Solid MENA presence in the line-up of this year's Venice Film Festival

Included in Orizzonti Competition and Orizzonti Extra are Mohamed Diab's latest 'Amira', and 'Costa Brava, Lebanon' by Mounia Akl, starring Nadine Labaki, as well as Ana Lily Amirpour's latest film which premieres in Competition.
Solid MENA presence in the line-up of this year's Venice Film Festival

Venice Film Festival artistic director Alberto Barbera and Biennale president Roberto Cicutto held a press conference today announcing the lineup of the upcoming event, which will take place on the Lido from September 1-11.

Among the offerings by filmmakers from the MENA region and the diaspora are much anticipated titles from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, with two Iranian women filmmakers grabbing some spotlight: Ana Lily Amirpour, whose Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon will premiere in Competition and Shirin Neshat who co-directed Land of Dreams with her partner, artist and filmmaker Shoja Azari, starring Matt Dillon and Isabella Rossellini. The latter will screen in the new section Orizzonti Extra and will be eligible for the Audience Award – Armani Beauty, a brand new prize inaugurated at the 78th edition of the Venice Film Festival and offered with the support of their main sponsor, Armani Beauty.

Barbera assured festival goers and the media that he was confident “the situation will be much less complicated than Cannes.” Italy has recently announced that it would require people to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test in order to attend screenings in movie theaters, which will likely be implemented for the festival as well. But Cicutto added that “there is a political will to have the festival take place in the best possible way.” Digital ticketing and social distancing in the theaters will also likely continue, as already implemented for last year's edition of the festival -- the only major one in Europe to take place during the Summer of 2020.

Mohamed Diab's Amira will see its world premiere in Venice, in the Orizzonti competition. The film stars Ali Suliman, Saba Mubarak, Saleh Bakri, newcomer Tara Abboud and Kais Nashif and the film's international rights have already been acquired by Paris-based Pyramide International. It is set in Palestine and was filmed in Jordan.

Costa Brava, Lebanon by Mounia Akl will premiere in the Orizzonti Extra section, and stars the wondrous Nadine Labaki along with Saleh Bakri. The film tells the story of the free-spirited Badri family who have escaped the toxic pollution of Beirut by seeking refuge in the utopic mountain home they have built. But unexpectedly, a garbage landfill is built right outside their fence, bringing the trash and corruption of a whole country to their doorstep. The film is being sold by mk2 Films and was a co-production which included Lebanon based Abbout Productions as well as support by the Doha Film Institute.

Episodes 1 through 5 of Scenes from a Marriage by Israel's Hagai Levi will be screened Out of Competition, as will Republic of Silence by Syrian filmmaker Diana El Jeiroudi, a personal account of her exile in Germany as well "how she revolted and claimed herself – and how cinema has saved her life."

Sitting on the Orizzonti jury this year is Iranian director, screenwriter and film critic Shahram Mokri who was in Venice in 2020 with his third film Careless Crime.

See the full line-up below.

Opening Night

Parallel Mothers by Pedro Almodóvar (in competition)

Competition/Venezia 78

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon by Ana Lily Amirpour
Un Autre Monde by Stephanie Brize
The Power of the Dog by Jane Campion
America Latina by Damiano D’Innocenzo and Fabio D’Innocenzo
L’Evenement by Audrey Diwan
Official Competition by Gaston Duprat and Mariana Cohn
Il Buco by Michelangelo Frammartino
Sundown by Michel Franco
Illusions Perdues by Xavier Giannoli
The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Spencer by Pablo Larrain
Freaks Out by Gabrielle Mainetti
Qui Rido Io by Mario Martone
On the Job: The Missing 8 by Erik Matti
Leave No Traces by Jan P. Matuszynski
Captain Volkonogov Escaped by Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov
The Card Counter by Paul Schrader
The Hand of God by Paolo Sorrentino
Reflection by Valentyn Vasyanovych
La Caja by Lorenzo Vigas

Out of Competition (Fiction)

Il Bambino Nascosto by Roberto Ando (closing film of the festival)
Les Choses Humaines by Yvan Attal
Ariaferma by Leonardo di Costanzo
Halloween Kills by David Gordon Green
La Scuola Cattolica by Stefano Mordini
Old Henry by Potsy Ponciroli

The Last Duel by Ridley Scott
Dune by Denis Villeneuve
Last Night in Soho by Edgar Wright
Scenes From a Marriage (Episodes 1-5) by Hagai Levi

Out of Competition (Non Fiction)

Life of Crime 1984-2020 by Jon Alpert
Tranchees by Loup Bureau
Viaggio Nel Crepuscolo byAugusto Contento
Republic of Silence by Diana el Jeiroudi
Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine
DeAndre#DeAndre Storia Di Un Impiegato by Roberta Lena
Django and Django by Luca Rea
Ezio Bosso. Le Cose Che Restano by Giorgio Verdelli

Out of Competition (Special Screenings)

Le 7 Giornate di Bergamo by Simona Ventura
Il Cinema Al Tempo del Covid by Andrea Segre

Out of Competition (Short Films)

Plastic Semiotic by Radu Jude
The Night by Tsai Ming-Liang
Sad Film by Vasili (Pseudonym)


Les Promesses by Thomas Kruithof
Atlantide by Yuri Ancarani
Miracle by Bogdan George Apetri
Pilgrims by Laurynas Bareisa
Il Paradiso Del Pavone by Laura Bispuri
The Falls by Chung Mong-Hong
El Hoyo en la Cerca byJoaquin Del Paso
Amira by Mohamed Diab
A Plein Temps by Eric Gravel
107 Mothers by Peter Kerekes
Vera Dreams of the Sea by Kaltrina Krasniqi
White Building by Kavich Neang
Anatomy of Time by Jakrawal Nilthamrong
El Otro Tom by Rodrigo Pla and Laura Santullo
El Gran Movimiento by Kiro Russo
Once Upon a Time in Calcutta by Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Rhino by Oleg Sentsov
True Things by Harry Wootliff
Inu-Oh by Yuasa Masaaki

Horizons/Orizzonti Extra

Land of Dreams by Sherin Neshat and Shoja Azari
Costa Brava, Lebanon by Mounia Akl
Mama, I’m Home by Vladimir Bitokov
Ma Nuit by Antoinette Boulat
La Ragazza Ha Volato by Wilma Labate
7 Prisoners by Alexandre Moratto
The Blind Man Who Did Not Want to See Titanic by Teemu Nikki
La Macchina Delle Immagini di Alfredo C. by Roland Sejko

For all information about the Venice Film Festival, check out La Biennale di Venezia website.

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