The Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section, modeled on the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has unveiled its lineup of 21 titles in the official selection, comprising the world premiere of “Ma,” by New York-based filmmaker-performer Celia Rowlson-Hall, and new works by known names including Spanish veteran Carlos Saura, Chile’s Matias Bize, and Italy’s Vincenzo Marra, alongside first-time and emerging directors.
All told, Venice Days topper Giorgio Gosetti has secured 18 world preems spanning a wide range of genres and formats, including a previously announced short by influential French auteur Agnes Varda. Her “Les Tres Boutons” is sponsored by Prada women’s-only label Miu Miu as part of its partnership with Venice Days on “The Miu Miu Women’s Tales” series of shorts.
This year’s rich section will open with first-time Spanish director Dani de la Torre’s car-chase thrilller “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.
Standouts in the 10-title Venice Days competition include Matias Bize’s “The Memory of Water” (pictured), a drama about a young couple trying to rekindle their relationship after the death of their 4-year-old son, which segues from his well-received “In Bed” and “The Life of Fish”; Vincenzo Marra’s fourth feature “La Prima Luce,” which stars Italo A-lister Riccardo Scamarcio as an Italian lawyer tracking down his young son in Chile after an acrimonious divorce; Australian director Michael Rowe’s intergenerational love drama “Early Winter”; and Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid’s “As I Open My Eyes,” set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring as it relates to pop music.
Carlos Saura will be on the Lido with “Argentina,” a documentary about tango which continues his exploration of the essence of popular dance and song in both fiction and docus, which has yielded films such as “Blood Wedding,” “Carmen,” “Fados” and “Flamenco, Flamenco.”
Celia Rowlson Hall’s “Ma,” which is a modern-day vision of Mother Mary’s pilgrimage through the eyes of Ma (played by Rowlson-Hall), is also bowing as a special event. It’s being presented by Venice Days in tandem with the Tribeca fest, during which her feature film debut first screened as an advance work-in-progress.
Turkish Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk is expected on the Lido for the world bow of British director Grant Gee’s “Innocence of Memories,” based on Pamuk’s acclaimed book “The Museum Of Innocence.” This film is also screening as a special event.
French director Laurent Cantet will preside over the jury that will award the Venice Days Award worth Euros 20,000 ($21,000) to the top competition title. Competition entries will also vie for the section’s audience award, while all first works are eligible for Venice’s Luigi De Laurentiis nod for best first work across all the Venice fest sections.
The 11th edition of Venice Days will run September 2-12.
VENICE DAYS LINEUP
“Retribution,” Dani de la Torre (Spain) Opener in-competition
“The Memory of Water,” Matias Bize (Chile)
“As I Open My Eyes,” Leyla Bouzid (France, Tunisia, Belgium)
“Long Live The Bride,” Ascanio Celestini (Italy, France, Belgium)
“Arianna,” Carlo Lavagna (Italy)
“First Light,” Vincenzo Marra (Italy)
“Underground Fragrance,” Pengfei (China)
“Klezner,” Piotr Chrzan (Poland)
“Island City,” Ruchika Oberoi (India)
“Early Winter,” Michael Rowe (Australia/Canada)
WOMEN’S TALES PROJECT (Shorts) in collaboration with Prada’s Miu Miu Label
“De Jess,” Alice Rohrwacher, (Italy)
“Les Tres Boutons,” Agnes Varda (France, Italy)
“Milano 2015,” Elio, Roberto Bolle, Silvio Soldini, Walter Veltroni, Cristiana Capotondi, Giorgio Diritti (Italy)
“Bangland,” Lorenzo Berghella (Italy)
“Harry’s Bar,” Carlotta Cerquetti
“Innocence of Memories – Orhan Pamuk’s Museum and Istanbul,” Grant Gee (U.K., Ireland, Italy)
“Il Paese Dove Glia Alberi Volano, Eugenio Barda e i Giorno Dell’Odin,” Davide Barletti and Jacopo Quadri (Italy)
“Viva Ingrid!,” Alessandro Rossellini (Italy)
“Ma,” Celia-Rowlson Hall (U.S.)
“Argentina,” Carlos Saura (Argentina, Spain, France)