You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Venice Critics’ Week Unveils Lineup

Europe, Chile, Africa feature prominently; U.S., Asia absent

ROME — The Venice Film Festival’s 28th Critics’ Week has unveiled its lineup of eight first works, including seven world preems, featuring fresh pics from Europe, Chile and Africa.

Sidebar will open with ambitious Italo animation drama “The Art of Happiness,” by Alessandro Rak, about a Neapolitan cab driver and former musician searching for spirituality as he drives the city’s garbage-strewn streets. Rare case of an Italo animation helmer making his feature film debut is produced by Luciano Stella and local shingle Mad Factory, and distributed by Istituto Luce Cinecitta.

The closer, also out-of-competish, will be the international launch of Chilean helmer Moises Sepulveda’s “Illiterate” (Las Analfabetas), about a woman who wants to keep her illiteracy a secret. She is played by Paulina Garcia who won best actress in Berlin for her role Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria.”

The other six pics all play in competition of the Lido section dedicated to discoveries headed by Italo film critic Francesco Di Pace. A seventh competition entry will be announced in a few weeks.

Chile, making a strong showing this year, is repped in the competish by “The Quispe Girls,” a Pinochet-era drama about three sisters living in Chile’s outback, helmed by Sebastian Sepulveda (no relation to Moises) and produced by Pablo Larrain’s Fabula.

Italy is repped by sophisticated comedy “Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot” by Matteo Oleotto, which is set in Italy and Slovenia, and is an Italo-Slovenian co-prod being sold internationally by Slingshotfilms.

The strong European contingent also comprises Slovenian school drama “Class Enemy” (pictured) by Rok Bicek, produced by Triglav Film, which is also selling internationally; and Swedish first feature “The Reunion” by Anna Odell, which is also school-related but shot in a more experimental mode.

Rounding out the selection are Moroccan novelist-turned-helmer Abdellah Taia’s Casablanca-set “Salvation Army,” based on his eponymous novel about growing up gay; and “White Shadow,” a drama about intolerance towards albinos in Tanzania, helmed by Noaz Deshe, who in based in Los Angeles and Berlin.  Ryan Gosling is executive producer on “White Shadow,” which is an Italy-Germany-Africa co-prod.

Venice Critics’ Week films will be judged by votes cast by festgoers rather than a jury.

All entries will compete alongside titles in the Official Selection for the fest’s Golden Lion of the Future, worth $100,000.

For the second consecutive year the $6,500 audience award is sponsored by vintage art cinema distributor Raro Video.

Venice fest runs Aug. 28 to Sept. 8. The official selection lineup will be announced on July 25.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Dominates With Soft $36 Million

    Five years after Angelina Jolie’s “Maleficent” cast a spell over the box office, the villainous enchantress has returned to the top of domestic charts. Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” a sequel to 2014’s fantasy adventure based on the “Sleeping Beauty” sorceress, flew lower than the original and debuted to a disappointing $36 million from 2,790 [...]

  • MIA Wrap

    Rome MIA Market Wraps With Stronger U.S. Presence, Boosts Italy's Industry Standing

    Rome’s MIA market for TV series, feature films and documentaries wrapped positively Sunday with organizers boasting a bump in attendance just as some 2,500 executives departed in an upbeat mood after four days of dealmaking and presentations of mostly European fresh product, which elevated Italy’s global standing in the industry, especially within the TV sector. [...]

  • Film Republic Adds Further Sales for

    Film Republic Inks Further Deals for 'God of the Piano' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Film Republic has closed further territory sales on “God of the Piano.” Film Movement previously picked up North American rights to the film, as reported exclusively by Variety. Mont Blanc Cinema has taken the rights for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay. Limelight Distribution is looking after the Australian and New Zealand releases, Hualu [...]

  • ‘Bears Famous Invasion’s Lorenzo Mattotti Brings

    Lorenzo Mattotti on MIA Title ‘Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily’

    Illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti is no stranger to film festivals. The artist – a long-time New Yorker cover artist and onetime Lou Reed and Michelangelo Antonioni collaborator – has designed posters for past editions of Venice and Cannes, and has contributed to films that played in Toronto and Rome. This year, however, he experienced the festival [...]

  • Dreamworks Abominable

    'Abominable' Release in Malaysia Abandoned

    Plans to release the increasingly controversial Chinese-U.S. co-produced animation film “Abominable” in Malaysia have been dropped after the distributor said that it would not be cut to cater to political sensitivities. The film includes a scene which depicts a map showing the South China Sea and the so called “nine-dash line” that China uses to [...]

  • Hui He

    RAI Com Takes World Sales on Italy/China Doc About Star Soprano Hui He (EXCLUSIVE)

    Italy’s RAI Com has taken world sales on high-profile documentary “Hui He, the Soprano From the Silk Road,” which is about the personal and artistic journey of one of the world’s leading sopranos and also marks a milestone Italian-Chinese co-production. Hui He was born and trained as a singer in the Chinese city of Xi’an, [...]

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content