Venice International Film Festival director Alberto Barbara has presented the lineup for the seventy-fourth edition (August 30 through September 9) at a press conference in Rome. I’ve gathered notes and trailers.
Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow. From the Hollywood Reporter’s Tatiana Siegel: “Filmed in 23 countries over the course of more than a year, Human Flow chronicles the staggering breadth of the global refugee crisis. Weiwei captures the condition of today’s more than 65 million displaced individuals who fled their homes in search of new lives.”
Darren Aronofsky’s mother! From the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF): “Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer star in Darren Aronofsky's highly anticipated psychological thriller about a couple threatened by the arrival of univited guests to their tranquil home.”
George Clooney’s Suburbicon. TIFF: “Clooney teams with co-writers Joel and Ethan Coen and an all-star ensemble (Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac) for this complex tale of very flawed people making very bad choices in a seemingly idyllic 1950s community.”
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. TIFF: “At the height of the Cold War, circa 1962, two workers in a high-tech US government laboratory (Sally Hawkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer) discover a terrifying secret experiment, in this otherworldly fairytale from Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth).”
ZIad Doueiri’s L’insulte. From Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: “Written by the director together with Joëlle Touma, the story tackles the topics of justice, dignity and the need to make amends for the past, through a heated dispute between a Lebanese man and a Palestinian man, following a trifling incident. Toni, a Lebanese Christian, is watering the plants on his balcony. The water accidentally drips onto the head of Yasser, a Palestinian and foreman of the adjoining worksite. A heated dispute breaks out. Yasser, beside himself, hurls an insult at Toni. His dignity wounded, Toni decides to take Yasser to court. A long trial ensues, during which Lebanese Christians and Palestinians clash . . .”
Robert Guediguian’s La Villa. From mk2 Films: “By a little bay near Marseille lies a picturesque villa owned by an old man. His three children have gathered by his side for his last days: Angela, an actress living in Paris, Joseph, who has just fallen in love with a girl half his age and Armand, the only one who stayed behind in Marseille to run the family’s small restaurant. It’s time for them to weigh up what they have inherited of their father’s ideals and the community spirit he created in this magical place. The arrival, at a nearby cove, of a group of boat people will throw these moments of reflection into turmoil he created in this magical place. The arrival, at a nearby cove, of a group of boat people will throw these moments of reflection into turmoil.” With Ariane Ascaride, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Gérard Meylan, Anaïs Demoustier, and Robinson Stévenin.
Andrew Haigh’s Lean on Pete. From the British Council: “Charley Thompson is a fifteen-year-old who has no stability in his life. He wants a home, food on the table and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses finding some stability is hard. Hoping for a new start they move to Portland where Charley takes a summer job, and becomes best friends with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete. Adapted from Willy Vlautin’s acclaimed novel.” With Steve Buscemi, Charlie Plummer, Chloe Sevigney, Travis Fimmel, and Steve Zahn.
Abdellatif Kechiche’s Mektoub, My Love: Canto Uno. From Pathé International: “Amin, a young scriptwriter who has recently moved to Paris, heads down to his hometown on the Mediterranean for summer vacation. He spends his time at beaches and bars with childhood friends. One evening he meets Jasmine, whose singing he finds charming. With her, he wants to experience passion ‘like in the movies.’ One encounter leads to another . . . Through his best friend, Amin is introduced to a big producer summering in his villa. The producer offers to finance Amin’s first film. With his film project, Jasmine and the producer’s wife who is now hitting on him, Amin finds himself confronted with several choices.”
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder. From AsianWiki: “Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama) is an elite lawyer. He is compelled to defend Mikuma’s (Koji Yakusho) murder case. Mikuma has a criminal record from a murder that took place 30 years ago. Mikuma also confesses to the murder charge and he faces the death sentence, but Shigemori begins to have doubts about Mikuma's guilt.”
Xavier Legrand’s Jusqu'à la garde. From the Facebook page (more or less): As the Bessons divorce, Miriam applies for sole custody of their son, Julien, but the judge grants shared custody with what may be an abusive father.
Manetti Brothers’s Ammore e Malavita. From Film Italia: “A musical. A dramatic love story. Shoot outs, wild motorbike chases and speedboat escapes. Set in the beautiful Bay of Naples, the film is not only an action thriller but also a romantic comedy with music that ranges from Neapolitans songs to rap.”
Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot. From Letterboxd: “A personal movie inspired by Maoz’s experience as a soldier, through a tragic yet universal story of grief.”
Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. TIFF: “A frustrated and grieving mother (Frances McDormand) antagonizes her local police force (including Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell) to call attention to the lack of progress in the search for her daughter’s killer, in the latest from dark-humor master Martin McDonagh.”
Andrea Pallaoro’s Hannah. When it was called The Whale, Screen’s Melanie Goodfellow reported that it was “an intimate portrait of a woman’s progressive loss of identity as she struggles to come to terms with her past and her own sense of reality, exploring contemporary alienation and the human struggle to connect.” With Charlotte Rampling, André Wilms, and Jean-Michel Balthazar.
Alexander Payne’s Downsizing. Opening night film. From the festival: “Downsizing follows the adventures of Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), an everyman from Omaha who, along with his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig), dreams of a better life. As the world faces an overpopulation crisis, scientists develop a radical solution that can shrink humans to five inches tall. People soon discover how much further money goes in a smaller world, and with the promise of a lavish lifestyle beyond their wildest imaginations, Paul and Audrey decide to risk the controversial procedure and embark upon an adventure that will change their lives forever.”
Vivian Qu’s Angels Wear White. From Wild Bunch: “In a small seaside town, two schoolgirls are assaulted by a middle-aged man in a motel. Mia, a teenager who was working on reception that night, is the only witness. For fear of losing her job, she says nothing. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old Wen, one of the victims, finds that her troubles have only just begun. Trapped in a world that offers them no safety, Mia and Wen will have to find their own way out.” With Wen Qi, Zhou Meijun, Shi Ke, Geng Le, Liu Weiwei, Peng Jing, Wang Yuexin, and Li Mengnan.
Sebastiano Riso’s Una Famiglia. From Film Italia: “At first sight, Vincent and Maria may look like any other couple. He is protective, she is passionate. But who knows what happens behind closed doors? For years, Maria has been too vulnerable and in love to stand up to him, but when she realizes that she can no longer be Vincent’s accomplice, their secret life-project threatens to get out of control.”
Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. From Danielle Garcia in the Hollywood Reporter: “Ethan Hawke plays an ex-military chaplain who, after losing his son, befriends a woman (Amanda Seyfried) also suffering from the loss of her husband. . . . As the plot thickens, Hawke's character dives deeper into his church’s suspicious affairs, finding discovers hidden secrets of his church's complicity with unethical corporations.”
Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country. Nick Hose, reporting for ABC News, notes that it’s set in “the Northern Territory in the frontier era of the 1920s . . . Thornton says the film is about a turning point in Australian history, and tells the story of a young boy, Philomac (played by twins Tremayne and Trevon Doolan), who witnesses an Aboriginal stockman, Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris) kill a white station owner in self-defense.”
Paolo Virzi’s The Leisure Seeker. From Coming Soon: Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland “star as a runaway couple going on an unforgettable cross-country journey in their vintage camper. Ella and John are fleeing the suffocating care of their doctors and grown children. He is distracted but strong; she is frail but sharp. Their journey aboard the faithful old camper they call The Leisure Seeker takes them from Boston to Key West. Sharing moments of exhilaration and anguish, they recapture their passion for life and their love for one another on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end. The film is inspired by the novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian.”
Frederick Wiseman’s Ex Libris - The New York Public Library. From Zipporah Films: Wiseman “brings his incisive vision behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest institutions of learning, capturing the vast programmatic scope of NYC’s library system. The NYPL is blessed with uniformly passionate staff and deeply devoted, appreciative bibliophiles and beneficiaries across its ninety-two branches. The film reveals a venerable place of welcome, cultural exchange, and intellectual creativity.”
Out of Competition
Ritesh Batra’s Our Souls at Night. The world premiere will be the occasion for presenting Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement to Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. From the festival: “Based on the novel written by Kent Haruf and adapted for the screen by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (The Fault in Our Stars), the Netflix original film, Our Souls at Night is set in Colorado and begins when Addie Moore (Jane Fonda) pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters (Robert Redford). Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’d been neighbors for decades, but had little contact.”
Antonietta de Lillo’s Il Signor Rotpeter. Based on Kafka’s 1917 short story, “A Report to an Academy,” about an ape named Red Peter who reports to a scientific conference on his journey from the West African jungle to Europe. With Marina Confalone.
Stephen Frears’s Victoria and Abdul. TIFF: “Frears reunites with his Philomena star, Academy Award winner Judi Dench, in this charming dramedy chronicling the friendship between Queen Victoria and a decades-younger Indian clerk named Abdul Karim.”
Rachid Hami’s La Melodie. At Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier notes that “the screenplay follows Simon [Kad Merad], a distinguished, albeit disillusioned, violinist who begrudgingly finds himself teaching a Parisian orchestra class. His rigid style makes teaching music to the gentle-hearted Farid’s [Samir Guesmi] class of first-year secondary-school students an arduous and bumpy road. Arnold (Renély) is fascinated by the violin, its style and its sound—a revelation for this child who is almost sickeningly shy. Upon discovering Arnold’s raw talent and the joyful energy of the rest of Farid’s class, Simon starts to fall back in love with music and its joys. Will he be able to find the energy required to overcome the obstacles that get in the way of his promise to get these children into the Philharmonic one day?”
Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage Coda. From AsianWiki: “While Hanada (Pierre Taki) is in South Korea on a business trip, he kills CEO Jang’s subordinate. CEO Jang holds tremendous power in South Korea. A highly volatile situation between CEO Jang and Hanada's yakuza group Hanabishi kai. Meanwhile, internal conflict breaks out in Hanabishi kai. Otomo (Takeshi Kitano), as an employee of CEO Jang, travels back to Japan.” Coda, of course, follows Outrage (2910) and Outrage Beyond (2012).
Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s Loving Pablo. Variety’s Emilio Mayorga notes that the film “recreates drug lord Pablo Escobar’s story, paying especial emphasis on his love affair with glamorous Colombian TV host Virginia Vallejo.” With Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz, and Peter Sarsgaard.
Lucrecia Martel’s Zama. Image above. “Based on the 1956 novel by Antonio Di Benedetto, Zama is set in the seventeenth century, following a Spanish officer (played by Daniel Giménez Cacho) who awaits a transfer from Paraguay to Buenos Aires in Argentina,” writes Screen’s Tom Grater. Jordan Raup has a more detailed synopsis at the Film Stage. Manuel Kalmanovitz talks with Martel about the production for Terremoto.
Errol Morris’s Wormwood. A Netflix series. From the IMDb: “The town of Wormwood is a weird place according to Ned and Danni Bourke. The town's main economy comes from worm farming and selling 'worm poo' but things start to get really weird when the kids meet the Nose of Wormwood.”
Franceso Patierno’s Diva! From Film Italia: “Based on the autobiographical book by Valentina Cortese, Quanti sono i domani passati, Diva! tells the extraordinary life of an authentic diva, which has become a theatrical myth all over the world.”
Michael R. Roskam’s Le Fidele. From Cineuropa: “When Gino ‘Gigi’ meets Bénédicte ‘Bibi’ at the racetrack, it's love at first sight. But very soon fate pulls them apart. Fierce and loyal, Gigi and Bibi are forced to fight for their love against reason and their own weakness. But how far can endurance be stretched? How far can they go to try and save what may already be lost?”
Silvio Soldini’s Il colore nascosto delle cose. From Vittoria Scarpa at Cineuropa: “Teo [Adriano Giannini] is a creative artist for an advertising agency who runs away from everything: his past, his birth family, the beds of the women he spends the night with, and his responsibilities. Work is the only thing he truly loves, and his tablet and mobile phones keep him in constant, obsessive contact with the world. [Emma (Valeria Golino)], meanwhile, is an osteopath and roams the city with a white walking stick: she lost the power of sight at the age of sixteen, but has not let her life recede into the darkness; she has come to accept her disability, fully aware that every day is a battle. She separated from her husband not too long ago, and the brilliant and easygoing Teo seems just the right person with whom to indulge in a bit of fun. But for Teo, everything comes about through bets and gambling, and Emma is different from all of the other women he has met so far. A sudden wave of flippancy washes over them, taking them by surprise, but their days of carefree, happy bobbing along grind to a sudden halt. They each go back to their separate lives, but nothing will be like it was before.”
James Toback’s The Private Life of a Modern Woman. From Michael Mailer Films: “Set in the present day New York City, The Private Life of a Modern Woman focuses on Vera, considered the best actress in the world, and her struggle keeping up appearances and personal life responsibilities. She turns down a starring role in an upcoming project from the hottest new director in Hollywood because she does not think she could realistically kill someone on screen. Vera's coke-addled ex-boyfriend then comes over and Vera does that thing she said she couldn't do.”
S. Craig Zahler’s Brawl in Cell Block 99. Deadline’s Anita Busch notes that “the story follows Bradley, a former boxer who loses his job as an auto mechanic as his troubled marriage is about to end. Feeling that he has no better option than to work for an old buddy as a drug courier, he enters into that line of work. That improves his situation until he finds himself in a gunfight between a group of police officers and his own ruthless allies. Bradley is badly hurt and thrown in prison, where his enemies force him to commit acts of violence that turn the place into a savage battleground.” With Jennifer Carpenter and Vince Vaughn.
Out of Competition Documentaries
Jon Alpert’s Cuba and the Cameraman. It was evidently part of a program in March at the New School as Albert and Keiko Tsuno, co-founders, in 1972, of the Downtown Community TV Center, “the first community media arts non-profit organization in the country,” presented a program of their award-winning work.
David Batty’s My Generation. Producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly calls it “an immersive archive documentary drawing on Michael Caine’s personal reflections on the sixties, driven by the iconic music of the decade.”
Abel Ferrara’s Piazza Vittorio. A portrait of the Roman neighborhood, once home to the city’s wealthiest families, and now one of the most important multicultural focal points of the Italian capital. Thomas Cardinali talks with producer Emanuele Moretti for talky! media.
William Friedkin’s The Devil and Father Amorth. Friedkin observes “first-hand the work of the Vatican’s in-house exorcist,” as Deadline’s Anita Busch reports. “Friedkin, of course, directed the screen adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist in 1973 which had moviegoers lining up around the block to see it. The documentary looks at how the exorcism in the movie compares to a real exorcism. The film’s title comes from the filmmaker’s ability to attend Father Gabiele Amorth’s ninth exorcism . . . Known as the ‘Dean of exorcists,’ Father Amorth performed thousands of these rituals to rid evil from the human body.” Friedkin wrote about the experience for Vanity Fair last year.
Daniel McCabe’s This is Congo. From Cinereach: “Why is it that some countries seem to be continually mired in cyclical wars, political instability and economic crises? The Democratic Republic of the Congo is one such a place, a mineral-rich Central African country that, over the last two decades, has seen more than five million conflict-related deaths, multiple regime changes and the wholesale impoverishment of its people. Yet though this ongoing conflict is the world’s bloodiest since WWII, little is known in the West about the players or stakes involved. This is Congo provides an immersive and unfiltered look into Africa’s longest continuing conflict and those who are surviving within it.”
Stephen Nomura Schible’s Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda. From IDFA: “Intimate portrait interweaves reflections as Oscar-winner Sakamoto returns to music following cancer—from pop star symbolizing Japan’s technological aspirations, through haunting awareness of crises, to a resounding new masterpiece, post-Fukushima.”
Chris Smith’s Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond. The Story of Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman and Tony Clifton. This one’s pretty well summed up in the title. Carrey, of course, played Kaufman in Milos Forman’s Man on the Moon (1999).
Giovanni Totaro’s Happy Winter. From Film Italia: “Every summer on Palermo’s Mondello beach over one thousand cabins are built ready to host as many families who will spend the holidays there. . . . A family goes into debt so they can take their seaside holidays and appear wealthy . . . three women work on their suntans . . . a politician looks for electors among the huts. On the same beach, in the meantime, a barman thinks about nothing but making as much money as possible to get through the winter. All of them are looking forward to the ferragosto, the Italian public holiday of August 15 on occasion of the Assumption of Mary, to be at the center of the summer vanity fair and continue pretending the economic crisis doesn’t exist.”
Ali Asgari’s Disappearance. From the Doha Film Institute:From the Doha Film Institute: “On a cold winter’s night in Tehran, a couple of young lovers run into a serious problem, and they have just a few hours to come up with a solution. They go from hospital to hospital in search for help, but none of the hospital authorities will admit the young woman to provide her with the medical attention she desperately requires. While they try hard to find a way to stop the woman’s hemorrhage, they have to hide what is happening from their parents. Moreover, their relationship is facing a crisis.”
Gilles Bourdos’s Especes Menacees. At Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier tells us that it’s based on Richard Bausch’s collection of stories Rare and Endangered Species and “follows the fates of three families—fates that are as tragic as they are comical, revolving around the following anthropological question: should we intervene in the love lives of our children and our parents?” With Damien Chapelle, Agathe Dronne, Vincent Rottiers, and Suzanne Clément. Music by Alexandre Desplat. Shot by Mark Lee Ping Bing.
Nancy Buirski’s The Rape of Recy Taylor. Deadline’s Patrick Hipes tells us that this is “the true story of a 24-year-old wife and mother who was gang raped in Alabama by seven white men in 1944. . . . Taylor spoke up against her attackers, putting her life and that of her family’s in danger. Her plight attracted the attention of the NAACP and its chief investigator, Rosa Parks.”
Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s Caniba. From the LEF Foundation: “A film that reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human history and culture through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his unsettling relationship with his brother.”
Sofia Djama’s Les Bienheureux. From MYmovies.it: Algiers, a few years after the Civil War. Amal and Samir have decided to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary at the restaurant. On the way, they both look back on Algeria, each in his or her own way. Meanwhile, Fahim, their son, feels Algiers closing in on itself.
Anne Fontaine’s Marvin. At Cineuropa, Fabien Lemercier notes that “the story revolves around Martin Clément, born Marvin Bijou, who ran away from his hometown and his family. He retells his story through a stage play that proves to be a smash hit. But at what price?”
Pablo Giorgelli’s Invisible. From augenschein Filmproduktion: “Ely is seventeen years old. She lives with her mother, Susana, in a small apartment in a high-rise housing complex. . . . Mother and daughter have little contact beyond the few words they exchange at night when Ely gets home from work. . . . When Ely learns that she is pregnant, her inner world explodes, even though she is careful to go about her daily routine as if nothing were different. Though apparently Ely has made up her mind not to have the baby, inside she is not so sure. She is afraid and upset, and she knows that whatever she decides to do there is no turning back.”
Cosimo Gomez’s Brutti e Cattivi (Ugly Nasty People). From Film Italia: “Anna and Claudio are pushing back the decision to have a baby until the time they will be better off. He launches a crowdfunding to develop a website to evaluate freelance professionals, but nobody seems to care. One night, drunk, they post a video on their crowdfunding page challenging the ‘people of the Net’ to offer a donation in exchange for a video clip of them having sex . . .”
Tzahi Grad’s The Cousin. From Variety’s Alissa Simon: A “Palestinian man hired to help renovate the home of an Israeli winds up as a suspect in a crime.” More from the Israeli Film Fund.Israeli Film Fund.Israeli Film Fund.
Amichai Greenberg’s The Testament. From Gun Films: “Yoel, a meticulous historian leading a significant debate against holocaust deniers, discovers that his mother carries a false identity. A mystery about a man who is willing to risk everything to discover the truth.”
Vahid Jalilvand’s No Date, No Signature. From Noori Pictures: “The forensic pathologist Dr. Nariman has a car accident with a motorcyclist and injures his eight-year-old son. He offers to take the child to a clinic nearby, but the father refuses his help and money. The next morning, in the hospital where he works, Dr. Nariman finds out that the little boy has been brought for an autopsy after a suspicious death. Dr. Nariman is facing a dilemma: is he responsible for the child’s death due to the car accident or the child died of food poisoning according to other doctors’ diagnosis?”
Alireza Khatami’s Los Versos del Olvido. The Iranian director shot the film in Chile, telling Rodrigo González M. in La Tercera, “I also believe that the resistance movements of the Chilean people inspired many left-wing Iranians who fought against tyranny, before and after the Revolution.” This is the story of an elderly worker at a cemetery who helps a woman find the remains of her missing husband.
Damien Manivel and Igarashi Kohei’s The Night I Swam. From Shellac: “Snow-covered mountains in Japan. Every night, a fisherman makes his way to the market in town. His six-year-old son is awoken by his departure and finds it impossible to fall back to sleep. In the sleeping household, the young boy draws a picture he then slips into his satchel. On his way to school, still drowsy, he strays off the path and wanders into the snow . . .”
Susanna Nicchiarelli’s Nico, 1988. Opening night film. Trine Dyrholm plays Christa Päffgen (Nico). Nicchiarelli, as quoted by the festival: "This is the story of Nico after Nico. People usually talk about her only in relation to the men she was with when she was young: Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Alain Delon, Iggy Pop. I once read in an interview that ‘at age 34 Nico was finished.’ That's not true. After her experience with the Velvet Underground, Nico became a great musician. I wanted to tell the story of her journey from a different point of view and focusing on the loss of consensus and the change in her image that both gave her back her freedom.”
Rick Ostermann’s Krieg. From ARD: Arnold (Ulrich Matthes) and his wife Karen (Barbara Auer) are shocked when their son Chris tells them that he’s signed up for the army and is about to be deployed overseas. Then comes the news that he’s been killed. Karen falls apart; Arnold heads to the mountains with his dog. There, he becomes embroiled in a conflict with a faceless stranger.
Jason Raftopoulos’s West of Sunshine. From the IMDb: “A father has less than a day to pay back a debt to a violent loan shark, while looking after his young son.”
Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, and Dario Sansone’s Gatta Cenerentola (Cinderella the Cat). From Film Italia: “Naples in a near future. A mysterious teenager seduced by a Mafia boss and persecuted by a vicious stepmother. Gomorrah meets Cinderella.”
Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s Under the Tree. From One Two Films: “Agnes throws Atli out and does not want him to see their daughter Ása anymore. He moves in with his parents, who are involved in a bitter dispute over their big and beautiful tree that casts a shadow on the neighbors’ deck. As Atli fights for the right to see his daughter, the dispute with the neighbors intensifies—property is damaged, pets mysteriously go missing, security cameras are being installed and there is a rumor that the neighbor was seen with a chainsaw.”
Gianni Amelio’s Casa d’Altri. The Hollywood Reporter’s Ariston Anderson notes that the documentary is “about the earthquake that devastated Central Italy one year ago” which “resulted in nearly 300 deaths and destroyed much of the cultural towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.”
John Landis’s Michael Jackson’s Thriller 3D and Jerry Kramer’s Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983).
The full lineup of restorations is here. These are the newly announced documentaries about cinema:
Manuel Abramovich’s Light Years.
Stefano Consiglio’s Evviva Giuseppe. A portrait of Bernardo Bertolucci’s younger brother, Giuseppe, a director of twenty-six films who passed away in 2012.
Selma Jean Dell’Olio’s La Lucida Follia di Marco Ferreri (Dangerous But Necessary). Features Isabelle Huppert, Roberto Benigni, Hanna Schygulla, Ornella Muti, Sergio Castellitto, Andréa Ferréol, and Dante Ferretti talking about their work with Marco Ferreri.
Emmanuel Hamon’s L’Utopie des Images de la Revolution Russe.
Elwira Niewiera’s The Prince and the Dybbuk. From IDFA: “A cinematic journey on the trail of filmmaker and ‘human chameleon’ Michal Waszynski who, in flight from the spirit of intolerance, continually changed his identity, rejecting his Jewish origins and hiding homosexuality.”
Mario Sesti’s La Voce di Fantozzi. A portrait of Ugo Fantozzi, a fictional character created by Paolo Villaggio who appears in Italian literature and cinema.
Boris Hars-Tschachotin’s This is the War Room! On Ken Adams’s iconic set for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove (1964).
Special Documentary Screenings
Alessandro Blasetti’s La lunga strada del ritorno (1962). A diary-like film on the return of soldiers from World War II.
Alessandro G. A. D’Alessandro’s Barbiana ’65 La Lezione di Don Milani. Restoration of footage of Lorenzo Milani, priest, teacher, and conscientious objector.
Concita de Gregorio and Esmeralda Calabria’s Lievito Madre, Le Ragazze del Secolo Scorso. A collection of interviews with Italian women of all ages and backgrounds.
Cinema Nel Giardino
Dario Albertini’s Manuel. From Film Italia: “The stories of a 18-year-old boy leaving a juvenile detention center and of a mother staying in prison and dreaming for freedom.”
Ra Di Martino’s Controfigura. Again, Film Italia: “A small crew is going around Marrakech and its surroundings looking for swimming pools as locations for the remake of an American movie in which a man crosses a county, pool by pool, to reach his home. Corrado, a ‘stand-in,’ tries the shots to find the path through the city and the pools that the main character will run and swim through. While we observe his struggles, we start seeing the real actors and crew working on set between doubts and shouts. A film in an identity crisis looking for itself.”
Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s Woodshock. The Hollywood Reporter’s Booth Moore notes that Mulleavy sisters, fashion designers for Rodarte, “have dressed everyone from their film's star, Kirsten Dunst, to Elle Fanning, Brie Larson, Sarah Paulson, Katy Perry and Michelle Obama in their darkly romantic looks. Woodshock, described in press materials as ‘a hypnotic exploration of isolation, paranoia and grift that exists in a dream-world all its own,’ stars Dunst as Theresa, ‘a haunted young woman spiraling in the wake of profound loss, torn between her fractured emotional state and the reality-altering effects of a potent cannabinoid drug.’ Dunst stars alongside Pilou Asbaek, Joe Cole, Lorelei Linklater and Steph DuVall.”
Bruno Oliviero’s Nato a Casal di Principe. From Film Italia: “The story of the mysterious kidnapping of a young boy in the land of Camorra, in the 1980s.”
Michele Placido, Andrea Molaioli, and Guiseppe Capotondi’s Suburra – The Series. Netflix’s first Italian original is a crime thriller.
Francois Troukens and Jean-Francois Hensgens’s Tueurs. From Versus Production: “While Frank Valken is carrying out a daring but non-violent hold-up, a commando force steps in and kills an examining magistrate investigating a political case. Charged thanks to rigged evidence, Frank is arrested. In the face of the media pressure, the gangster has no other choice but to escape and attempt to prove his innocence.”
Georgio Ferrero’s Beautiful Things.
Mazen Khaled’s Shadeed Martyr.
Alena Lodkina’s Strange Colours.
Update, 7/29: We need to catch up with the lineup for the inaugural Venice Virtual Reality competition. As Vassilis Economou notes at Cineuropa, the selection of twenty-two projects “will have either their world or their international premiere, and will compete for three awards: Best VR Film, the Grand VR Jury Prize, and the Best VR Creativity Award.”
Venice Virtual Reality
Nicolás Alcalá’s Melita.
Laurie Anderson and Huang Hsin-Chien’s La Camera Insabbiata.
Gabo Arora’s The Last Goodbye.
Lysander Ashton and Leo Warner’s My Name Is Peter Stillman.
Mathias Chelebourg’s Alice, the Virtual Reality Play.
Eugene YK Chung’s Arden’s Wake (Expanded).
Nonny de la Peña’s Greenland Melting.
Gina Kim’s Bloodless.
Un Kranot and Michelle Kranot’s Nothing Happens.
Mi Li’s The Dream Collector.
Richard Mills and Kim-Leigh Pontin’s Nefertiti.
Rafael Pavón and Nicolás Alcalá’s Snatch VR Heist Experience.
Mathieu Pradat’s Proxima.
Qing Shao’s In the Pictures.
Edward Robles’s Dispatch.
Josema Roig’s The Argos File.
Enrico Rosati’s Gomorrah VR – We Own the Streets.
Jordan Tannahill’s Draw Me Close, Chapters 1 and 2.
Tsai Ming-liang’s The Deserted.
Francois Vautier’s I Saw the Future.
David Wedel’s Separate Silences.
Zhang Peibin’s Free Whale.
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