Venice Film Fest 2018: Venice Days Series–Dominated by Women

Venice Film Fest’s independently run Venice Days section, modeled on Cannes Fest’s Directors’ Fortnight, has unveiled its lineup of 11 competition entries, all world premieres, marked by strong presence of female directors.

The section will open with Graves Without a Name, a new documentary on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge era by revered Cambodian-born director Rithy Panh, producer of Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father.

The lineup mixes promising entries from both well-known auteurs and newcomers. The out-of competition closer is suicide-themed comedy Emma Peeters from young Belgian director Nicole Palo. 

Venice Days artistic director Giorgio Gosetti noted that six out of 12 titles in the official selection are directed by women and “female characters play a crucial role in all the films.”

But he also said his choice was unconstrained by gender considerations. “We sought the best that we could find and often found this within [the realm] of female sensitivity,” Gosetti said. 

The competition includes “Keep Going,” a new work by Belgian director Joachim Lafosse (“After Love”), in which a divorced mother and son go on a horseback-riding adventure in Kyrgyzstan; “Real Love,” (“C’est ça l’Amour”) about a widowed man raising two daughters, directed by France’s Claire Burger (“Party Girl”); ensemble family drama “Domingo,” by Brazilian directorial duo Clara Linhart and Fellipe Barbosa (“Gabriel and the Mountain”); and Vienna-based Sudabeh Mortezai’s “Joy,” an intimate portrait of a Nigerian refugee named Joy who is forced into prostitution.

Also competing are:

Italian director Valerio Mieli’s nostalgic romancer “Ricordi?”;

Chinese first-timer Yuan Qing’s “Three Adventures of Brooke”;

Canadian newcomer Felix Dufour-Laperriere’s animated  “Ville Neuve”;

debuting French director Elsa Amiel’s “Pearl,” set in the world of female bodybuilding;

Palestinian director Bassam Jarbawi’s debut “Screwdriver”;

Chinese-born director Li Cheng’s Guatemala-set social drama “Jose.”

Dakota Fanning will bow a short film she directed titled “Hello Apartment,” the latest in the Prada-commissioned Miu Miu Women’s Tales, a series of short films directed by women.

The other Women’s Tales in Venice Days will be Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “The Wedding Singer’s Daughter,” set in 1980s Riyadh.

Special events include the world premiere of prolific German Alexander Kluge’s “Happy Lamento” and Israeli director Hagar Ben Asher’s portraits of female death row inmates, Dead Women Walking, which world-premiered at Tribeca.

This year Gosetti has added a documentaries sidebar called Venetian Nights, curated by Italy’s Stefano Savona, whose Gaza Strip doc “Samouni Road” recently made a splash at Cannes.

The 15th edition of Venice Days will run from August 29 to September 8.