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Whit Stillman's 'Damsels In Distress' To Close 2011 Venice Film Festival

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist July 26, 2011 at 5:06AM

Frederick Wiseman's 'Crazy Horse,' Jean Marc-Vallee's 'Cafe De Flore' Head Up Venice Days Line-UpAnnoyingly, the fall film festivals seem to have gotten together and decided to release all their news at the same time, on the same day: just as Toronto was unveiling its line-up, Venice has now announced their closing film, ahead of the full line-up being revealed on Thursday. We already know that George Clooney's "The Ides of March" will open the festival on August 31st, rumors are flying thick and fast about the rest of the line-up, and now, we know the closer, which will wrap things up on September 10th. And it's a doozy.
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Frederick Wiseman's 'Crazy Horse,' Jean Marc-Vallee's 'Cafe De Flore' Head Up Venice Days Line-Up



Annoyingly, the fall film festivals seem to have gotten together and decided to release all their news at the same time, on the same day: just as Toronto was unveiling its line-up, Venice has now announced their closing film, ahead of the full line-up being revealed on Thursday. We already know that George Clooney's "The Ides of March" will open the festival on August 31st, rumors are flying thick and fast about the rest of the line-up, and now, we know the closer, which will wrap things up on September 10th. And it's a doozy.

indieWire reports that "Damsels in Distress," the long-awaited new film from indie legend Whit Stillman, the director's first since "The Last Days of Disco" in 1998, will be the closing-night film. The picture, which stars Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton and Adam Brody, is a college-set tale about “a group of style-obsessed college girls who take in a new student and teach her their misguided ways of helping people,” and will also involve a romance between Gerwig and Brody's characters.

At one point, it seemed as though it had been re-titled "Violet Wister's Damsels in Distress," but it seems to have been reverted to its original title, smartly. The full synopsis is below, and Sony Pictures Classics will release it at some point, likely before the end of the year. The film isn't part of the Toronto line-up announced this morning, but we wouldn't bet against it making an appearance there at some point. The good news is that The Playlist is pleased to reveal that we'll be covering Venice for the first time this year. The bad news is that this writer won't be there for closing night, and is now going to cry for a bit, while clutching his copy of "Metropolitan."

Violet Wister’s DAMSELS IN DISTRESS is a comedy that follows a trio of beautiful girls who set out to revolutionize life at a grungy East Coast university – the dynamic leader Violet Wister (Gerwig), principled Rose (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and sexy Heather (Carrie MacLemore). They welcome transfer student Lily (Tipton) into their group which seeks to help severely depressed students with a program of good scent and musical dance numbers. The girls become romantically entangled with a series of men—including slick Charlie (Brody), dreamboat Xavier (Hugo Becker) and the mad frat pack of Frank (Ryan Metcalf) and Thor (Billy Magnussen)—who threaten the girls’ friendship and sanity.

In other Venice-related news, sidebar Venice Days, the Italian answer to the Director's Fortnight, has unveiled its line-up, which includes a new documentary by the legendary Frederik Wiseman, a new film from Jean-Marc Vallee, director of "C.R.A.Z.Y." and "The Young Victoria," entitled "Cafe De Flore" and Lou Ye's "Love and Bruises," which toplines "A Prophet" star Tahar Rahim. Read the full line-up below.

ANOTHER SILENCE by Santiago Amigorena
with Marie-Josée Croze, Benz Antoine, Ignacio Rogers
France/Canada/Brazil/Argentina, World Premiere
International sales: Celluloid Dreams
Two shots fired in the middle of the night disrupt the life of Mary. The faceless killers shoot dead her husband and son. As a police officer in the district of Toronto, she chooses the path of revenge, hunting down the killers and masterminds. Like in a contemporary western, her journey takes us to the Argentinean/Bolivian border, to ‘another world’ where her humanity can survive. Another Silence marks the comeback by the director of Quelques jours en septembre and confirms Marie-Josée Croze, the most famous film actress of Québec.

KI (My Name is Ki) by Ladzek Dawid (Debut film)
with Roma Gasiorowska, Adam Woronowicz, Kamil Malecki, Krzysztof Ogłoza
Poloand, International Premiere
Production: Skorpion Arte
A young and single mother finds a house, makes ends meet, keeps her former partner at bay and dreams of being an artist. But what she really needs is complicity and trust.
Yet her wild vitality scares away any potential partners and friends. And the risk of being alone is only around the corner. A comedy on loneliness, an unforgettable portrait of a woman and a spectacular debut film, Ki is almost an emblematic subject for this year’s Venice Days.

RUGGINE by Daniele Gaglianone
with Filippo Timi, Stefano Accorsi, Valerio Mastandrea, Valeria Solarino
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Fandango-Zaroff Film in collaboration with Rai Cinema
International sales: Fandango Portobello
A fairytale castle on the edge of the city. A monster lying in wait. Remembrance and remorse for three adults. Daniele Gaglianone makes his return to Venice Days after Nemmeno il destino. This film will be remembered for the courage and the poetry he uses to recount tragedy and an ever-repressed theme.

PRESUME COUPABLE (Guilty) by Vincent Garenq
with Philippe Torreton, Noémie Lvovsky, Wladimir Yordanoff
France, World Premiere
International sales: Films Distribution
The Outreau trial in 2003 – in which 18 people were accused of child abuse – was one of the most sensational court cases in French history. Here it is told from the point of view of Alain Marécaux, one of the “presumed guilty” who risked even his of life claiming his innocence This is the story of how one man fought for himself against everything and everyone because the pursuit of justice is, above all, the search for the truth.

TOUTES NOS ENVIES (All Our Desires) by Philippe Lioret
with Vincent Lindon, Marie Gillain, Amandine Dewasmes, Yannick Rénier
France, World Premiere
International sales: Other Angle Pictures
During these times of crisis in the western world it is easy to be crushed by the implacable machine of the market: when looking for a loan as a way out of poverty, you may end up in court with no way out at all. A woman and a man, two friends, two Judges who believe in law, but also in humanity, try to oppose the ironclad logic of the powerful. In doing so, their destinies and lives cross paths with those of the victims.

LOVE AND BRUISES by Lou Ye
with Tahar Rahim, Corinne Yam, Jalil Lespert, Lika Minamoto
France, World Premiere
International sales: Wild Bunch
Hua, a Chinese university searcher, arrives in Paris where she falls madly in love with Mathieu, a young worker. Two worlds collide. The film attempts not to recount a heartbreaking love story, rather a story told under the ‘illusion of love’. This is the latest film from the director of Suzhou River and Summer Palace and starring the ‘prophet’ Tahar Rahim.

HISTORIAS… que so existem quando lembradas by Julia Murat (Debut Film)
with Sônia Guedes, Lisa Fávero, Luis Serra, Ricardo Merkin, Antônio dos Santos
Brazil/France, World Premiere
International sales: MPM film
Time stopped many years ago for Madalena and the remote village of Joutuomba where she lives alone with the memory of her dead husband. But when young photographer, Rita, arrives on scene, her life becomes more cheerful. Using the camera to show a lost world, this is a brilliant debut by a daughter of cinematic tradition (her mother, Lucia Murat, was one of the stars of Brazilian cinema and in the fight against dictatorship).

TWILIGHT PORTRAIT (Portret v sumerkakh) by Angelina Nikonova (Debut Film)
with Olga Dihovichnaya, Sergey Borisov, Sergei Goludov, Galina Koren
Russia, International Premiere
International sales: Rezo Films
Sexual violence, the subtle game of revenge, feelings of uneasiness and the
unpredictability of life in a tense and dramatic confrontation between a social worker and a militiaman. Against the backdrop of a Russia angered by and ridden with social conflict, between the new rich, the desperate, the corrupt and the small but powerful, newcomer Angelina Nikonov makes her way into the ranks of new Russian directors with a sure-footed thriller and the sensitivity of a grand feminine narrative.

IO SONO LI by Andrea Segre (Debut Film)
with Zhao Tao, Rade Sherbedgia, Marco Paolini, Roberto Citran, Giuseppe Battiston
Italy/France, World Premiere
Production: Jolefilm and Aeternam Films in collaboration with Rai Cinema
At Chioggia on the edge of a fishing lagoon, so far and so close to the Yellow River, the Venitian dialect is spoken whether you are a Dalmatian “poet” (Bepi) or a Chinese worker (Shun Li). These two characters have feelings, dreams and hopes just like in every corner of the world. Yet their story is unlike any other. The protagonist of Still Life and the ‘poet’ Rade Sherbedgia star in the debut by one of Italian documentary’s finest talents, who also featured last year at the Venice Days with Green Blood.

HIVER DERNIER (LAST WINTER) by John Shank (Debut Film)
with Vincent Rottiers, Anais Demoustier, Florence Loiret Caille, Michel Subor, Aurore Clément, Carlo Brandt
Belgium/France, World Premiere
International sales: Le Pacte
Johann is a hero of our time. Condemned by family tradition to life as a cowboy in the Ardennes, the young man discovers his attachment to his roots as he realises he is about to lose everything. In an era of economic globalisation, the charm of the ancestral land is still hard work, pain, hope. A debut film by an American director now living in the heart of Europe, the film confirms the talent of rising star Vincent Rottiers.

CAFE DE FLORE by Jean Marc Vallée
with Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent, Hélène Florent
Canada/France, World Premiere
International sales: Films Distribution
Beyond time, beyond logic, searching for oneself and the mysterious threads that connect life. Six years after C.R.A.Z.Y., Jean-Marc Vallée returns with a film on music, emotions and entertainment. This time, he takes us on journey through 1960s Paris, home to Jacqueline, a courageous mother of a Down syndrome child and to present-day Canada, where Antoine, a famous DJ is recovering from a painful divorce.
Like in a puzzle, their lives come together.

HABIBI (HABIBI RASAK KHARBAN) by Susan Youssef (Debut Film)
with Maisa Abd Elhadi, Kais Nashif, Yosef Abu Wardeh
Palestine/United Arab Emirates/The Netherlands – World Premiere
Production: S.F. Films
In 7th century Arabia lived the great poet of love Qays. Today the walls of Gaza are covered with the words of his poems, transcribed by a young Palestinian who claims his impossible love for the woman he wants to marry. Prisoners in the open air, imprisoned by the logic of social conventions and policies that ignore them, the two boys seek freedom. A debut film entirely shot in the Occupied Territories and funded by donations and prizes.

SPECIAL EVENTS

DI LÀ DEL VETRO (Beyond the Glass) by Andrea Di Bari (Opening Short Film)
with Isa Danieli, Erri De Luca
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Pastificio Lucio Garofalo s.p.a. - Project: Pesce Rosso Comunicazione e Design
A night-time conversation between a man and his mother and a trip down memory lane through the phantoms of life. Erri De Luca (in his debut as screenwriter and leading actor) opens the door to his house, transporting us into the universe of the past.

TESTIMONY (Edut) by Shlomi Elkabetz
with Ronit Elkabetz, Zohar Liba, Ofer Hayun
Israel/France, International Premiere
International sales: Wild Bunch
An Israeli official recounts… a Palestinian woman replies… testifying to a chorus of voices of two people who cannot break free from the fear of the other. This film – says the director – “is a journey into collective memory, a journey whose roots are in everyday life.”

CUBA NELL’EPOCA DI OBAMA (Cuba in the age of Obama) by Gianni Minà
Italy, World Premiere
Production: G.M.E. Produzioni srl
From Havana to Guantanamo, over 1,000 kilometers into the heart of the island at a time when one expects to see a change in U.S. policy and in the Revolution itself. A journey into the heart of Cuba, its way of being and living, and its fatal contradictions.

CRAZY HORSE by Frederick Wiseman
France/United States, World Premiere
International sales: Celluloid Dreams
Crazy Horse: the myth of the temple of Parisian cabaret, a place of sin and illusion, beauty and the daily grind. The cameras of one of the greatest documentaries of all time visit its stage and dressing rooms, recounting the hopes and defeats of those who live there.

In collaboration with SIC – International Critics’ Week
VOI SIETE QUI by Francesco Matera
with Alberto Crespi, Angelina Chavez
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Eskimo
International sales: On the Docks
Alberto is a film journalist in search of real places in Rome where Italian cinema has built its legend and timeliness. Angelina is a photographer who shoots spaces and figures for the project. A symbolic film for the special project "100 +1: One hundred films and one country, Italy”.

In collaboration with BLS Südtirol – Alto Adige
DER KAISER VON KALIFORNIEN (The Emperor of California)
by Luis Trenker
with Luis Trenker, Viktoria von Ballasko, Werner Kunig
Germany, 1936
An award winner at the 1936 Venice Film Festival, yet long forgotten despite the recent rediscovery of the director, this surprisingly European Western largely shot in the mountains of Tyrol screens at the "Creativity and Territory" conference promoted by the BLS and Venice Days.

SPAZIO APERTO – OPEN SPACE

LA PENNA DI HEMINGWAY by Renzo Carbonera
with Sergio Rubini and Christiane Filangieri
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Associazione Maremetraggio in association with Sissy Entertainment, with the collaboration of Esperimentocinema, with the contribution of the Comune di Lignano and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission
Two kids, a pen and a famous writer. From the depths of memory, the shadow of Ernest Hemingway seems to accompany the search for Claudia who returns to Lignano in the footsteps of her much beloved and mysterious father.

HIT THE ROAD, NONNA by Duccio Chiarini
with Delia Ubaldi, Alberto Chiarini, Duccio Chiarini, Gioietta Di Prete, Klaus Voit
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Mood Film with the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Cultural
Heritage and Activities and the Region of Tuscany
Tell me a story ... So might begin the journey of Duccio Chiarini who is looking for her grandmother, a strong-willed woman who emigrated to France as a child and was a queen of prêt-à-porter in the ‘60s from Prato to Europe, a distant figure for her nephew who is now seeking a truth that involves him.

MUNDIAL OLVIDADO (The Forgotten World Cup) by Lorenzo Garzella and Filippo Macelloni
Production: Verdeoro – Docksur Producciones in collaboration with Rai Cinema, Rai Trade, Nanof, Cinecittà Luce e il contributo del MiBac
Italy/Argentina, World Premiere
International sales: Rai Trade
In the stories of Osvaldo Soriano lies the first clue, in the testimonies of many (Baggio, Lineker, Havelange and Pastorin) confirmations are possible, in the journey to Patagonia lies the search for evidence. And if it was true that there, in deep America, in 1942, a World Championship of Football was really played?

RADICI by Carlo Luglio
With Enzo Gragnaniello
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Figli del Bronx
International sales: Minerva
The Naples of Enzo Gragnaniello, the Naples of post-war and the secret of Sibyl, Neapolitan music and street poets. A portrait of an artist which becomes a fresco by Carlo Luglio, mysterious and full of complicity.

DIETRO IL BUIO by Giorgio Pressburger
with Sarah Maestri, Gabriele Geri
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Sine Sole Cinema in collaboration with C.C.C.B. Barcelona
Adapted from a theatrical monologue by Claudio Magris and scripted by his son, Paolo, this film has come about as a result of a long and close relationship between the writer and director. The text reminds the myth of Orpheus, the lesson of Freud, the shadows of Central Europe and the voice of a loved one. The film is part of the exhibition The Trieste Magris, staged in Barcelona in 2011.

PIÙ COME UN ARTISTA by Elisabetta Pandimiglio
Italy, World Premiere
Production: Settembrini Film
A kitchen staff, a restaurant suspended between the sea and the sky, a young chef who makes an art of cooking without forgetting its origins and those of the food prepared and processed every day. From the director of Mille giorni di Vito (Venice Days 2009) constructed with the faces and voices of Gennaro Esposito and his aides at the Torre del Saracino comes a unique and surprising account.

VALDAGNO, ARIZONA by Pyoor
Italy/USA, World Premiere
Production: Pyoor
As he is about to turn 50, Umberto Marzotto awakens from a dream that describes it thus: “I see colour, I see all the animals with wings, I take a train to the coast and then see houses, skyscrapers, forests and deserts. The Navajo and Apache are far away in the desert.” This serves the point of departure for Pyoor’s collective project, the exploration of a culture and music that mysteriously connects the village of Valdagno (where Umberto was born) and the Arizona of native Americans.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Actresses, Whit Stillman, Damsels In Distress, Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig, Venice


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