Venice Film Fest 2008: Critics Week

July 23, 2008–Venice Film Festivals Critics Week will present a lineup of nine first works, eight of which are world premieres. Some of the films depict contemporary life in cities such as Sarajevo, Kabul, Beijing, Olso and Istanbul.

English-language titles are absent from the sidebars 23rd edition. Organizers have instead opted to uncover fresh talent from esoteric parts often overlooked by festivals, said sections head Francesco Di Pace, citing Malaysian helmer Yeo Joon Hans dark musical Sell Out!, as an example.

Bosnias Namik Kabil is bringing Night Watchmen, a look at postwar Sarajevo with black humor; Paris-based Afghani helmer Barmak Akram has Kabuli Kid, a Wild Bunch title; Chinas Zhou Yaowu is coming with Huanggua (Cucumber), about three families struggling in a Darwinian Beijing; Turkish filmmaker Selim Evci will bow Two Lines, about a young Istanbul couple whose tired romance takes a twisted turn.

Rounding out the lineup are Gallic docudrama Lapprenti (The Apprentice), about a young farmer learning the ropes in Frances Eastern provinces, by Samuel Collardey, and Italys Pranzo di ferragosto, a bitter laffer on ageing and arrested development by Gianni Di Gregorio, produced by Gomorrah helmer Matteo Garrone and distributed in Italy by Fandango.

Bookending the Venice critics selection, both out-of-competition, are the dark Norwegian serio comedy Cold Lunch, by Eva Sorhaug, and Italo docudrama Pinuccio Lovero–Sogno di una morte di mezzestate (Pinuccio Lovero Mid-summer Death Dream), about a man who wants to become a gravedigger in Italy's deep South, by Pippo Mezzapesa.

Besides that section's prize, all critics week entries will compete alongside titles in the official selection for the festivals Golden Lion of the Future, worth $100,000.

The Venice Film Festival runs August 27-September 6. The official lineup will be announced July 29.