The 19th edition of Giornate degli Autori, headed by President Andrea Purgatori, working alongside the Board of Directors, General Delegate Giorgio Gosetti, and Artistic Director Gaia Furrer, will run from August 31st to September 10th, during the 79th Venice Film Festival.
Founded in 2004, the brainchild of Francesco Maselli and Emidio Greco, Giornate degli Autori is promoted by ANAC and 100autori and made possible by the unwavering support of the MIC’s General Directorate for Cinema and the joint efforts of partners such as Miu Miu, SIAE, BNL, the European Parliament’s Lux Audience Award, and the streaming platform MUBI. Vibrant independent sidebar organized in concert with the Venice Biennale, Giornate 2022 once again presents 10 films in the running for the GdA Director’s Award, in addition to the closing film (The Listener by Steve Buscemi) and five special events, which are also world premieres. The Official Selection features 19 countries, 6 women directors and 5 first films. Nine titles are on the lineup for Venetian Nights, the alternative showcase of auteur Italian films that is co-organized with Isola Edipo at the Sala Laguna.
Directors and stars on hand for Giornate this year include: Abel Ferrara, Shia LaBeouf, Salvatore Mereu, Wissam Charaf, Steve Buscemi, Tessa Thompson, Stefania Sandrelli, Silvia D’Amico, Sébastien Lifshitz, Daniele Ciprì, Roberta Torre, Luigi Lo Cascio, Filippo Timi, Artavazd Peleshian, Bob Odenkirk, Edgar Reitz; and naturally the Giornate jury president Céline Sciamma, who, together with the 27 young jurors and cinephiles from the 27 EU countries, coordinated by Karlovy Vary Festival Director Karel Och, will be choosing the winner of the GdA Director’s Award, with its cash prize of €20,000.
“It goes without saying,” declares the President of the cultural association Giornate degli Autori, Andrea Purgatori, “that our focus will be primarily on a bold selection of offerings that are particularly receptive to major social issues and political passions past and present, and look to a horizon spanning very different cultures and embracing, especially this year, the winds of change blowing towards Europe from the Mediterranean. Italy itself can boast four films on the lineup, including the hotly anticipated Padre Pio by Abel Ferrara; even more important, this edition is remarkably rich in events, talks, dialogues with filmmakers – almost as numerous as the films to be screened, which is a tribute to Giornate’s original calling, when it was created back in 2004.”
In addition to the grand tradition of the Miu Miu Women’s Tales talks (made possible thanks to a collaboration with the Veneto Region, Cinecittà, and the Ente dello Spettacolo), following the screening in Sala Perla of the ‘auteur shorts’ House Comes with a Bird by Janicza Bravo and Carta a mi madre para mi hijo by Carla Simón), Giornate events this year feature: three masterclasses co-organized with the Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, including a special talk with Edgar Reitz, to fete the restoration of his Heimat 2, thirty years after it premiered at Venice; three events promoted by SIAE (among them, a talk with Bob Odenkirk after the presentation of Cecilia Miniucchi’s Worlds Apart, in which he stars); and a special event devoted to the project 100+1 and the Scuola d’Arte Cinematografica Florestano Vancini in Ferrara, with the screening of Era Roma by Mario Canale.
Then there is the two-day event Milano Industry Days – MID by MFN #1, jointly organized by Milano Film Network and Isola Edipo; two panels arranged by ANAC (Cinema and Schools) and 100autori (Women in the Audiovisual Industry); the traditional pre-opening book event on August 30th, the Bookciak Azione! Award; plus a talk with Cecilia Strada; the 27 Times Cinema campus, a project of the LUX Audience Award, in collaboration with Europa Cinemas and Cineuropa, with the members of the European Parliament in attendance, on September 3rd-4th; the livestreamed talks with the contemporary voices of Italy organized by MUBI; and a program of events for the 10th anniversary of the Sardegna Film Commission.
Two unique occasions make the list this year. The first, courtesy of a collaboration between Isola Edipo and the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, takes place on September 5th and revolves around the great Armenian artist Artavazd Peleshian, a spokesman for Inclusion 2022, in Venice with a selection of his short films and his most recent work, Nature. The second, thanks to SIAE’s invaluable support, brings a star exponent of Italian independent film to Venice: Daniele Ciprì, dazzling cinematographer on hand at Giornate with his storytelling and directing verve put to work in the short film La fornace.
Joint initiatives at Giornate include a new “three-way” collaboration this year: BNL BNP Paribas will be awarding a cash prize of €3,000 to a first or second film from among the narrative features in competition; the distinguishing features of which must be courage and innovation. The grant, dubbed BNL x Cinema del futuro, will be announced by five film students at Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di cinematografia and bestowed on Friday, September 9th.
Last but not least, the Sala Laguna will host an exhibition curated by Italo Moscati, ANAC Turns 70, devoted to the historic association of Italian filmmakers; Giornate bows early in Chioggia, in late August, for the eighth edition of Laguna Sud, co-organized by Zalab and the city of Chioggia; and a sampling of the 2022 Giornate lineup will be offered on the Esterno Notte program in Venice, and then in Rome, for the Venezia a Roma showcase at the Cinema Farnese.
“To describe our program this year,” observes General Delegate Giorgio Gosetti, “we could do worse than quote Shakespeare, with a smile: ‘There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ The truth is that a single overriding passion brought together ideas, people, works, supporters, consultants and programmers, all united by a shared mission; to show the world and its complexity through images and words, commentary and dreams, and without any barriers between invention and chronicle, or any hierarchy between master artists and beginners; and above all, with no fear of displaying courage. My heartfelt thanks, therefore, to all the individuals, collaborators, institutions and enterprises at our side, for their gift of enthusiasm and utopia.”
FLY ME TO THE MOON
by Gaia Furrer
With a golden leap, drawn for us by Italian artist Rä di Martino, designer of our poster this year, based on an image from his series Allunati, the 19th edition of Giornate degli Autori shoots for the moon as well, dreaming of a landing on the satellite that harbors earthlings’ hopes and dreams. And it does so by way of a poetic leap that speaks of the urgency to move forward, explore lands unknown, sound out new chances.
This leap of ours is an active, political act, just as the films on our lineup are: political themselves, and full of yearning.
As we sorted through the film entries for this year’s program, we did indeed discover and seize on works about separation, suffering and all the ills of this world, yet the same works stress cooperation and fellowship. Stories that are about society, personal or fantastical tales, inspired by reality, or an imaginary version of it, which still succeed in providing an original take on contemporary life.
Probing political issues or reworking the past; abiding by the status quo or attempting to catapult oneself into a different future; the solitude of human beings, hence the search for alliances: these are the cornerstones of our program.
The above are themes that transcend content; they underlie the practice of making films and making festivals. All of Giornate’s sections – the Competition, Special Events, and Venetian Nights, to which it is our custom to add Miu Miu Women’s Tales – dialogue with each other, in a common discourse that is ongoing. We offer numerous films that are co-directed, reinforcing the idea of cinema as a practice, and in the plural. Gender parity on the program reflects the evolution of women filmmakers, finally free to express themselves and, above all, gain access to that intricate economic machine that is cinema. Lastly, we’ll have the honor of welcoming to our ranks a jury president of the stature of Céline Sciamma, whose filmmaking has shaken our society to its foundations and laid out new directions for us to take.
One film in which the past serves as still raw material to come to terms with the present is The March on Rome, the new film by Irish filmmaker Mark Cousins and the opening title on the out-of-competition slate.
On the competition front, Blue Jean by British director Georgia Oakley plunges us into Thatcher’s England in the late ‘80s, for a look at homophobia. In The Last Queen, Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri take a leap backwards into the 16th century, to tell the epic tale, part legend, part historical record, of the last queen of Algiers.
The two Italian films in competition also hone in on the past, as seen through today’s eyes. The subject, the setting and the production are all Italian in Abel Ferrara’s new film, his mystical, feverish Padre Pio, with a star turn by Shia LaBeouf. The film revisits a tragic early-twentieth century event in Italian history, the San Giovanni Rotondo Massacre in October 1920. Salvatore Mereu is back at the Venice Film Festival, after two years, to share with us the painful yet uplifting story of his film Bentu, a tale of wind and wheat set in Sardinia in the 1950s, and a metaphor that could hardly be more relevant to the eternal battle between man and nature.
Fast forward to the present day – a present that is oppressive, contradictory, yet not without glimpses of hope – for the two films Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous by Wissam Charaf and The damned don’t cry
by Fyzal Boulifa. In the former, two young lovers, a Syrian refugee and an Eritrean caregiver, pursue the thrill of romance against the backdrop of a country on the verge of collapse, Lebanon. In the latter, a mother and son, united, yet distant from each other at the same time, travel across Morocco, a nation riven by social and economic differences.
A wholly contemporary portrait of China comes to us in the form of Stonewalling, the last installment in a feminist trilogy from Chinese filmmaker Ji Huang (who co-directs this film with her husband, the Japanese cinematographer Ryuji Otsuka). The trilogy kicked off in 2014, when Ji Huang’s debut film won the top prize at Rotterdam.
From the past to the present and up to the future, and that promise of a future embodied in adolescence. The stars are teenagers, in fact, in The Maiden, the debut film, swinging between reality and imagination, by Canada’s Graham Foy, and a lyrical account of the fragile, traumatic transition to adult life. And for her first narrative feature, Wolf and Dog, Portuguese documentarian Cláudia Varejão immersed herself in the queer community on the island of Sao Miguel, in the distant Azores, to paint a moving portrait of solitary youths who seek to defy the moral order in order to reach out to each other and coexist as best they can with a hostile world.
A woman filmmaker straddling film and art, Czech director Cristina Groșan offers up a warning about a world that is mysteriously collapsing, coupled with an exhortation to not give in to the widening gyre of the apocalypse and to react by finding allies in misfortune: it’s the story of her film Ordinary Failures, about three women’s rebellion against the ordinariness of failure.
The Listener by Steve Buscemi is the perfect note to end the ten films in competition on. It almost seems as if American actress Tessa Thompson, playing a night-shift volunteer on a helpline for people in distress, is listening to the characters of our own films at Giornate – soothing them with the promise that all will be well.
There’s a certain affinity between our Special Events and our competitive lineup as well. Starting with the Iranian documentary Alone by Jafar Najafi, in which a little boy doesn’t want his sisters, still children, to wed, and tries to overturn a rule and the world entire. In Siamo qui per provare, Greta De Lazzaris and Jacopo Quadri track another couple, stage directors Daria Deflorian and Antonio Tagliarini, who are in pursuit, in their turn, of a play that isn’t taking shape, yet may well be finding its own way of being in that very evident not-taking-shape, like life itself: a work in progress, with all its unpredictable trajectories.
In Casa Susanna, the third part of a trilogy about transsexuality, French filmmaker Sébastien Lifshitz revisits and reworks the past by using stock footage he turns into live, incandescent material.
An alliance between women, tender, vibrant, and poignant, is the subject of a road movie starring Stefania Sandrelli and Silvia D’Amico, the debut film by Veneto filmmaker Corrado Ceron, Acqua e anice (Olimpia’s Way).
On the verge of its 20th anniversary, in a world moving from crisis to crisis, changing before our eyes, Giornate degli Autori has served up a program that does, of course, echo the dark times we are living through, yet is also an act of resistance, a window that opens, a glimmer of hope in the face of endemic solitude, clashes of identity, and political dictates that imprison and oppress thought the world over.
BENTU – Salvatore Mereu
BĚŽNÁ SELHÁNÍ/ORDINARY FAILURES – Cristina Groșan
BLUE JEAN – Georgia Oakley
DIRTY, DIFFICULT, DANGEROUS – OPENINGFILM – Wissam Charaf
EL AKHIRA. LA DERNIÈRE REINE/THE LAST QUEEN – Adila Bendimerad, Damien Ounouri
LES DAMNÉS NE PLEURENT PAS /THE DAMNED DON’T CRY – Fyzal Boulifa
LOBO E CÃO/WOLF AND DOG – Cláudia Varejão
PADRE PIO – Abel Ferrara
STONEWALLING- Huang Ji, Otsuka Ryuji
THE MAIDEN – Graham Foy
OUT OF COMPETITION – SPECIAL EVENTS
ACQUA E ANICE/OLIMPIA’S WAY- Corrado Ceron
ALONE- Jafar Najafi
SIAMO QUI PER PROVARE/WE’RE HERE TO TRY – Greta De Lazzaris, Jacopo Quadri
CASA SUSANNA – Sebastien Lifshitz
MARCIA SU ROMA/THE MARCH ON ROME – Mark Cousins
THE LISTENER – Closing film – Steve Buscemi
IL PAESE DELLE PERSONE INTEGRE/ LAND OF UPRIGHT PEOPLE – Christian Carmosino Mereu
KRISTOS, THE LAST CHILD – Giulia Amati
LA TIMIDEZZA DELLE CHIOME/THE CROWN SHYNESS – Valentina Bertani
LAS LEONAS- Isabel Achával, Chiara Bondì
LE FAVOLOSE – Roberta Torre
PABLO DI NEANDERTHAL/PABLO FROM NEANDERTHAL – Antonello Matarazzo
SE FATE I BRAVI – Stefano Collizzolli, Daniele Gaglianone
SPACCAOSSA/THE BONE BREAKERS – Vincenzo Pirrotta
UN NEMICO INVISIBILE/ AN INVISIBLE ENEMY -Riccardo Campagna, Federico Savonitto
MIU MIU WOMEN’S TALE
#24 CARTA A MI MADRE PARA MI HIJO – Carla Simón
#23 HOUSE COMES WITH A BIRD – Janicza Bravo