There are four Italian movie in competition for the Lion award: this alone is enough to convey an image of the 72nd edition of Venice International Film Festival, the selection of which has gone beyond the traditional three national titles.
Let’s take a look at the movies, starting with the Italian titles in competition.
With “Sangue del mio sangue”, Maestro Marco Bellocchio brings Alba Rohrwacher, Roberto Herlitzka and his son Pier Giorgio to the big screen in a gloomy drama set in the seventeenth century: the story of a nun who is walled up alive in the convent prison in order to atone for a terrible sin.
Newcomer Piero Messina has won the trust of Juliette Binoche who stars in “L’attesa”: two women wait for a man who is the son of one and the lover of the other.
Outsider Giuseppe Gaudino returns to Venice after nineteen years (“Giro di lune tra terra e mare”) with a low budget movie, “Per amor vostro” (700,000 Euros) set in Naples. A movie “about the consequences of sloth”, to use the director’s own words: it narrates the contradictory life of a woman played by Valeria Golino.
With “A Bigger Splash” the cosmopolitan Luca Guadagnino (in 2009 his presented his successful “Io sono l’amore” in the “Orizzonti” section) tries his hand at a remake of Jack Deray’s famous 1969 movie “La piscine” starring Romy Schneider/Alain Delon.
Guadagnino has also put together a stellar cast: Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton.
Among the 21 movies in competition, the selection of US movies is certain to leave its mark. “Truly unexpected”, underlines Barbera, emphasizing their distance “from the traditional American movies we are used to”. Here again the list consists of four works: “Beasts of No Nations” about child soldiers in Africa, directed by Cary Fukunaha (who made the TV series “True Detective”), “Anomalisa”, an animated feature about a man’s mid-life crisis by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, and “Heart of a Dog”, Laurie Anderson’s theatrical directing debut. The American artist who presents her own painful experiences in this movie – the loss of her husband, Lou Reed, her mother and her beloved dog – brings the pervasive power of music in cinema to Venice, which is also proposed, again out of competition, in “Janis”, a documentary by Amy Berg about the life of rock icon Janis Joplin which ended with a heroin overdose in 1970.
Reality is tinged with current news events in some of the other movies on the Venetian competition’s program. This is the case with “Rabin, the Last Day” by Amos Gitai, about the last day in the life of the Israeli statesman, or “Abluka” by Turkish director Emina Alper about political violence in Istanbul.
There is a high level of expectation for “Francofonia” by Aleksandr Sokurov about the Louvre museum during the Nazi occupation and for “Remember” in which Atom Egoyan re-evokes the ghosts of the Holocaust.
Out of competition we should mention the opening movie “Everest”, directed by Baltasar Kormàtur, about the tragic expedition of ’66 and “The Audition”, and a Johnny Depp, rendered unrecognizably overweight for the role, who plays the American gangster James Bulger (known as Whitey) in “Black Mass” by Scott Cooper.
To conclude, Venice 72 will be more “inclusive”, opening up to the public that frequents the Gardens next to the Palazzo del Cinema with fringe events, screenings and meetings, strictly free of charge, with VIPS that are not just movie stars (an encounter with Vasco Rossi is also planned).