PARIS– Cannes Film Festival’ Critics Week, the parallel section dedicated to first and second films, will open this year with a “Sicilian Ghost Story” from Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, the Italian director duo whose debut “Salvo” had won the Grand Prize in 2013.
Speaking to Variety, Critics’ Week’s topper Charles Tesson described the film as a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ tale set against the contemporary backdrop of the Sicilian mafia world. The film, which is also politically-engaged, weaves teen drama, crime thriller and supernatural elements, Tesson said.
“Sicilian Ghost Story” follows a young girl who refuses to cope with the disappearance of her lover and strives, guided by her visions, to break the prevailing omerta.
Echoing Cannes’ official selection, the lineup of this 56th edition of Critics Week will have a definite political edge.
One of the most politically-charged works to compete at Critics Week is an animated feature, Ali Soozandeh’s “Tehran Taboo” which delivers an uncompromising snapshot of life in Teheran, a city where moral and sexual freedom are banished.
Another rare feast for Critics Week, will be Emmanuel Gras’s documentary feature “Makala,” which follows the life of a family man in Congo.
Critics’ Week, which revealed Julia Ducournau with “Raw” during its previous edition, will also showcase the feature debut of another French helmer, Léa Mysius, whose film “Ava” charts the summer of a teenager, played by promising actress Noée Abita, who learns how to contain her personal demons, take up challenges and finds love.
Through the tale of this young girl, “Ava” says something about a generation facing the fear of a bleak future, said Tesson.
Other films set to compete include Gustavo Rondón Córdova’s “La Familia,” about a father and his estranged son wandering across the city of Caracas after fleeing their dangerous suburb; Marcela Said’s (“The Summer of Flying Fish”) “Los Perros,” about the consequences of Pinochet dictatorship on Chilean society and the prevailing hypocrisy; Atsuko Hiranayagi’s “Oh Lucy!,” a bitter-sweet 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”).
Also competing is Brazilian director Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa’s “Gabriel and the Mountain,” which captures a young idealist’s journey to Africa.
Critics Week will close with Dave McCary’s “Brigsby Bear,” which world premiered at Sundance, and was described by Tesson as a light and tender homage to cinema. The film stars “Star Wars”‘s Mark Hamill as a father who has given his son an impairing love for film.
Along with “Sicilian Ghost Story,” Hubert Charuel’s “Bloody Milk,” a singular genre-bender set in a French farming community, and 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.