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Venice crix pick ‘Brick’

U.S. indie will unspool in fest's sidebar

ROME — U.S. helmer Rian Johnson’s film noir tribute “Brick” will be among seven first works from three continents unspooling at the Venice Film Festival’s 20th Critics Week.

“Brick,” a Sundance standout acquired by Focus Features, is the single U.S. entry in the sidebar.

The other competing titles are “Asi,” by Jesus-Maria Lozano (Mexico); “Kuihua duoduo,” Wang Baomin (China); “Mater natura,” Massimo Andrei (Italy); “Le Passager,” Eric Caravaca (France); “Pavee Lackeen,” Perry Ogden (Ireland); and “Yadasht bar zamin,” Ali Mohammad Ghasemi (Iran).

The Venice Critics Week entries reflect “personal and political tensions, which transcend … current events, such as war or terrorism,” said Francesco Di Pace, the section’s curator.

Chinese entry is centered on a man released after a six-year prison sentence for rape; Italian pic concerns a Neapolitan transsexual; and the Iranian film follows a mentally disturbed man who wants to kill the children in his village.

Irish entry “Pavee Lackeen,” a portrait of a young girl who belongs to the Gypsy-like Travelers community, took top honors last week at the Galway Film Fleadh. It also will screen at Toronto in September.

French entry “Le Passager,” an intimate drama starring Caravaca, Julie Depardieu and vet Maurice Garrel, is being sold by Celluloid Dreams.

France is the only country with two works in the section. “Belzec,” a docu by first-timer Guillaume Moscovitz about the concentration camp in Belzec, Poland, will unspool as a special event.

An audience jury will judge the Critics Week prize. In addition, all entries in the sidebar are eligible to compete — along with pics in Venice’s official selection — for the E100,000 ($121,000) Lion of the Future award for debut director.

Critics Week is run by Italy’s National Union of Film Critics, SNCCI.

The 62nd Venice fest will run Aug. 31-Sept. 10.

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