The international premiere of animated musical comedy “Sing 2” will open the upcoming Torino Film Festival, Italy’s preeminent event for young directors and indie fare, which will be honoring Monica Bellucci with a lifetime achievement award.
Director Garth Jennings will be on hand in Torino for the overseas festival bow of his sequel to 2016’s “Sing,” which follows a koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey, as he and his cast of performing animals prepare for their biggest concert yet in Redshore City, and must convince a reclusive rockstar (Bono) to join them.
Bellucci, besides coming to be celebrated and to hold a masterclass, will also be attending the fest to launch her latest film “The Girl in the Fountain,” directed by Italy’s Antongiulio Panizzi, in which she plays the iconic Anita Ekberg, a role for which she died her hair blonde.
Charlotte Gainsbourg will also be making the trek to Torino to launch her directorial debut “Jane by Charlotte,” a portrait of her iconic mother Jane Birkin, and also to promote French director Benoit Jacquot’s “Suzanna Andler,” an adaptation of the Marguerite Duras play about a woman in the 1960s married to a wealthy, unfaithful man in which Gainsbourg plays the title role.
Torino’s 12-title competition is made up mostly of first works, many of which have surfaced on the circuit earlier this year. They include South Korean writer-director Hong Sung-eun’s urban solitude drama “Aloners”; French actress Sandrine Kiberlain’s debut feature “A Radiant Girl”; absurdist Egyptian female empowerment pic “Feathers” by Omar El Zohairy; dark comedy “El Planeta” by Spanish-Argentine artist Amalia Ulman; mainland China drama “The Day Is Over,” about bullying in school, directed by Qi Rui; and “Il Muto di Gallura,” a drama about a real 19th century Sardinian bandit, involving fierce family feuding and also romance, directed by first-timer Matteo Fresi and shot in Sardinian dialect, which is having its world premiere.
The fest, which is being revamped after going online last year, will be Italy’s first film event held in venues with 100% seating capacity, since Italy recently allowed movie theaters to operate with no restrictions beyond showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the door.
In his introductory remarks Torino artistic director Stefano Francia di Celle underscored the event’s “main commitment to protect and promote works by emerging auteurs often made by independent producers with many young professionals involved.”
Di Celle also noted the fest’s attention toward experimental works such as Lebanese visual artists and filmmaking duo Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige known for “The Lebanese Rocket Society” and more recently “Memory Box,” which is made using journals and audio recordings they made while growing up in Beirut of the 1980s. The daring duo are being celebrated with a retro.
The Nov. 26-Dec. 4 fest, which also has dense sections dedicated to docs and shorts, will serve as the Italian launching pad for Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho,” which will soon be released in Italy, and will close with the local premiere of offbeat Céline Dion biopic “Aline” by French comic actor and director Valérie Lemercier who stars in the pic as Aline Dieu, a fictional character who is meant to be Dion.