November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Venice Film Fest comes to PHL

THE OLDEST and one of the top three most prestigious festivals in the world, the Venice Film Festival, has found a home in the Philippines. The festival will be running from July 26 to 31 at Taguig City’s Venice Grand Canal Mall.

Sergio Boero, president of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, Inc. (ICCPI), said in a press conference on July 12 that the Philippine festival was born from his frustration when he could not find or buy locally a copy of Lav Diaz’s internationally acclaimed film The Woman Who Left (Ang Babaeng Humayo) when it won the prestigious Golden Lion award at the 73rd Venice Film Festival on Sept. 10, 2016. The four-hour film was commercially released in the Philippines on Sept. 28, two weeks after it bagged the award in Italy.

So, he coordinated with the Italian Embassy in the Philippines to bring the world’s oldest festival here.

“People are craving for different types of movies,” said Mr. Boero.

Launched in 1932, and one of the world’s most renowned festivals together with those of Berlin and Cannes, the Venice Festival in Manila will showcase eight Italian films and three Filipino movies. The Filipino films are Francis Xavier Pasion’s Jay, Brillante Mendoza’s Thy Womb, and Mr. Diaz’ Ang Babaeng Humayo, all of which have participated in previous Venice Festivals.

As in customary at the traditional Venice Festival, the 11 films included in the lineup were chosen and curated by the Biennale di Venezia, which organizes the festival. Two of the films to be shown are restored classic films, Profumo di Donna (1974) and Processo alla Citta (1952), while the rest of the Italian films were produced in 2016.

“We are certain that the selection of films that will be screened in Manila represents the most progressive and recent trends of Italian cinema... we hope that our proposed films will be received with enthusiasm, appreciation, and interest by Filipino cinephiles,” Biennale di Venezia organization said in a statement.

Organized by the Biennale di Venezia in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in Manila, and with the support of Manila’s Societa Dante Alighieri and ICCPI, the films include a veriety of genres -- documentary, drama, comedy, crime and mystery.

The morning screenings are free while the afternoon screenings cost P50 per film.

The Italian films that will be shown during the Venice Film Festival in Manila are:

Piuma, directed by Roan Johnson. Nominated for the Golden Lion Best Film, it won special jury prize for best soundtrack. It tells the story of young couple who find their worlds turned upside down because of her unexpected pregnancy. The two navigate the most exciting and challenging nine months of their lives while juggling their passions.

Profumo di Donna (Scent of a Woman), directed by Dino Risi. The official Italian entry to the Oscar Awards in 1976. A blind captain, Fausto, is aided by his young assistant, Caccio, and together, they travel to Naples to meet a friend who was also disfigured in a military accident. While on journey, Fausto asks Caccio to help him find beautiful women and describe them to him. Unsatisfied with his description, he uses his nose to tell if a woman is beautiful or not.

Processo Alla Citta (Trial to the City), directed by Luigi Zampa. An entry to the Berlin International Film Festival, 1953. When a husband and wife are found dead, evidence points to the Camorra, a Neapolitan crime organization. In charge of the case is a young and courageous judge, who places the entire city under house arrest to get to the bottom of it.

L’Estate Addosso (Worn Summer), directed by Gabriele Muccino. It won the Venice Film Festival soundtrack award. A coming of age tale about four young people who despite their differences, discover that they have much in common. To achieve their own personal dreams, they will have to uncover and get to know themselves first.

Liberami (Free Me), directed by Federica Di Giacomo. The Venice Film Festival winner of the Horizon Award. A documentary, Liberami explores exorcisms done by Vatican-approved priests. It asks if the victims have mental disorders or are they really victims of demonic possession?

Tommaso, directed by Kim Rossi Stuart with Cristiana Capotondi and Jasmine Trinca. A perfectionist actor, Tommasso always ends his romantic relationships thinking that his partner is not the “one.” Until he meets Sonia.

Orecchie (Ears), directed by Alessandro Aronadio. A Venice Film Festival winner of the Arca Cinema Giovani Award. A man wakes up with a buzzing sound in his ears and finds a note that says: “Your friend, Luigi, has died. P.S. I took the car.” The problem is he cannot remember who Luigi is.

Questi Giorni (These Days), directed by Giuseppe Piccioni. Nominated for Golden Lion Best Film. This is a story of four college-aged girls from the countryside who are united by their habits, passions, and differences. -- Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman