National Union of Italian Film Critics S.N.C.C.I.
President: Bruno Torri
President: Davide Croff
63rd Venice International Film Festival
Director: Marco Müller
21st International Week of Film Critics
August 31st – September 9th, 2006
Francesco Di Pace (General Delegate)
Adriano De Grandis
The seven films in competition:
El Amarillo (“El Amarillo”) by Sergio Mazza
Egyetleneim (My One and Onlies) by Gyula Nemes
A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints by Dito Montiel
Hiena (Hyena) by Grzegorz Lewandowski
Le pressentiment (Premonition) by Jean-Pierre Darroussin
Sur la trace d’Igor Rizzi (On the Trail of Igor Rizzi) by Noël Mitrani
La rieducazione (The Re-education)
by Davide Alfonsi, Alessandro Fusto, Denis Malagnino
Tribute to Otto Preminger (1906-1986)
in collaboration with and with a contribution of the National Film Museum
and the Venice Film Festival
Bunny Lake is Missing, UK/USA, 1965
The Venice Biennale
and the National Union of Italian Film Critics
The programme of the 21st International Week of Film Critics
Inaugurated by a homage to the great Otto Preminger, on the 100th anniversary of his birth and on the 20th anniversary of his death, this year the International Week of Film Critics is curiously marked by the theme of “disappearance,” starting from its opening film, Preminger’s Bunny Lake is Missing (1965), on the mysterious kidnapping of a little girl in 1960s London. Yet if we look closely, in all the wonderful films of this 21st edition of the Critics Week, the seven titles in competition and the closing film, we find – perhaps by chance but with a strong symbolic value – this constant of search and disappearance: the quest for a new identity, the traces of one’s own past, of a non-place where disappear, the re-finding and eventually the loss of the illusion of love, the disappearance of a father that had been a point of reference during a difficult childhood.
A symbolic coincidence, we were saying. In our passionate search for the best international debut film, a goal that is once again the Critics Week’’s unwavering mission, we accidentally stumbled upon a theme that ultimately colours our relationship with Italian cinema as well. Faced with an undeniable production crisis in our film industry, which resulted in drastic investment rationing and an evident decrease in the number of films produced (first films in particular), as we wait hopefully for the necessary steps to be taken to unblock this empasse, what could we have chosen? We certainly do not want to demonise young Italian cinema. On the contrary, the critics’ role is to discover, present and promote trends, languages and forms of overcoming cultural homologation. Thus we chose to include, as the only Italian film, a small, self-financed work shot on video by four young people full of ideas, a true sense of cinema and a few hundred euros. Necessarily out of competition (for technical reasons as well), as our closing event, the film nevertheless receives the visibility it deserves and we are able to properly conclude a selection that, in a year of a proliferation and competition among events and festivals, and of more or less natural budget reductions, has become increasingly more of a gamble. And have we won? It is up to you to decide.
(Francesco Di Pace)
EL AMARILLO by Sergio Mazza, Argentina, 2006
A mysterious young man arrives in a remote place where the only living beings gather in the town’s seedy bar, “El Amarillo.” His search for peace and work lead him to love. The newest generation of Argentinean cinema after the dramatic post-crisis urgencies is dedicated to reflection and silence, mixing its love for certain places and nature with musicality and surreal irony.
EGYETLENEIM (My One and Onlies) by Gyula Nemes, Hungary, 2006
A “boy who loves women” in frenetic movement on the streets of Budapest, always seeking out new encounters and more relationships. The illusion of love will perhaps put an end to his losing himself in the superficiality of emotions. A virtuoso school film imbued with the flavors of the Hungarian and Czech nouvelle vague.
A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS by Dito Montiel, USA, 2006
Dino, a young writer who lives in California, return home: the conflictual relationship with his sick father, his finished relationship with Laurie and the streets that saw him grow up, in Astoria (in New York’s Queens) contribute in evoking those crucial years of his life. A highly personal film made by a talented director discovered by actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays the adult Dito, accompanied by an exceptional cast (Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest, Rosario Dawson). Produced by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, the film won the Best Director Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
LE PRESSENTIMENT (The Premonition) by Jean-Pierre Darroussin, France, 2006
Wealthy lawyer Charles Benestau leaves his wife, family and career to go live, alone and anonymously, in a working class neighborhood in Paris. A film about change and the search for a new identity that gives new meaning to one’s life. Robert Guédiguian’s favorite actor makes his directorial debut with an adaptation of a novel by Emmanuel Bove, lending his face and body to the character of Benestau, in a personal and heartfelt film all within the aesthetics of a French cinema made up of words and existential deambulations, suspended between life and the premonition of death.
HIENA (Hyena) by Grzegorz Lewandowski, Poland, 2006
In a village in Silesia, a young boy experiences the passage from fear to maturity. Orphaned by his father, he will face the (real or imagined?) threats besieging the village, manifested by the figure of a mysterious, murderous “hyena” or a man with a horrendously disfigured face running from his past. A debut film that was overseen by Krzysztof Zanussi, this thriller submerges its roots in a wide literary legacy (the Brothers Grimm, Robert Louis Stevenson) yet nevertheless plays with the elements and characters of contemporary horror in an extremely elegant and original way.
SUR LA TRACE D’IGOR RIZZI (On the Trail of Igor Rizzi) by Noël Mitrani, Canada, 2006
A former footballer has lost everything: his job, money and love. Having become a ghost of himself, he lives with the regret of that which he could have become. His life reaches a turning point when he is offered the job of killing a total stranger, Igor Rizzi, for money. An outrageous and restrained “noir” comedy, which owes much to the existential movements of Jim Jarmusch and the surrealness of Aki Kaurismaki. A delightful debut from a French Canadian director.
YI NIAN ZHI CHU (Do Over) by Yu-Chieh Chieng, Taiwan, 2006
A young director grapples with the controversial ending to his film; his older brother, a boss of the local mafia, feels threatened by everyone; a shy production assistant tries to declare his love to the film’s star; one of the boss’ men, an illegal immigrant, want to finally get his passport in order to visit his sick father in Thailand; a small-time drug pusher spends New Year’s Eve in a disco, suspended between drugs and memory black-outs, while one of his friends meets the young director and is compelled to take a trip beyond reality with him… The destiny of many people on New Year’s Eve, caught between that which was and that which will be of their lives. One of the certain discoveries of this SIC: neon flashes, psychedelic flights, Felliniesque car races, enigmatic characters, friendships that end with the cold light of dawn, encounters that fall apart in the prospects of a future as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. Winner of the Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the recent Taipei Film Festival.
Special Event – Closing film
LA RIEDUCAZIONE (The Re-education) by Davide Alfonsi, Alessandro Fusto, Denis Malagnino, Italy, 2006
A young graduate from the province of Rome spends his days volunteering in the local church. One day, his father decides to make him face real life responsibility: he first sends him to work on a construction site, then takes away his house and food. A debut comedy shot in video and black and white, entertaining and only seemingly unaware of its homemade nature, made by three young directors full of ideas, a cinematic sense and a few hundred euros. An emblematic example of how young Italian cinema can express meaning making a virtue of necessity, as it waits in the constant hope of a new redistribution of resources.
Tribute to Otto Preminger (1906-1986) – Opening film
BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING by Otto Preminger, UK/US 1965
In 1960s London, Inspector Newhouse investigates the mysterious kidnapping of a little girl, Bunny Lake, the illegitimate daughter of Ann, a neurotic young American woman just arrived in England to be with her brother Stephen. Does the little Bunny really exist, or is she just a figment of Ann’s sick mind?
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth and the 20th anniversary of the death of Otto Preminger, the International Critics Week, in collaboration and with a contribution of the National Film Museum and of the Venice International Film Festival, presents a copy recently restored by Sony Pictures of one of the director’s underrated masterpieces, a psycho-thriller starring Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley and Keir Dullea.
The seven films are competing for the two following awards:
1.” International Week of Film Critics” Award
The seven films will be judged by a jury of critics that will assign 3,000 euros to the director of the winning film.
2. The selected films, along with all the other debut films screened at the Festival, will moreover compete for the Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a First Film, which consists of 100,000 euros, offered by Filmauro. Kodak will also give 20,000 meters of 35mm film to the film director.
Once again this year, the International Week of Film Critics has received an important contribution from the BNL, a bank always active in supporting Italian cinema and international cultural events.
We would also like to thank the Veneto Region, FNAC – Italia, the electronic publishing group, and Fiat Auto – Lancia for their contribution.
Argentina, 2006, 35mm, col., 90’
Director: Sergio Mazza. Screenplay: Sergio Mazza. Production Design: Sergio Mazza. Cinematography: Luis Cámara. Editing: Nicolás Moro, Mercedes Oliveira, Sergio Mazza. Music: Gabriela Moyano and AAVV. Cast: Gabriela Moyano, Alejandro Barratelli, Myrtha Frattini. Production company: Masa Latina. International sales: Film Sharks International.
El Amarillo is the story of an arrival in a remote town, the last resort for a naïve young man in search of peace and work. He offers his services to the only seedy barn in town, “El Amarillo,” where he is struck by its singer, a brunette with a melancholy and passionate voice, in whom he glimpses the wounds of destiny. The young man stays near the woman’s house at all times and slowly manages to make himself useful, to end up as a kindhearted pimp in what we discover to be a countryside brothel in which women who are no longer young work.
Argentina as a non-place, as a forgotten border zone full of worn-out human beings who have not given up all hope and have unexpected resources, is the mysterious space depicted in El Amarillo. After almost ten years of cinematic ferment in which all types of languages, characters, transformations and moods of the country have been explored, we find here a moment of suspension, reflection and silence, in which at least three elements prevail that should not be overlooked: the immense territory tied to the country’s history, in this case the Entre Rios region between Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, traversed by rivers (as the area’s name implies); the sounds expressed not only by the tango but other typical forms of music as well; and a subtle sense humor, the principle element of this film, which provides an almost non-existent dialogue with all possible allusions to a human condition that finds itself in increasingly more improbable situations the more delicate it is.
Sergio Mazza was born in Argentina in 1976. After having studied film at the University of Buenos Aires, he began working in photography and the plastic arts. Mazza has made numerous shorts and commercials, is part of the percussion group Toro Santo and has also directed for the theatre. He is currently preparing his second feature film, Triple frontera.
Hungary, 2006, 35mm, col., 76’
Director: Gyula Nemes. Screenplay: Tamás Beregi, László Garaczi, Gyula Nemes. Cinematography: Balász Dobóczy. Editing: Ágnes Völler. Sound: Ottó Oláh. Music: DJ Palotai. Cast: Krisztián Kovács, Orsi Tóth, Ágnes Kovalik, Ági Szép, Eszter Tompa, Kata Nemes Takách. Production company: Mediawave 2000 Kft.
The last days of a relationship, with the young protagonist constantly ready to chase girls on the streets of Budapest, in search of new encounters and relationships.
A comedy on obsessive eroticism, albeit in a more surreal than practical sense, emphasized by the protagonist’s uncontrollable escalation, suffocated as he is by his own whirlwind and almost clown-like search, a kind of encyclopedic cataloguing of possible affairs. It is simultaneously a sentimental drama about the end of love, with the inevitable desperation that accompanies it, between key scenes, misunderstandings and blaring lies, and a precise narrative counterpoint within a stylistic, exaggerated and schizophrenic mixture, broken up into an endless chain of shots exploding like fireworks.
It would not be right to limit the interpretation of this film to a display of perpetual virtuosity in and of itself (in this highly fragmented film there is also room for longer sequences, which culminate in a very long and bold tracking shot), because between the bombardment of images and the sudden decelerations, the parallel convergence of the story’s dual personality becomes a true narrative structure, in which echoes of Czech and Hungarian cinema are channeled, in their essence, in further reference to and reflection of a directorial vitality that is highly copious yet not suffocating, and highly imaginative without conceding to accusations of being simply decorative.
Gyula Nemes was born in Vác, Hungary in 1974. He graduated from the prestigious Scuola Famu in Prague, under the direction of V?ra Chytilová and Karel Vachek, where he made his debut feature, Egyetleneim. His first film, the short Papagáj, based on the works of Czech intellectual Bohumil Hrabal, and his documentary A mulandóság gátja were selected for competition at the 2004 Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS
USA, 2006, 35mm, col., 98’
Director: Dito Montiel. Screenplay: Dito Montiel. Cinematography: Eric Gautier. Production Design: Cherish Magennis. Editing: Christopher Tellefsen, Jake Pushinsky. Music: Jonathan Elias. Costumes: Sandra Hernandez. Cast: Robert Downey, Jr., Shia LaBeouf, Chazz Palmintieri, Diane Wiest, Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum. Production companies: Xingu Films Productions, First Look Studios. Distribution company: First Look Studios.
Dito is a young writer living in California, far away from his native Astoria neighborhood of Queens, New York. A phone call from his mother takes him home, where he is greeted by his unresolved conflictual relationship with his sick father, his finished relationship with Laurie and, above all, the ghosts of the summer of 1986, when, barely a teenager, he roved the sweltering streets of the neighborhood with his friends Antonio, Giuseppe and Nerf. It was in those days, marked by missing affections and a rivalry with a gang of African American boys, that the destinies of Dito and his friends culminated in a series of dramatic events that marked their lives forever.
The 1980s, the shadow of the neighborhood, the restlessness of youth freeing itself from adolescence, first loves that that are turned upside down by sex, the challenge of friends’ affections, gang loyalty, the opaque reflections of family, maternal and paternal love, the protective shell of the neighborhood that is broken by the impending violence of the streets… There are all the mechanisms of autobiography that becomes memory following the traces of time betrayed in Dito Montiel’s first film, based on his memories. Yet if the model is a classical one (Italian, African American and Irish cultures and characters in a melting pot), this debut filmmaker’s perspective is capable of transcribing with truly surprising sensitivity the flagrancy of emotions that render vibrant and free of mannerisms the all too familiar traces of evocation. With a narrative structure that looks at past events through the transparency of the present, Montiel succeeds in offsetting the simplicity of the flashback in a relationship with memories that, although dramatized on screen, are always too authentic to be betrayed by the formulas and tender patterns of “graffiti” films. Produced by Sting and his wife Trudie Styler, A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints is the debut of a young New York director with innate talent, discovered by Robert Downey, Jr. at a reading in California of his childhood memoirs. Downey, Jr., who pushed Montiel to make the film that won the Best Director Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, stars (as the adult Montiel) in a formidable cast that includes Chazz Palmintieri, Dianne Wiest and Rosario Dawson.
Dito Montiel was born and raised in Astoria, in Queens, New York. Kicked out of school, he worked odd jobs (from a fruit and nuts vendor to a dogsitter) and began singing in a local, hardcore band. Montiel moved to California, where, at a reading of his published memoirs, he caught the attention of Robert Downey, Jr. It was at the Sundance Institute writing and directing class, in which he was enrolled unbeknownst to him, that Montiel developed his first feature film.
Poland, 2006, 35mm, col. – b/n, 89’
Director: Grzegorz Lewandowski. Screenplay: Grzegorz Lewandowski. Cinematography: Arkadiusz Tomiak. Editing: Andrzej Tomczak. Production Design: Marek Zawierucha, Sebastian Gomu?ka. Sound: Artur Kuczkowski. Music: Grzegorz Kazmierczak. Cast: Borys Szyc, Magdalena Kumorek, Krzysztof Dracz, Jakub Romanowski. Production company: Skorpion Art Film.
In a village of Silesia, along the road to school, Maly, the young protagonist, and his friends discuss the scary stories told to them by their parents about a violent man that caused his son to run away. Maly’s father dies mysteriously one day in a mining accident and, shortly thereafter, a rumor spreads that a hyena has run away and is threatening the townspeople. A horribly disfigured man on the run returns to the caravan in which the man from the stories that frighten the children used to live. Maly helps him, bringing him food, while, in the meantime, another man who the children meet on the way to school every day disappears, along with the elderly postman and one of Maly’s girlfriends. The idea that the mysterious “Hyena” is behind these deaths becomes increasingly more suspect to the sensitive little boy.
Through little Maly, a sensitive boy who soon loses his father, whom he still very much needed, Hyena offers us a story of children’s fears and their way of facing and overcoming them, in a world where everything becomes increasingly more threatening. The story is filtered through sensitivity, for an interpretation that oscillates between Robert Louis Stevenson and the Brothers Grimm and, above all, the obvious references to US horror films of the 1980s, in an interesting reinterpretation of certain emblematic characters, such as Freddy Kreuger, whose intimate life and deepest motivations the film seems to want to investigate.
A horror story very much in keeping with Polish cinema for its allusive and metaphorical qualities, Hyena is also, on a secondary level, a thriller. The film’s central theme seems nevertheless to be the political and industrial transformations of a town also hit by international and local threats, such as the severe pollution problems affecting entire areas of Central and Eastern Europe, without forgetting the uncertainties of neo-capitalism. Through his artistic supervision, Krzysztof Zanussi contributed to the visual and production quality of the film.
Grzegroz Lewandowski was born in Poland in 1959 and is a film director and screenwriter. In 1999, he graduated in Directing from the University of Silesia and collaborated with numerous Polish directors, including Jan Jakub Kolski and Zbigniew Kami?ski. He has furthermore written and created various television programs. Hyena is his first feature film.
LE PRESSENTIMENT (The Premonition)
France, 2006, 35mm, col., 100’
Director: Jean-Pierre Darroussin. Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Valérie Stroh, based on the novel Le presentiment by Emmanuel Bove. Cinematography: Bernard Cavalié. Editing: Nelly Quettier. Production Design: Michel Vandestien. Sound: Jean-Pierre Duret. Music: Albert Marcoeur. Cast: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Valérie Stroh, Amandone Jannin, Anne Canovas, Nathalie Richard, Hippolyte Girardot, Laurence Roy, Alain Libolt. Production companies: Agat Films & Cie, Bac Films, France 2 Cinéma. International sales: Bac Films International.
Charles Benestau breaks away from the upper class to which he belongs. He leaves his wife, family and career as a lawyer to go live, alone and anonymously, in a working class neighborhood in Paris. His desire to become another person allows him to discover new possibilities.
This is a story of a transformation. A physical migration that becomes the repudiation of a social class, the need to expunge one’s own relationship with the world and rebuild it with other perspectives, needs and urgencies. A comedy that also becomes an existential drama through a progressive, almost inevitable path, which proceeds along small but meaningful fits and bursts, to ultimately warp everyday norms: an upper class lawyer strips himself of his identity and belongings, giving his soul and money to other causes, and, searching for a heretofore unknown usefulness, discovers the Christological meaning of live. It is a film very much within the aesthetics of French cinema, with long and verbose dialogue, filmed in suffocating interiors, but also ready to rediscover the charm of life lived to the rhythm of the courtyard, the vivacious stage of the collective nature of the working class, so far from the reservedness of the well-to-do classes.
This is a film about strength of will: it does not portray the almost somnambulist movements of the main character deceptively. Actually, Benestau’s is an obstinate, resolute and rigorous leap of faith that comes when he is faced with the premonition that, sooner or later, life requires courageous and definitive choices, necessary cancellations and painful restarts, not without leaving behind the personal and others’ trauma of such radical transformations, feeling the sense of death that, in the midst our lives, accompanies every little big action of our existence.
A wonderful film by Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Robert Guédiguian’s favorite actor, who here steps behind the camera for the first time, in an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Emmanuel Bove.
Jean-Pierre Darroussin was born in Courbevoie, France, in 1953. He studied at the Dramatic Arts Academy of Paris and, after having acted in Philippe de Broca’s Le psy and taken the stage by storm in the 1980s, he began a collaboration with Robert Guédiguian that was destined to last many years and bring him success. The role that made him famous, however, was that of the hippy in the 1989 film Mes meilleurs copains by Jean-Marie Poiré. He has worked with numerous directors, including Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, Cédric Kahn, Betrand Blier and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. In 1997, he won the Best Supporting Actor César for Un air de famille. He made his directorial debut in 1992 with the short film C’est trop con, produced by Guédiguian, which won the Best European Directing Award at Angers.
SUR LA TRACE D’IGOR RIZZI (On the Trail of Igor Rizzi)
Canada, 2006, 35 mm. Col. 91’
Director: Noël Mitrani. Screenplay: Noël Mitrani. Cinematography: Christophe Debraize-Bois. Music: Tim Buckley, Bobby Vinton, Emmylou Harris, Bill Monroe, Trace Adkins. Cast: Laurent Lucas, Pierre-Luc Brillant, Isabelle Blais, Emmanuel Bilodeau. Production company: StanKaz Films. World sales: Atopia Export Inc.
A former footballer has lost all of his money due to a bad investment. His love life is also a wreck as he did not know how to keep the woman he loved with him. One day, he is offered a considerable sum of money to kill a man he has never met, a certain Igor Rizzi. The events that will happen to him will be the phases of his life change, in an almost surreal process of the definitive removal of the dregs of his past.
There are many cinematic references suggested by this anomalous, “accidentally Canadian” film and its main character, an imperfect cross between the (American) football-playing Forrest Gump and the prototype of the Dostoyevskian idiot. The irony present throughout the entire film – simultaneously light and grotesque – is reminiscent of the Coen brothers, and not only for the presence of snowy mountains, as in Fargo. The extended yet dense moments of silence recall, on the other hand, both the intelligent madness of Jim Jarmusch and the delicate surrealness of Aki Kaurismaki.
The end result of this surprising debut film by a director of dual citizenship (French and Canadian) is, however, different from its starting cine-ingredients, given the balanced harmoniousness with which the film’s flavors blend without getting mixed up. Even the off-camera voice, the cross and delight of much young contemporary cinema, is used in a precise manner that serves the story, which unfolds as the “visual” monologue of a living dead man in a world of aspiring dead people, hidden bodies and ghosts from the past.
Noël Mitrani was born in Toronto in 1969. After studying history and philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris he worked as a designer and illustrator. He took his first steps towards directing through writing and in 1999 made his first short film, After Shave, which was followed by three more shorts in the next two years. In 2005, he founded the production company StanKaz Films and made his first feature film with French actor Laurent Lucas.
Taiwan, 2006, 35mm, col., 113’
Director: Yu-Chieh Cheng. Screenplay: Yu-Chieh Cheng. Cinematography: Jake Pollock. Production Design: Tien-Chue Lee. Editing: Po-wen Chen, Chuen-Hsiou Liu. Music: Giong Lim. Costumes: Yen-Miao Lin. Cast: Zong-Hua Tuo, Ching-Guan Wang, An-An Shu, Chien-wei Huang, Ying-Shuan Kao, Yu-Luen Ko, Rong-Rong Chang. Production companies: Top Film Corporation, Leader Entertainment Corporation Ltd.
A young director grapples with the controversial ending to his film and his older brother, a local mafia boss who feels threatened by everyone; a shy production assistant tries to declare his love to the film’s star; one of the boss’ men, an illegal immigrant, want to finally get his passport in order to visit his sick father in Thailand; a small-time drug pusher spends New Year’s Eve in a disco, suspended between drugs and memory black-outs, while one of his friends meets the young director and is compelled to take a trip beyond reality with him… The destiny of many people on New Year’s Eve, caught between that which was and that which will be of their lives.
A transversal drama on the 24 hours of New Year’s Eve, suspended in the existential paradox of a handful of characters clinging to their desires, fears, missed actions and imagined regrets. The plot holds the impulses of diverging genres within a complex framework: romance, yakuza and beyond. Cinema offers this young director the set on which to stage the destinies of characters who live with the fear of not living, who love thinking they do not love, flee thinking they are staying, and cling to actions not taken, identities not defined and expectations never fully realized nor betrayed. The device of the film within the film is not simply a game of mirrors between reality and desire, but serves the director’s need to portray his characters in the double register of their potential lives, where each new scene is a possibility for rebirth. A debut marked by a nocturnal and chaotic rhythm, in which accelerations and suspensions, sweetness and cruelty live side by side. Neon flashes, psychedelic flights, Felliniesque car races, enigmatic characters, friendships that end with the cold light of dawn, encounters that fall apart in the prospects of a future as mysterious as the dark side of the moon: Do Over is a debut of great stylistic and expressive maturity, graced with a photography of defining contour and depth of the scenes and characters, and not lacking virtuosities both narrative (the turnover between space and time) and visual (a beating shot from a subjective point of view). Winner of the Best Film and Audience Awards at the recent Taipei Film Festival.
Yu-Chieh Cheng was born in 1977 and directed two shorts (Babyface, 2000, and Summer Dream, 2001) while studying economy at the National Taiwan University. Summer Dreamwas screened at the Vancouver, Pusan and Tokyo Film Festivals. Yi Nian Zhi Chu – Do Over is his first feature film.
Special Event – Closing film
LA RIEDUCAZIONE (Re-education)
Italy, 2006, video, b/n, 96’
Director: Davide Alfonsi, Alessandro Fusto, Denis Malagnino. Screenplay: Davide Alfonsi, Denis Malagnino, Daniele Guerrini. Cinematography: Alessandro Fusto. Editing: Alessandro Fusto, Daniele Malagnino. Cast: Marco Donatucci, Denis Malagnino, Pablo Sallusti, Gianluca Tiberi, Daniele Malagnino, Massimo de Sanctis, Massimo Pasquali, Daniele Guerrini, Gennaro Romano, Vincenzo di Nota, Alessandra Alfonsi, Don Romano, Alessandro Fusto, Elisabetta Bugatti. Production company: Amanda Flor.
A young graduate from the province of Rome spends his days volunteering in the local church. One day, his father decides to make him face real life responsibility: he first sends him to work on a construction site, then he takes away his house and food. Life becomes very difficult for the boy.
Here is the medicine against the uncertainty of many debut Italian films that lack funding and ideas: make an openly homemade film that costs only a few hundred euros yet has its own cinematic feel and the courage of non-ideologized truth. If the choice to use black and white seems almost like a way to declare our expressive minimalism, which begins with the obligatory use of non-high definition digital, the film has the capacity to unite cinematic and everyday tempos through careful editing, using music only when it is truly necessary and moving the camera in a way that serves the story, without the need to show off. The “non-actors” in the film are so natural that they are somewhere between the fake truth of certain documentaries and the true fiction of certain fiction: they are there, period, to give us an idea of the essentiality and presence that runs throughout La rieducazione.
Amanda Flor is a collective that was formed in the past two years and is active in the eastern province of Rome. Its ethical, aesthetic and ideological manifesto is based on a few, fundamental points:
- To succeed in putting out filmed stories in which every aspect of production (from the story draft to post-production) is overseen by the collective;
- To totally immerse everyone in the details of the collective’s everyday life, in the search for those characteristics that also render it understandable elsewhere.
- To work exclusively with those means that are truly necessary to the project, perhaps approximating by defect, trusting in the resources from that part of humanity we have at our disposal.
- To allow the socio-anthropological particularities of our territory to emerge in a subtle way, without forcing stories and characters. No stereotypes, no character roles.
- To try and include as few images as possible in our films of the city of Tivoli.
All of this is taking shape as Ciclo dei Finti, a B&W trilogy of which La Rieducazione is the first installment. The second part of the trilogy, AFA,is currently in pre-production.
The collective is made up of four people – Davide Alfonsi, Alessandro Fusto, Denis Malagnino and Daniele Guerrini – each of whom has worked on various projects and in diverse roles before coming together in the collective-minded Amanda Flor.
Tribute to Otto Preminger (1906-1986) – Opening film
Special Event in collaboration with and with a contribution from the National Film Museum and the Venice International Film Festival
Print restored by Sony Pictures
BUNNY LAKE IS MISSING
UK/USA, 1965, 35mm, b/n, 107’
Director: Otto Preminger. Screenplay: John Mortimer, Penelope Mortimer and Marryam Modell, from the eponymous novel by Evelyn Piper (Marryam Modell). Cinematographer: Denys N. Coop. Editing: Peter Thornton. Music: Paul Glass. Production Design: Donald M. Ashton. Costumes: Hope Bryce. Sound: Jonathan Bates, Claude Hitchcock, Red Law and Valerie Lesser. Credits: Saul Bass. Cast: Laurence Olivier, Carol Lynley, Keir Dullea, Martita Hunt, Anna Massey, Clive Revill, Finlay Curie, Noel Coward. Producer(s): Otto Preminger, Martin C. Schute. Distribution: Sony/Columbia.
In 1960s London, Inspector Newhouse (Laurence Olivier) investigates the mysterious kidnapping of a little girl, Bunny Lake, which took place in a nursery in Hampstead. Bunny is the illegitimate daughter of Ann (Carol Lynley), a neurotic young American woman just arrived in England to be with her brother Stephen (Keir Dullea). The director of the nursery does not remember ever having seen the girl, nor ever having enrolled her in the school, so Ann desperately tries to find her with the help of her brother, also because the police begins to suspect that it is all a figment of Anne’s imagination. Is Ann lying or will the mystery of Bunny Lake’s disappearance reveal disturbing psychotic traits in someone very close to her?
On the occasion of the centennial of the birth (Vienna, December 5, 1906) and the twentieth anniversary of the death (New York, April 23, 1986) of Otto Preminger, the International Critics Week, in collaboration with and with a contribution from the National Film Museum – which will hold a complete retrospective of the director’s films in October, 2007, organized by Stefano Boni and Jim Healy – presents as its opening film, on a recently restored print by Sony Pictures, one of Preminger’s rarest and most underrated masterpieces. The film, which was considered a commercial and critical fiasco at the time (1965), is actually one of his most disturbing thrillers, a journey into the depths of the human psyche, characterized by the knowing ambiguity with which the screenplay (by John and Penelope Mortimer, from a mystery written by Marryam Modell under the pseudonym Evelyn Piper) portrays the characters, and the elegant and modern style, which combines the “noir” plots of the classical American period so dear to Preminger with typically Hitchcockian stylistic elements.
Three interesting points to look out for: the cameo of playwright Noel Coward as a mysterious landlord and “follower” of the Marquis De Sade; the presence in the soundtrack and during several moments on television in the film, of the band The Zombies and their hit “She’s Not Here”; the opening credits, by the great Saul Bass.
A remake of Bunny Lake is Missing, set to star Reese Witherspoon, is currently in preparation.