It's one of a few major international film festivals left this year, and the Venice Film Festival has revealed the lineup for its 28th Critics’ Week sidebar, which includes 8 first films, including seven world premieres from Europe, South America and Africa. Yay!
One of two projects you should take note of is Salvation Army (L’Armée du salut), a Moroccan drama by Abdellah Taïa.
The film is based on Abdellah's own autobiographical novel of the same name, which caused a stir in his native Morocco (although he's lived in France in a self-imposed exile since 1998), when he announced plans to adapt his novel to film, early last year.
This move was widely seen in Morocco as exasperating and daring in a conservative society that apparently wasn't ready for what's been described as an honest, thorough and detailed novel (and film) about a gay Moroccan man.
Taïa, said to be the first Moroccan writer to announce his homosexuality in his autobiography, also stars in the film, playing himself.
Here's how the novel is described:
Salvation Army is a coming-of-age novel that tells the story of Taïa's life with complete disclosure--from a childhood bound by family order and latent (homo)sexual tensions in the poor city of Salé, through an adolescence in Tangier charged by the young writer's attraction to his eldest brother, to a disappointing arrival in the Western world to study in Geneva in adulthood. In so doing, Salvation Army manages to burn through the author's first-person singularity to embody the complex mélange of fear and desire projected by Arabs on Western culture. Recently hailed by his native country's press as "the first Moroccan to have the courage to publicly assert his difference," Taïa, through his calmly transgressive work, has "outed" himself as "the only gay man" in a country whose theocratic law still declares homosexuality a crime.
The film adaptation will make its World Premiere during Venice Critics Week, which is run in cooperation with The National Union of Italian Film Critics.
The 70th Venice International Film Festival, organized by La Biennale di Venezia, will be held on the Lido of Venice from the 28th of August to the 7th of September 2013, directed by Alberto Barbera.
More to come from the Critics Week lineup, as well as the festival's full lineup, whenever it's released, which should be very soon!
No trailer to look at yet for Salvation Army (L’Armée du salut).