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Indian Fantasy ‘Tumbbad’ to Kick Off Venice Critics’ Week

Indian fantasy “Tumbbad” will open the Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week, which unveiled its lineup Monday of nine first works by international filmmakers, all of them world premieres.

The section’s artistic director, Giona Nazzaro, described the 19th-century-set “Tumbbad,” co-directed by Rai Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad, as a fast-paced parable about greed and “a visionary fantasy film, rich in visual inventions, special effects and blood.” The Hindi-language epic, produced by Mumbai-based Little Town Films, is being screened out of competition, and is sold internationally by Eros International.

The films in the competition lineup include Sudanese director’s Hajooj Kuka’s “A Kasha” (“The Roundup”), a comedy of errors set during Sudan’s civil war, which has been a standout on the co-production platforms circuit; German director Andreas Goldstein’s “Adam & Evelyn,” a coming-of-age story set in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall; Franco-Swiss directorial duo Alexia Walther and Maxime Matray’s “Blonde Animals,” a surreal comedy involving the former star of a short-lived TV sitcom; and “Still Recording,” a documentary on the conflict in Syria co-directed by Syrians Saaed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub and based on hundreds of hours of raw footage.

Also competing are Finnish pop star-turned-director Anna Eriksoon’s “M,” an experimental horror film described as “the most radical” work in the section; Italian director Letizia Lamartire’s comedy, “We’ll Be Young and Beautiful,” about a mother-and-son pop band; and Montenegrin Ivan Salatic’s “You Have the Night,” an economic crisis drama that the section calls “a hymn of human dignity and endurance.”

The out-of-competition closer is Tunisian director Abdelhamid Bouchnak’s horror film, “Dachra,” which “tackles the conflict between tradition and modernity through the hope for a revolution that is not yet accomplished,” said Nazzaro.

All Venice Critics’ Week entries will compete alongside titles in the official selection for the fest’s Lion of the Future prize, worth $100,000. As usual, Critics’ Week films will be voted on by festival-goers rather than a jury.

The full official-selection lineup of the 75th Venice Film Festival will be announced Wednesday. The fest runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8.

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