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New York-based Filipina filmmaker Isabel Sandoval’s “Lingua Franca,” about a transgender immigrant, is among 11 competition entries, all world premieres, that will launch from the Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days section.
The only U.S. entry set to compete in the section modeled on Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, “Lingua Franca” is Sandoval’s third work. It follows “Apparition” (2012), a period drama about cloistered Filipina nuns praised by Variety’s Richard Kuipers as an “outstanding sophomore feature.”
Tony- - Grammy-winning - Filipino - Producer - Jhett
Produced by Tony- and Grammy-winning Filipino producer Jhett Tolentino, and by Darlene Malimas and Carlo Velayo, “Lingua Franca” is set in Brighton Beach, New York, where a transgender Filipina immigrant named Olivia – played by Sandoval, who is herself transgender – scrambles to avoid deportation. She becomes involved with a Russian slaughterhouse worker who is unaware that she’s trans.
Venice Days artistic director Giorgio Gosetti said that this year’s selection is characterized by “a clash of cultures” and also by a search for a “pop [culture] aesthetic that can draw different types of audiences.”
Section - Opener - Film - German-born - French
The section’s opener is thriller “Only Beasts,” the sixth film by German-born French director Dominik Moll, which centers on a woman presumed missing or dead when her car is discovered on a mountain road after a snowstorm. The cast includes Denis Menochet, Damien Bonnard, Laure Calamy and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi.
There are four first works in competition this year, starting with Sudanese director Amjad Abu Alala’s “You Will Die at 20,” set in a village where a young man named Muzamil lives in fear of a sorcerer’s prophecy. Alala’s feature debut, following several documentaries and shorts, marks Sudan’s first film ever to screen in Venice.
Debut - Films - Neapolitan - Perfect - Number
The other three debut films are Neapolitan noir “5 Is the Perfect Number,” directed by the Italian graphic artist known as Igort and toplining Toni Servillo (“The Great Beauty”) as...
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