Cannes Film Fest 2017: Critics Weeks Competition

The Cannes Film Fest’s Critics’ Week, a small, selective section dedicated to first and second films, will open with Sicilian Ghost Story from Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, the Italian directors whose debut, Salvo, won top prize in 2013.

Critics’ Week’s head Charles Tesson described the film as a “Romeo and Juliet” tale set against the contemporary backdrop of the Sicilian mafia world. The film blends together teen drama, crime thriller and supernatural elements, Tesson said.

Sicilian Ghost Story follows a young woman who refuses to cope with the disappearance of her lover and, guided by her visions, strives to break the prevailing omerta code of silence.

The lineup of this 56th edition of Critics’ Week shows a definite political tendency with several films dealing with social and political issues.

A politically charged works to compete at Critics’ Week is an animated feature, Ali Soozandeh’s “Tehran Taboo,” which shows an uncompromising portrait of life in Teheran, a city where basic civil liberties are banned, corruption is rampant and women are oppressed.

Emmanuel Gras’ documentary feature Makala follows the life of a family man in Congo.

Critics’ Week will also showcase the debut of another French helmer, Léa Mysius, whose film Ava charts the summer of a teenager, played by the actress Noée Abita, who learns how to contain personal demons and meets challenges.

Ava says something about a generation facing the fear of a bleak future, said Tesson.

Gustavo Rondón Córdova’s La Familia concerns a father and his estranged son wandering across Caracas after fleeing their dangerous suburb.

Marcela Said’s (“The Summer of Flying Fish”) Los Perros is about the consequences of the Pinochet dictatorship on Chilean society and the prevailing hypocrisy.

Atsuko Hiranayagi’s Oh Lucy! is a bittersweet comedy about three Japanese women, an American friend and a Japanese one embarking on a trip between Japan and the U.S. The movie toplines Josh Hartnett and Yakujo Kôji (“The Eel by Imamura”).

Brazilian director Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa’s Gabriel and the Mountain depicts a young idealist’s journey to Africa.

Critics’ Week will close with Dave McCary’s comedy Brigsby Bear, which world premiered at Sundance, light and tender homage to cinema. The film toplines “Star Wars’” Mark Hamill as a father who has given his son a crippling love for film which can only be cured by making movies. Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics at Sundance, Brigsby Bear stars Kyle Mooney, a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” who co-wrote the movie with Kevin Costello.

Hubert Charuel’s Bloody Milk is a genre-bender set in a French farming community.

Thierry de Peretti’s A Violent Life, an ultra-realistic film about the political radicalization of a man in Corsica, will get special screenings at Critics’ Week.

Both Bloody Milk, a Hitchcockian thriller set in the farming world, and A Violent Life start off with a documentary-like realism and then change towards genre.