High-profile doc “The Rossellinis,” described as a tongue-in-cheek autobiographical look at the descendants of iconic Italian director Roberto Rossellini’s extended family, is among the standout world premieres in the lineup of the upcoming Venice Film Festival’s Critics’ Week.
Directed by Roberto Rossellini’s grandson, Alessandro Rossellini, the doc is unspooling out of competition and will close the separately-run Venice section that will feature seven first works in competition. It’s not yet know whether Isabella Rossellini will be on the Lido to promote the film.
The competition titles — all first works as well as world premieres — include “Topside,” the feature film debut of U.S. directorial duo Celine Held and Logan George, which is described in promotional materials as a drama set deep in the underbelly of New York City, where a five year-old girl and her mother live among a community that has claimed the abandoned subway tunnels as their home. Endeavor Content is handling world sales. Held and George previously directed a short that played at Cannes, titled “Caroline,” about a 6-year-old.
Other films in the Venice Critics’ Week competition are “Shorta,” a buzzed-about Danish thriller by directorial duo Frederik Louis Hviid and Anders Ølholm that unfolds in the aftermath of the killing of 19-year-old Talib Ben Hassi while in custody; nihilistic coming-of-age drama “50 or Two Whales Meet at the Beach,” by Mexico’s Jorge Cuchí; Istanbul-set drama “Ghosts,” in which the narrative revolves around a drug deal, directed by Azra Deniz Okyay; racism-themed drama “Though Shall Not Hate” by Italy’s Mauro Mancini; Ukrainian war drama “Bad Roads,” by Natalya Vorozhbyt; and similarly themed Lithuanian drama “The Flood Won’t Come” by Marat Sargsyan.
Commenting on the lineup, Venice Critics’ Week artistic director Giona Nazzaro told Variety that “filmmaking does not live outside history. There are so many things going on that, simply, we wanted the selection to reflect the world as it is.”
The section’s competition jury this year is comprised of British journalist and critic Wendy Mitchell, Italian multi-hyphenate Eugenio Renzi, and Pordenone Silent Film Festival director and Variety film critic Jay Weissberg.
Nazzaro also underlined “the importance of the festival taking place as a physical edition this year.”
“This doesn’t mean that we underestimate the [potential] presence of the virus. We simply think that we need to start thinking how to live together with the virus until a vaccine comes along,” Nazzaro added. He also pointed out that he is “looking forward to welcoming the delegations that made the films possible in accordance with sanitary safety rules.”
As previously announced, Terrence Malick-produced English-language costume drama “The Book of Vision,” directed by Italy’s Carlo Hintermann, will open the section out of competition.
The full official selection lineup will be announced on July 28.
The 77th edition of the Venice fest runs from Sept.2-12.