Wednesday, July 27, 2022

79th Venice International Film Festival Lineup

Official Press Conference took place Tuesday, July 26th, 2022 at 11:00 am local time and my spontaneous first impression is ... this year there are quite an array of interesting films and perhaps the films in competition as a whole represent one of the best film selections in several years, at least more than 10 years. But as I learn more about each movie perhaps my initial emotion will lower my expectations because after all, this is Venice fest and always has too-much USA cinema for my taste, sigh.

Rocío Muñoz Morales is the host of the Opening and Closing ceremonies. She will open the festival on the evening of Wednesday, August 31st, 2022 on Sala Grande in Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, and will host the closing ceremony on Saturday, September 10th when the winners of the Lions and other official prizes will be announced.

The Poster

The official poster as well as the opening sequence for current edition are by Italian illustrator and artist Lorenzo Mattotti. Is the fifth consecutive year as the author of the image of the official poster and for the fourth year, of the opening sequence for the fest.

The image chosen for the poster depicts, according to Mattotti, "a Lioness glliding through the air offering us this anniversary -the 90th." As we know, it has been 90 years since the first Venice International Film Festival and for this reason they wanted the image to be classical in style, just as the choice of a gold background was equally classical. The colour gold is also a reference to the posters of the early decades of the twentieth century. The Venice International Film Festival has always been classical, but provocative as well. Here the Lion, symbol of power and strength, has been transformed into a Lioness who embodies elegance and creativity. After 90 years, the Lion of Venice, symbol of the Film Festival, has become a Lioness who flies through history with grace and energy, as a symbol of hope, a rejection of aggression and ferocity”.

AMPAS in Venice

Still do not know what to think about this unexpected news as I still do NOT like the idea of an Academy being so-close to a film festival, especially one of the three major film fetivals in the world. But here is the news: La Biennale di Venezia, Cinecittà and Mastercard are honored to welcome for the first time The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to the Mostra d'Arte Cinematografica di Venezia. Of course they clarify that newly named Academy CEO Bill Kramer will attend to celebrate the ocassion of festival 90th anniversary.

Kramer will meet with international members and press, participate on a panel organized by Cinecittà at Venice Lido, host an exclusive event in partnership with Mastercard, meet industry professionals coordinated by the Venice International Film Festival and take part of the opening night gala of the Festival.

La Mostra

Let's begin by mentioning that this year's Golden Lion Awards for Lifetime Achievement go to none other than Catherine Deneuve and Paul Schrader.

Considering the complete Official Selection there are 11 directors who are participating for the first time in the Competition; 6 Academy Award-winning directors; 2 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement-winning directors; 5 Golden Lion-winning directors; 3 Silver Lion Special Jury Prize-winning directors and 1 Best Screenplay-winning director. So even if there are a significant number of newcomers, still the festival tend to honor previously honored directors.

Strangely enough the competition, that by definition says it has a maximum of twenty-one (21) films, has twenty-three (23) films according what festival director Antonio Barbera announced today. So it's safe to assume that there will be no more films announcements later and before the fest begins.

Then just think about a festival screening a short film by UK Sally Potter starring Javier Bardem and Chris Rock! That's awesome and yes, crazy. Bravo! On the other side of the scale. it's hard for me to imagine a film with Isabelle Huppert relegated to the Orizzonti section, sigh.

Finished reading basic info about the complete official selection and it's quite obvious that current edition went for a torrent of stars power (!!). Gee, La Mostra will have many red carpets (big and small) with worldwide well-known actors parade, like a celebrity ball of sorts (lol). Seriously, many celebrities this year. most in films by established well-reputed directors, which is good if only there were not so many American or English-spoken films. No doubt that Venice wishes to get closer to America, not only throught AMPAS but also by screening films that well, do not need festivals to have audiences, expecially because there are many that will be screened by so-called streamers, like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Do not get me wrong, I do approve streamers getting into film productions and film festivals understanding how much cinema industry has changed with the newcomers, not only in the production area but also in the distribution and direct contact with audiences area. My point, and I do have one very concrete point, is that fetivals should be beacon for films that need promotion and their film selections should include films in many languages with NO predominance of English-spoken ones.

But can't deny the pleasure of seeing Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and many more walking the red carpet because they are part of extraordinary films (at least according to trailers). Then, my truth is that I belong to the minority that gets excited when directors walk the red carpet as definitively their filmmaker abilities spoke to me more than any other film-making  participant.

The Official Selection

#Venezia79 Competition
An International competition comprising a maximum of 21 feature-lenght films presented as world premieres.

Opening Film: White Noise, Noah Baumbach, USA
All The Beauty and The Bloodshed, Laura Poitras, USA (documentary)
Argentina, 1985, Santiago Mitre, Argentina and USA
Athena, Romain Gavras, France
Bardo, Falsa Crónica de Unas Cuantas Verdades (Bardo False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths), Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mexico
Blonde, Andrew Dominik, USA
Bones and All, Luca Guadagnino, USA
Chiara, Susanna Nicchiarelli, Italy and Belgium
Il Signore delle formiche (Lord of the Ants), Gianni Amelio, Italy
Khers Nist (No Bears), Jafar Panahi, Iran
L'immensità, Emanuele Crialese, Italy and France
Les Enfants des Autres (Other People's Children), Rebecca Zlotowski, France
Les Miens (Our Ties), Roschdy Zem, France
Love Life, Kōji Fukada, Japan and France
Monica, Andrea Pallaoro, USA and Italy
Saint Omer, Alice Diop, France
شب، داخلی، دیوار Shab, Dakheli, Divar (Beyond The Wall), Vahid Jalilvand, Iran
Tár, Todd Field, USA
The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh, Ireland, UK and USA
The Eternal Daughter, Joanna Hogg, UK and USA
The Son, Florian Zeller, UK
The Whale, Darren Aronofsky, USA
Un Couple (A Couple), Frederick Wiseman, France and USA

Competition Jury
President: Julianne Moore, actress, USA
Mariano Cohn, director, screenwriter and producer, Argentina
Leonardo di Costanzo, director and screenwriter, Italy
Audrey Diwan, director, France
Leila Hatami, actress, Iran
Kazuo Ishiguro, author and screenwriter, Japan and UK
Rodrigo Sorogoyen, director, screenwriter and producer, Spain

To check available info and trailers go to @MOC.

Out of Competition
Works of established authors, films in which the spectacula dimension is accompanied by forms of expressive or narrative originality, and documentaries

Dead for A Dollar, Walter Hill, USA and Canada
Don't Worry, Darling, Olivia Wilde, USA
Dreamin' Wild, Bill Pohlad, USA
Kapag Wala Nang Mga Alon (When The Waves Are Gone), Lav Diaz, Phillipines, France, Portugal and Denmark
Köne taevast (Call of God), Kim Ki-duk, Estonia, Latvia and Kyrgyzstan
Living, Oliver Hermanus, UK
Master Gardener, Paul Schrader, USA
Pearl, Ti West, USA
Siccità (Drought), Paolo Virzì, Italy
Closing Film: The Hanging Sun, Francesco Carozzini, Italy and UK

Non Fiction (Documentaries)
A Compassionate Spy, Steve James, USA
Bobi Wine Ghetto President, Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo, Uganda, UK and USA
Freedom on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky and Alex Kashpur, Ukraine, UK and USA
Gli Ultimi Giorni dell'Umanità (The Last Days of Humanity), Enrico Ghezzi and Alessandro Gagliardo, Italy
In Viaggio, Gianfranco Rosi, Italy
Music for Black Pigeons, Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed, Denmark
Nuclear, Oliver Stone, USA
The Kiev Trial, Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands and Ukraine
The Matchmaker, Benedetta Argentieri, Italy

TV Series
Copenhagen Cowboy, Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark
Riget Exodus (The Kingdom Exodus), Lars von Trier, Denmark

Short Films
A Guerra Finita, Simone Massi, Italy, 4' (animation)
Camarera de Piso (Maid), Lucrecia Martel, Argentina and Mexico, 11'
In Quanto A Noi, Simone Massi, Italy (animation(, 5'
Look at Me, Sally Potter, UK and USA, 16'

An International competition dedicated to films that represent the latest aesthetic and expressive trends. Also included is the Orizzonti Extra non-competitive section

Feature Films
Opening Film : Princess, Roberto De Paolis, Italy
A Noiva (The Bride), Sérgio Tréfaut, Portugal
ある男 Aru Otoko (A Man), Kei Ishikawa, Japan
Autobiography, Makbul Mubarak, Indonesia, France, Germany, Poland, Singapore, Philippines and Qatar
Blanquita, Fernando Guzzoni, Chile, Mexico, Luxembourg, France and Poland
Chleb i sól (Bread and Salt), Damian Kocur, Poland
En Los Márgenes (On The Fringe), Juan Diego Botto, UK and Spain
Innocence, Guy Davidi, Denmark, Israel, Finland and Iceland (documentary)
Jang-e jahani sevom (World War III), Houman Seyedi, Iran
La Syndicaliste (The Sitting Duck), Jean-Paul Salomé, France and Germany
Luxembourg, Luxembourg, Antonio Lukich, Ukraine
Najsrekniot čovek na svetot / Najsretniji čovjek (The Happiest Man in the World), Teona Strugar Mitevska, North Macedonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark and Slovenia
Obet' (Victim), Michal Blaško, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Germany
Pour la France (For My Country), Rachid Hami, France and Taiwan
Spre Nord (To The North), Mihai Mincan, Romania, France, Greece, Bulgaria and Czech Republic
Ti Mangio il Coure, Pippo Mezzapesa, Italy
Trenque Lauquen, Laura Citarella, Argentina and Germany
Vera, Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria

Short Films
III, Salomé Villeneuve, Canada, 12'
Alt på en gang (Everything at Once), Henrik Dyb Zwart, Norway, 8'
Christopher at Sea, Tom CJ Brown, France and USA, 20'
Love Forever, Clare Young, Australia, 12'
Manuale di cinematografia per dilettanti - Vol. I, Federico Di Corato, Italy, 20'
صاحبتي Sahbety (My Girl Friend), Kawthar Younis, Egypt, 16'
Nocomodo, Lola Halifa-Legrand, France, 13'
Please Hold The Line, Ce Ding Tan, Malaysia, 19'
Rutubet, Turan Haste, Turkey, 20'
Snow in September, Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir, Mongolia and France, 20'
The Fruit Tree, Isabelle Tollenaere, Belgium, 14'
Tria - Del Sentimento del Tradiere, Giulia Grandinetti, Italy, 17'

Orizzonti Jury
President: Isabel Coixet, director, screenwriter and producer Spain
Laura Bispuri, director, Italy
Antonio Campos, director, screenwriter and producer, USA
Sofia Djama, actress, Algeria
Edouard Waintrop, film festival artistic director, France

Orizzonti Extra
Opening Film: L'Origine du mal, Sébastien Marnier, France and Canada
Amanda, Carolina Cavalli, Italy
بی رویا Bi Roya (Without Her), Arian Vazirdaftari, Iran
Оңбағандар Goliath, Adiklhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan and Russia
Janain Mualaqa (Hanging Gardens), Ahmed Yassin Al Daradji, Iraq, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and UK
Nezouh, Soudade Kaadan, UK, Syria and France
Notte Fantasma (Ghost Night), Fulvio Risuleo, Italy
Valeria Mithatenet (Valeria is Getting Married), Michal Vinik, Israel and Ukraine
Zapatos Rojos, Carlos Eichelmann Kaiser, Mexico and Italy

To check available info and trailers go @MOC

Lion of the Future Jury
President: Michelangelo Frammartino, director, Italy
Jan P. Matuszynski, director and screenwriter, Poland
Ana Rocha de Sousa, director, screenwriter, artist, and actress, Portugal
Tessa Thompson, actress and producer, USA
Rosalie Varda, producer and costume designer, France

To check available film posters from ALL sections go my pinterest here.

Venice Classics
Venice Classics is the section that since 2012 presents world premiere screenings at the Venice Film Festival of a selection of the finest restorations of classic films completed over the past year by film libraries, cultural institutions and productions from around the world. Venice Classics also presents a selection of documentaries about cinema and its auteurs. The jury is composed of 21 film students from Italian universities which will assign the Venice Classics Award to the best restored film and best documentary about cinema, it is chaired by the director Giulio Base.

Among the many activities and events in the section there are a few worth mentioning, like the celebration of the birth centennial of Pier Paolo Pasolini with the restoration of Teorema, and those of Vittorio Gassman and Ugo Tognazzi commemorated with the restoration of March on Rome and Crazy Desire, the latter also making the celebration of the birth centennial of director Luciano Salce and commemorating the recently departed Catherine Spaak.

Venice Classics could also not fail to pay tribute to the great Monica Vitti, with the restoration of one of her lesser-known films, but one of those she treasured most: Teresa the Thief, directed by her life partner at the time, Carlo Di Palma.

Most surprising is to find among the section lineup the very first Lesbian interest film I ever saw, Therese and Isabelle by Radley Metzger, a film that undoubtedly derserves a restoration to be preserved for future generations. Sigh.

To check more info about the section that comes back after a 2-year hiatus and to learn the list of all restored films go to official site here.

Biennale College Cinema
An advanced training workshop for the development and production of micro-budget works, open to teams of directors and producers from around the world. To learn about the films go to official site here.

Final Cut in Venice
Ten years ago, the Venice Production Bridge launched Final Cut in Venice, a workshop that provides concrete assistance in the completion of films from all African coutires and Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. To learn about this year activities and participants go to official site here.

Venice Immersive

The new title of the Venice VR Expanded section and intends to acknowledge the growth of inmersive media beyond the technologies of Virtual Reality and to include all means of expression in XR-Extended Reality: 360° videos and XR works of any length, including installations, live performances and virtual worlds. To learn more about this section that has 30 projects in Competition and more in other sections go official site here.

Press Conference video in English

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