The Venice Film Festival may be the oldest and most traditional of all film festivals, particularly in its setting, but this year it has decided to embrace digital viewing for the very first time and stream a portion of its Horizons (Orizzonti) program online. As its name suggests, the section is devoted to new filmmakers and new ideas and viewers around the world will be able to stream one of the films or one of two programs of short films (for a fee).
The 10 feature-length films online
Thursday 30 August
GLI EQUILIBRISTI by Ivan De Matteo (Italy, France, 100')
A rented home, a steady job, a car bought on an instalment plan, a rebellious but lovable daughter and a sweet pensive boy, a wife who is loved but betrayed... Giulio is found out and his wife leaves him, and his fairytale suddenly falls apart. With Valerio Mastandrea and Barbara Bobulova. Ivan De Matteo is a director, actor and documentary filmmaker whose work ranges from theatre to film to television. In 2009 he directed La bella gente which won the Grand Prize at the Festival d'Annecy. Gli equilibristi is his third feature-length fiction film.
Saturday 1 September
EL SHEITA ELLI FAT (WINTER OF DISCONTENT) by Ibrahim El Batout (Egypt, 94')
The story intertwines the lives of three people against the backdrop of the winter revolution in Egypt: a man tortured by the police who no longer has the courage to leave his house; a television anchorwoman who is forced to give distorted news reports; a policeman who inflicts torture. Ibrahim El-Batout has won many international awards as a documentary filmmaker. His third film Hawi (2010, The Juggler) was presented in Rotterdam and at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Best Arab Film Award. Winter of Discontent is his fourth feature-length fiction film.
Sunday 2 September
BOXING DAY by Bernard Rose (Great Britain, USA, 91')
The dramatic experience of Basil and Niky (Danny Huston and Matthew Jacobs) on their journey to Denver. The two must face perilous weather conditions, the cold and their struggle to survive. English director Bernard Rose (the author of one of the most interesting horror films of the Nineties, Candyman, 1992), brings Tolstoy's short story, Master and Man, to the screen, in the wake of the other works by the Russian author he has adapted for the cinema, including Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata and The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
LOW TIDE by Roberto Minervini (USA, Italy, Belgium, 92')
A 12-year old boy and a single mother live parallel lives. The boy spends his days alone while the mother works and goes out with her girlfriends. The boy's solitude is a source of both freedom and pain. His solitary experience makes him aware of the contrast between society's rules and the rules of nature. His delicate interior world is soon shattered by an unexpected event. Born in Italy, Roberto Minervini is a screenwriter, director and professor now living in America.
Monday 3 September
LEONES by Jazmin Lopez (Argentina, France, Netherlands, 80')
Felix, Sofia, Arturo, Niki and Isabel are wandering through a forest. They seem to be on vacation, but something is wrong. They get lost in a labyrinth, “Leones”, which has rules of its own that the young people must discover if they want to find their way out. Jazmin Lopez has directed short films that have been presented in various international film festivals including Rotterdam and the Huesca Film Fest, where she won first prize. Leones won the support of the Hubert Bals Fund for its production and was selected by CineMart and by the Torino FilmLab.
Tuesday 4 September
MENATEK HA-MAIM (THE CUTOFF MAN) by Idan Hubel (Israel, 76')
Gabi has a thankless job, he cuts off the water of people who don't pay their bills. Like a thief he lurks in the courtyards where the water meters are located. When people see him, they curse and humiliate him, they blame him for their own situation. Gabi has a family to support. But how long can he resist? Idan Hubel wrote and directed two student short films that were presented in festivals around the world and won many awards. The Cutoff Man is his first feature-length film.
Wednesday 5 September
L'INTERVALLO (pictured) by Leonardo Di Costanzo (Italy, Switzerland, Germany, 86')
Veronica has been insolent towards the Camorra boss in her neighbourhood and has been locked up to await her punishment. Salvatore has been assigned to watch her. She is 16 years old, secure to the point of impudence, and everyone likes her. Salvatore is awkward, tall and heavy, and shy. A relationship develops between the two of them, growing from hostility to complicity and friendship. Leonardo Di Costanzo attended classes at the Ateliers Varan in France. This experience led him to open a centre for documentary filmmakers in Cambodia. His films include Prove di Stato (1999), which addresses the theme of the absence of the State in the city of Ercolano, and A scuola (2003), a view of life in a junior high school in Naples, presented at the Venice Film Festival and winner of the Filmmaker/doc8 edition.
Thursday 6 September
BELLAS MARIPOSAS by Salvatore Mereu (Italy, 100')
Inspired by the homonymous book by Sergio Atzeni, Bellas mariposas is the story of two young adolescent girls in a popular district of Cagliari. The story of two adolescents from the periphery is woven around the dreams and problems of these two “butterflies”, the “mariposas” of the title, as they deal with the pitfalls of life on the fringes. Salvatore Mereu's first feature-length film was Ballo a tre passi (2003), distinguished by an unusual four-part structure in which each part corresponded to one season of the year. Ballo a tre passi won the Settimana della Critica award at the 60th Venice International Film Festival. Mereu also won the David di Donatello as Best New Director for Ballo a tre passi.
YEMA by Djamila Sahraoui (Algeria, France, 90')
Yema tells the story of Ouardia, portrayed by the director herself, a woman who, following the death of her son Tarik, a soldier who was probably killed by his brother Ali, tries to return to normal life in an abandoned home in the Algerian countryside. Born in Algeria in 1950, Djamila Sahraoui studied film direction and editing at the IDHEC. After making two documentary films that won awards in international festivals, her debut film Barakat! (2009) earned the prize for best debut film at the Panafrican film festival in Ouagadougou. Yema is her second feature-length fiction film.
Friday 7 September
JA TOZHE HOCHU (ME TOO) by Alexey Balabanov (Russia, 83')
Four passengers, Bandit, his friend Matvei and Matvei's old musician father with his young and beautiful fiancée, are travelling in a black jeep along a deserted road in search of “the bell tower of happiness”, which according to legend was hidden somewhere between Saint Petersburg and the city of Uglich. Aleksei Balabanov is one of the most important contemporary Russian directors. He won worldwide fame with his film Brother in 1997, presented in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival. His next film, Brother 2 (2000), was also a box-office hit. In 2002 he participated in the Venice International Film Festival with the film Reka (The River). In 2007 he returned to the Lido in the Giornate degli Autori – Venice Days section with Cargo 200.
Thursday 6 September
MIRACLE BOY by Jake Mahaffy (Usa, 17')
CHO-DE (INVITATION) by Min-young YOO (South Korea, 16')
RESISTENTE by Renate Costa, Salla Sorri (Denmark, Finland, Paraguay, 20')
I'M THE ONE by Paola Morabito (Australia, 14')
O AFINADOR by Fernando Camargo, Matheus Parizi (Brazil, 15')
LIVING STILL LIFE by Bertrand Mandico (France, Belgium, Germany, 15')
CARGO by Carlo Sironi (Italy, 15')
Friday 7 September
FRANK-ÉTIENNE VERS LA BÉATITUDE by Constance Meyer (France, 12')
TITLOI TELOUS (OUT OF FRAME) by Yorgos Zois (Greece, 11')
LUISA NO ESTÁ EN CASA by Celia Rico Clavellino (Spain, 19')
BANSULLI (THE FLUTE) by Min Bham (Nepal, 15')
LAS MANOS LIMPIAS by Carlos Armella (Mexico, 11')
LA SALA by Alessio Giannone (Italy, 16')
Full details at www.labiennale.org