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

  • A Hidden Life Movie Austria

    Film News Roundup: Austin Festival Selects Terrence Malick's 'A Hidden Life'

    In today’s film news roundup, the Austin Film Festival selects a Terrence Malick title, “A Day Without a Mexican” gets a sequel and DCR Finance signs a first-look deal. FESTIVAL SCREENING The Austin Film Festival will screen Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” which won the Francois Chalais and Ecumenical Jury awards at the Cannes Film [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Blake Lively's 'Rhythm Section' Moved Back to 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved the release date of Blake Lively’s “The Rhythm Section” back two months from Nov. 22 to Jan. 31, 2020, the weekend of Super Bowl LIV. The spy tale, adapted from Mark Burnell’s novels surrounding character Stephanie Patrick, is produced by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson through their [...]

  • The Mandalorian

    'The Mandalorian': Watch the First Trailer for 'Star Wars' Series

    The gunslinging lone warrior — the Mandalorian, as they call him — calls the far reaches of the “Star Wars” galaxy home. Disney dropped the first trailer for the spinoff series during its biennial D23 convention on Friday, finally giving fans a closer look at the franchise’s newest character. “The Mandalorian” creator Jon Favreau, who [...]

  • Lady and the Tramp trailer

    'Lady and the Tramp': Disney's Live-Action Remake Gets First Trailer (Watch)

    Ready your dog-friendly bowl of spaghetti, Disney has debuted the first trailer for its live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. The teaser was released during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim at the Disney + presentation. In addition to Thompson and Theroux, who play the Lady and Tramp, respectively, [...]

  • Mickey Mouse waves to members of

    Spider-Man, Spicer and Splashy First-Looks: Everything We're Looking For at D23

    As if Disney hasn’t owned enough weekends this year at the box office, the biennial D23 Expo will light up Anaheim, Calif. over the next three days to celebrate the content monolith. From a new Netflix-competing streaming platform to scores of movie and series reveals — along with a few hot controversies to confront — [...]

  • Angel Has Fallen

    'Angel Has Fallen' to Dominate Modest Box Office With $20 Million Weekend

    Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman are leading the way at the North American box office with “Angel Has Fallen” on its way to about $20 million, early estimates showed Friday. Should forecasts hold, “Angel Has Fallen” will take in about double the next title, Universal’s second weekend of raunchy comedy “Good Boys” with about $10 [...]

  • Aracne

    Sanfic Standout ‘Aracne’ Filmmakers Discuss the State of Chilean Genre

    A key project at this year’s Santiago Lab, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival industry forum for promising Latin American projects, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” is representative of a push from the next generation of Chilean filmmakers into genre cinema and the themes it can explore. “Aracne” turns on Beatriz, a young journalist at a small Santiago [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content