the funeral of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in March 1953 — arrives in the same non-competitive slot. Loznitsa and Maria Choustova produce for their own Hague-based Atoms & Void outfit, in co-production with Lithuania’s Studio Uljana Kim and the support of US outfit Current Time TV.
Contact: Atoms & Void
Tutto il mio folle amore (It) dir. Gabriele Salvatores
Oscar-winning Italian director Salvatores is back on the Lido with his first adult dramatic feature in six years, after the diversion of 2014 teen-oriented fantasy The Invisible Boy and its 2018 sequel. Tutto Il Mio Folle Amore (aka Volare) sees a cheesy lounge crooner bond with his estranged autistic son; the film is loosely based on the Fulvio Ervas novel Don’t Be Afraid If I Hug You. Pitting A-list local talent Valeria Golino, Claudio Santamaria and Salvatores regular Diego Abatantuono against newcomer Giulio Pranno, Volare has been picked up by Impacto Cine for Latin America.
Contact: Cristina Cavaliere, Rai Com
Vivere (It) dir. Francesca Archibugi
More than 30 years since her 1988 debut Mignon Has Left, Roman director Archibugi continues to plough the furrow of Italian domestic drama with this story centring on an Irish au pair’s effect on the life of a suburban family mired in economic and emotional stagnation. Francesco Piccolo and Paolo Virzi co-script with the director, three years after Virzi’s collaboration with Archibugi on the screenplay of his widely sold drama Like Crazy. The au pair is played by Roisin O’Donovan, whose career was launched by Irish TV series Red Rock.
Contact: Micaela Fusco, Intramovies
Woman (Fr) dirs. Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Anastasia Mikova
Paris-born documentarian Arthus- Bertrand has made his name with broad-subject films, including 7 Billion Others, Home, Planet Ocean and Venice 2015 Out of Competition title Human. On Woman he teams with Ukrainian co-director Mikova, a first AD on Human, for an analysis of what it means to be a woman in contemporary society. Made by Arthus-Bertrand’s Hope Production, the filmmakers conducted 2,000 interviews with women from 50 countries.
Contact: Elle Driver
ZeroZeroZero (It) dir. Stefano Sollima
Italian investigative reporter Roberto Saviano’s blistering 2015 exposé of the global cocaine trade gets the TV drama treatment, following on from the success of the ongoing series drawn from Saviano’s 2006 book Gomorrah. The first two episodes of the eight-parter — filmed in six languages and produced by Cattleya and Bartlebyfilm for Sky, Canal+ and Amazon — play Venice as a special screening. Saviano’s journalistic enquiry has been adapted into a dramatic tale starring Andrea Riseborough, Gabriel Byrne and Dane DeHaan, with co-creator Sollima (Suburra, Sicario: Day Of The Soldado) alternating the director’s role with Pablo Trapero and Janus Metz.
Venice profiles by Nikki Baughan, Ben Dalton, Nancy Epton, Charles Gant, Lee Marshall, Orlando Parfitt, Silvia Wong