Like the Venice Film Festival and the Critics’ Week, Venice Days will run from September 2 through 12, and today, the independent program has announced its lineup: “20 films, 15 countries, 8 first films, 18 world premieres, 8 women filmmakers; a world-class director such as Carlos Saura; the Nobel-Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk and the founder of the Odin Teatret, Eugenio Barba, both of whom will take the stage for two of our special events. Then there’s the Palme d’or winner Laurent Cantet, chairing the jury; the muse of the French New Wave, Agnès Varda, central to the Women’s Tales series produced by Miu Miu; along with film stars Luis Tosar, Miranda Otto, Sam Neill, Paul Ducet, Suzanne Clément, Riccardo Scamarcio, Alba Rohrwacher, Celia Rowlson Hall.”
Update, 8/3: Julie Delpy‘s Lolo has been added to the Competition lineup. From Venice Days: “On holiday in the south of France, chic Parisian sophisticate Violette meets life-loving IT geek Jean-René. Against all odds, there’s a real chemistry between them and at the end of the summer, Jean René wastes no time in joining his beloved in Paris. But there’s trouble in paradise, and a third party swiftly appears to shatter the couple’s idyll—Lolo, Violette’s ultra-possessive 19-year-old son, who is determined to get rid of his mother’s lover, whatever it takes.” Lolo will also screen in Toronto.
From Variety‘s Nick Vivarelli: “This year’s rich section will open with first-time Spanish director Dani de la Torre’s car-chase thriller Retribution, in competition, and close with Geoffrey Rush-starrer The Daughter, the feature film debut of noted Australia stage director Simon Stone, based on his adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, out-of-competition.”
With synopses from Venice Days…
Matias Bize’s The Memory of Water. A tragic accident forces the young couple Javier and Amanda to question their lives and their relationship. When a second chance for both of them arises, they realize that the past they share should not be forgotten.
Leyla Bouzid’s As I Open My Eyes. Tunis, Summer 2010, a few months before the Revolution. As Ben Ali’s government nears the end, Farah, an eighteen-years-old girl, joins “Joujma”, a political rock band. In a night-time Tunis, she sings, drinks, discovers love and protest, all against the will of Hayet, her mother, who knows Tunisia and its taboos. But in her love life as on the scene, Farah goes further and further, without suspecting the danger of a regime that watches and infiltrates her privacy. Hayet will do anything to protect her, even revive the wounds of her own youth.
Ascanio Celestini’s Long Live the Bride. Nicola spends his time drinking, pretending he is trying to quit. This is his story and of many others he encounters by fate or by chance like in a road movie… This is also Sabatino’s story, who cons insurance companies by staging fake automobile accidents but one day he is drunk and the accident proves deadly.
Piotr Chrzan’s Klezner. Summer, 1943, in the countryside of Poland under German occupation. A group of young Poles find a wounded Jew in the forest and have to decide how to behave in this situation. They take the wounded Jew on a wooden cart and head towards the village. In time, more characters join the group and conflict breaks out giving rise to dramatic end.
Dani de la Torre’s Retribution. Carlos, a bank executive, begins his morning routine by taking his kids to school. As he starts the car he receives an anonymous phone call informing him that there’s a bomb under his seat. A stranger’s voice tells him that he only has a few hours to gather together a large amount of cash: if he doesn’t, his car will blow up.
Carlo Lavagna’s Arianna. Arianna is nineteen and has never had her period. The high doses of hormones her doctor has prescribed don’t seem to have any affect on her body development. In the early summer she returns for a holiday to the childhood home where she lived with her parents until the age of three—a beautiful villa on the shores of the Bolsena lake. During her visit, ancient memories gradually resurface and come back to haunt her, making her decide to stay at the house even after her parents return to the city.
Vincenzo Marra’s First Light. Marco, a young cynical and ambitious lawyer, lives in Bari with his companion Martina and their 8 years old son, Mateo. Martina is from South America and moved to Italy after meeting Marco. Our story begins when their relationship is almost over. Martina yearns for going back to her country with Mateo but Marco disagrees with her choice as he is not willing to lose the deep bond with his son. After several tearing moments, Martina decides to run away with Mateo and they will vanish without trace.
Ruchika Oberoi’s Island City. The film traces three connected stories set in these times of unease and transition within Mumbai, the Island City.
Michael Rowe’s Early Winter. David, a man in his forties, lives a predictable life with his wife Maya and their two children. To please his wife with latest gadgets, he works solitary shift work, days and nights, as janitor in a retirement home, keeping control of his life by taking painkillers. But when he begins to suspect that Maya is having an affair, he starts to lose ground, his past threatening to smash everything in his path.
Song Peng Fei’s Underground Fragrance. Yong Le, a southern migrant… sells second hand furniture for a living. Bound by circumstance, he has picked up shrewd business skills and has learned to make a profit out of the changing population, forced to migrate and leave behind their possessions to make way for massive construction projects in modern Beijing. He spends his days watching the construction workers dismantle the village like an army of ants eating out a carcass.
Simon Stone’s The Daughter. A man returns to his hometown and unearths a long-buried family secret. As he tries to right the wrongs of the past, his actions threaten to shatter the lives of those he left behind years before.
Carlotta Cerquetti’s Harry’s Bar. Ever since it opened for business [in 1931], Harry’s Bar has seen it all, from being forced to close under the Fascist regime, to being proclaimed a national treasure in 2001. Eighty years of Venetian history, and a parade of writers, painters, directors, film stars, kings, queens and epicures through its premises, as Harry’s Bar turned into a legend.
Elio, Roberto Bolle, Silvio Soldini, Walter Veltroni, Cristiana Capotondi and Giorgio Diritti’s Milano 2015.
Grant Gee‘s Innocence of Memories – Orhan Pamuk’s Museum and Istanbul. Pamuk, Turkey’s Nobel laureate for Literature, opens a museum in Istanbul. A museum that’s a fiction: its objects trace a tale of doomed love in 1970’s Istanbul. The film takes a tour of the objects as the starting point for a trip through love stories, landscapes and the chemistry of the city. Back in 2012, Gee told Pamela Cohn in BOMB: “It’s about the melancholy of losing objects and people over time within this space with Pamuk’s voice in it, with his consciousness in it. There would be some other characters, as well. I would like to film the great photographer, Ara Güler, who’s been photographing Istanbul for fifty, sixty years. His photographs are all throughout Pamuk’s Istanbul book. I can see him as a presence. But, really it’s one of those things where I can just see the whole bloody thing. So I have to be very cautious and very slowly convince everyone else that it’s as good as made.”
Alessandro Rossellini’s Viva Ingrid! Vintage newsreels, clips from Roberto Rossellini‘s films starring Ingrid Bergman, and astonishing home movies that the actress mostly shot herself all go into telling the story of the great Hollywood star’s years in Italy, from 1948 to 1956. In those eight years she fell in love with Roberto Rossellini, had three children and made five unforgettable films, revisited here by Alessandro Rossellini and Angelica Grizi…. With the participation of Isabella Rossellini.
Celia Rowlson Hall’s Ma. In this modern-day vision of Mother Mary’s pilgrimage, a woman crosses the scorched landscape of the American Southwest. Reinvented and told entirely through movement, the film playfully deconstructs the role of this woman, who encounters a world full of bold characters that are alternately terrifying and sublime. Ma is a journey into the visceral and the surreal, interweaving ritual, performance, and the body as sculpture. The absence of dialogue stirs the senses, and leads us to imagine a new ending to this familiar journey. The virgin mother gives birth to our savior, but is also challenged to save herself.
Carlos Saura‘s Argentina. Exploring once again the deep magic of popular music, Carlos Saura goes into the Argentine folklore to offer a fascinating tour on past, present and future of a genre that marked the youth winning filmmaker Saura’s meeting with some of the best artists and groups from Argentina, and the rich repertoire of the genre, will allow us to look to a very particular vision of an art that has the age of the people that gave rise, creating a document culture for the coming times that Saura adds scenic magnetism and originality.
WOMEN’S TALES PROJECT
Shorts made in collaboration with Prada’s Miu Miu Label
Agnès Varda‘s Les Tres Boutons.
Davide Barletti and Jacopo Quadri’s Il Paese Dove Glia Alberi Volano, Eugenio Barda e i Giorno Dell’Odin. It’s been fifty years since Eugenio Barba founded his theater troupe Odin Teatret in Scandinavia. In the summer of 2014, an enormous party celebrating its past and future doubled as an unforgettable show in the small Danish town Holstebto, where the troupe has been based for half a century. In the visionary atmosphere of this film, an original portrait of Eugenio Barba emerges, as he tackles not just staging a performance but the realization of his life’s dream in an imaginary community in the making.
Lorenzo Berghella’s Bangland. A descent into the particular hell of Bangland, a town in America now under President Steven Spielberg, who has declared war on Mahaba, a minor African nation, thereby launching his own war on terror, the gist being that anyone who isn’t white is a potential terrorist.
Andrea Segre’s I sogni del lago salato. Nowadays Kazakhstan is experiencing the same euphoria as that of 60s and 70s booming Italy… In the film, as well as in the author’s own mind, the images of the extended Eurasian Steppe and those of the endless and neat spaces of post-Soviet lands interlace the images of 60s Italy.
Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea. Ayiva recently left his home in Burkina Faso in search of a way to provide for his sister and his daughter. He takes advantage of his position in an illegal smuggling operation to get himself and his best friend Abas off of the continent. Ayiva adapts to life in Italy, but when tensions with the local community rise, things become increasingly dangerous. Determined to make his new situation work he attempts to weather the storm, but it has its costs. Reviews from Cannes.
Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang. It is early summer. In a village in northern Turkey, Lale and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. The immorality of their play sets off a scandal that has unexpected consequences. The family home is progressively transformed into a prison ; instruction in homemaking replaces school and marriages start being arranged. The five sisters who share a common passion for freedom, find ways of getting around the constraints imposed on them. Reviews from Cannes.
Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Urok. In a small Bulgarian town, Nadezhda, a young teacher, is looking for the robber in her class so she can teach them a lesson about right and wrong. But when she gets in debt to loan sharks, can she find the right way out herself? What makes a decent human being become a criminal?