Selections include Amigorena’s Another Silence [pictured], Lioret’s All Our Desires, and Lou Ye’s Love And Bruises.
A number of French films and French co-productions have been selected for this year’s Venice Days, the independent sidebar held during the upcoming Venice Film Festival.
The 12-film line up includes three fully French productions and five co-productions amidst an overtly European line up — but thanks to the co productions, 11 territories are represented including far-flung locations such as Palestine and Brazil. The section also offers several female-oriented narratives or women-directed works as well as works of a political orientation that focus on Cuba and Israel.
Upping interest in the French offer is the fact that most of the country’s top sales agents including Celluloid Dreams, Wild Bunch, Le Pacte and Films Distribution are behind the films showcased this edition. Additionally, should all the protagonists appear – the selection promises a hearty dose of art-film star power including Canada’s Marie-Josée Croze, France’s Vanessa Paradis, Philippe Torreton and Tahar Rahim; Italy’s Stefano Accorsi, Filippo Timi Valeria Mastandrea and Valeria Solarino; China’s Zhao Tao and emerging French actor Vincent Rottiers — the latter made a strong impression on organisers.
French films include Santiago Amigorena’s Another Silence [pictured] from Celluloid Dreams – a revenge drama set in Canada which travels to Argentina and Bolivia; Guilty (Presume Coupable) about the French child sex abuse case known as the Outreau Trial (sold by Films Distribution); All Our Desires (Toutes Nos Envies) by Philippe Lioret repped by Other Angel Pictures; Love And Bruises by Lou Ye, from Wild Bunch, a painful love story described by organisers as “very hot” starring A Prophet’s Tahar Rahim.
Italy brings Rust (Ruggine) produced by Fandango directed by Daniele Gaglianone on his second appearance in Venice Days. The ‘difficult’ film confronts themes of pedophilia and remorse – with a hugely impressive local cast comprised of Filippo Timi, Stefano Accorsi, Valerio Mastandrea and Valeria Solarino. Italy, in co-production with France, also brings Andrea Segre’s awaited debut Io Sono Li (My Name Is Li), a film that was nurtured by Rome’s New Cinema Network and Cannes Atelier. Segre’s is a cross-cultural love story set in Venice with actress Zhao Tao.
From Poland, My Name Is Ki is a comic take on the typically serious subject of solitude focusing on a young woman raising her child alone - “a unique portrait of woman, almost an emblem of this edition,” Venice Days organisers said.
Russia’s Twilight Portrait (Portret V Sumerkakh) by Angelina Nikonova is a rape drama from a woman’s POV. US director John Shank brings cowboy-themed Last Winter (Hiver Dernier), which is a Belgium/France co production; Café De Flore with Vanessa Paradis and Kevin Parent is a Canada-French co production by C.R.A.Z.Y. director Jean-Marc Vallée confronts themes of accepting oneself and others; Brazil-France co-production Historias…Que So Existem Quando Lembradas is the debut of Julia Murat, daughter of influential Brazilian leftist director Lucia Murat, who was persecuted under the military dictatorship of Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s.
Finally Habibi, a film organisers termed “charming” comes from Palestine in co-production with UAE and the Netherlands by Palestinian/Holland dwelling director Susan Youssef. The Gaza set film was made entirely from donations and prize money is about two kids that seek freedom and love despite being walled up in Gaza and find the words of VII century poet Qays lend them a hand.
The section has various out of competition event films including Cuba In the Age of Obama by Gianni Mina that shows today’s Cuba as it waits for political change; Testimony by Shlomi Elkabetz, a mix between doc and fiction filmmaking that gives voice to Israeli and Palestinians; Beyond The Glass by Andrea Bari, the section’s opening short film, Voi Siete Qui in collaboration with Critics’ Week, and the restoration of 1936 German “cowboy” picture Der Kaiser Von Kalifornien. Finally, Crazy Horse from US documentary director Frederick Wiseman will also have its world premiere. Organisers expressed particular pride today in having Wiseman’s film in their section.
Venice Days is a non-competitive section, however, films are eligible for the Europa Cinemas Label which gives distribution support to a selected film while all first works (across all Venice sections) are eligible for the Luigi De Laurentiis’ Lion of the Future Award for first works, which offers $100,000 in prize money to be equally divided between the director and producer.
The Venice Film Festival runs Aug 31-Sept 10. The full line up will be announced Thursday.