The tenth edition of the Venice Days program at the Venice International Film Festival unfolds from August 28 through September 7. Its lineup, consisting of 12 feature films, two shorts, three special events and two special screenings, focuses heavily but not exclusively on debuts. Included in this year's just-announced program are John Krokidas' "Kill Your Darlings," starring Daniel Radcliffe, Cherien Dabis' "May in the Summer," Josh and Benny Safdie's "Lenny Cooke," and Ava DuVernay's short film "The Door." Full lineup below.
ALIENATION by Milko Lazarov - First film
With Christos Stergioglou, Mariana Jikich,
Ovanes Torosyan, Iva Ognyanova
Bulgaria, World Premiere
Production: Bulgarian National Television
A sardonic fairy tale, primordial and contemporary. A middle-aged man crosses the border between Greece and Bulgaria, on the way to collect a child for an illegal adoption. Actually, the child is still in its mother´s womb, and is born shortly thereafter on a stormy night in the mountain hideout the man has painstakingly arranged. Can anything good come out of this ‘meeting between two solitudes´? Says the director: "For me it´s a meditation on a lost generation. For four years I put my first film together with no extra help: the script, the locations, the forest, a 16mm, no score, very little dialogue, sighs and an old song or two." Starring Christos Stergioglou, known for his impressive turn in Dogtooth, winner of Un Certain Regard in 2009.
LA BELLE VIE by Jean Denizot - First film
With Nicolas Bouchaud, Zacharie Chasseriaud, Jules Pélissier,
Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, Maya Sansa, Solène Rigot
France, World Premiere
Production: Mezzanine Films
Written by filmmaker Denizot, on his feature debut, and Frédérique Moreau, in collaboration with Catherine Paillé, the film is based on a true story that shocked France. As the film starts, Yves has been living on the run from the police for ten years, holding his two (willing) sons hostage. The two didn´t think twice about following their father into hiding from the moment he lost custody, going up against their mother, the legal system, and everyone else looking for them. Their father was their world, but now they´re older and missing out on their dreams and interests, in this endless flight. As they prepare to move again, the older one, Pierre, seizes the moment and disappears. Alone with his father on an island in the Loire, Sylvain finds love, his first love, Gilda…
BETHLEHEM di Yuval Adler - First film
With Shadi Mar'i, Tzachi Halevy, Hitham Omari, Tarek Copti
Israel, World Premiere
World sales: WestEnd Films
Sanfur is the younger brother of Ibrahim, a highly wanted Palestinian militant. Razi, determined to capture or assassinate Ibrahim, recruited Sanfur when he was just 15, investing all his energy in the kid and developing a very intimate almost fatherly relationship with him. Sanfur, who always lived in his brother's shadow, thrives on Razi's attention. Now 17, he struggles to navigate between Razi’s demands and his loyalty to his brother, living a double life and lying to both. When the Israeli Secret Service discovers how deeply involved Sanfur is in his brother’s activities, Razi is accused of crossing professional lines and is ordered to sacrifice Sanfur in an upcoming attempt to assassinate Ibrahim. As preparations for the military strike are underway both Razi and Sanfur will each have to make a choice that will irreversibly change their lives. Co-written by Israeli director Yuval Adler, and Ali Waked, an Arab journalist who spent years in the West Bank, this political thriller provides no answers, but raises any number of questions.
GERONTOPHILIA by Bruce LaBruce
With Walter Borden, Pier-Gabriel Lajoie,
Katie Boland, and Marie-Hélène Thibault
Canada, World Premiere
World sales: MK2
18-year-old Lake has a dissatisfied mother, in need of a new man, and an unabashedly unconventional girlfriend. He tries being a lifeguard at a pool and then an aide at an old people´s home. In fact, what he really loves is being around old people, to whom he feels strangely drawn, and who arouse all his tenderness. When he meets Mr. Peabody, one of the residents he cares for, the lives of both change overnight. They might seem the perfect match: they meet, instantly understand each other and fuel each other´s dreams, yet one is 18, with his whole life ahead of him, while the other is 82, living on memories. From the brilliant director Bruce LaBruce, a modern romantic comedy which pays homage to Harold and Maude, The Last Detail, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo´s Nest. What should outrage audiences turns into the most poignant of sexual bonds.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS by John Krokidas - First film
With Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall,
Ben Foster, Jack Huston, Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh
USA, International Premiere
Italian distribution: Notorious Pictures
Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs: iconic names today, and figureheads of a movement that rewrote all the rules for American literature and laid the grounds for a sea change in popular culture. Who were they, though, before their apotheois? Just kids. In 1944, Allen Ginsberg was an uptight, strait-laced freshman at Columbia University. Jack Kerouac was a listless college student, back in school after lasting only a week in the navy. William S. Burroughs had dropped out of medical school and into a drug habit, and was just eking out a living on the fringes of New York´s bohemien scene. Unquestionably, Daniel Radcliffe´s real breakout role.
KOKSUZ (NOBODY´S HOME) by Deniz Akçay Katıksız - First film
with Ahu Türkpençe, Lale Başar, Savaş Alp Başar,
Sekvan Serinkaya, Mihriban Er, Melis Ebeler
Turkey, International Premiere
Production: Zoe Film
After her husband´s death, Nurcan feels her life is over. And after her father´s death, young Feride has to take care of her entire family, including her two younger brothers: İlker, proud and rebellious, and the vulnerable Özge. The only way out, for a young girl with too great a burden on her shoulders, seems to be marriage to Gülağa. "This is the story," says the filmmaker, on her feature directorial debut, "of a group of people who don´t embrace their own real roles in life, but struggle to live up to the roles that others have mapped out for them." An example of a vibrant, cosmopolitan film industry that represents a creative model for Europe and Mediterranean-bordering Asia, Nobody´s Home is also a tribute, on our programme, to all those fighting for freedom to be themselves in Turkey today, and not who others expect them to be.