Critics’ Week Discoveries
Over the past three decades, the Venice International Film Critics’ Week has represented a territory for discovery and research of talented directors. At Critics’ Week, these filmmakers found space and visibility to then later become integral elements of the auteur’s cinematographic panorama.
Often the work of the members of the various commissions appointed by the Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani – SNCCI (National Union of Italian Film Critics) have allowed for the emergence of authors. Following their debuts, they confirmed the excellence of their oeuvre: many became directors of a remarkably creative deepness, recognized as such by critics and in many cases by the audience as well.
Already in its third edition (1986), the Critics’ Week hosted in its official competition the film of a filmmaker who would later become one of the most important French directors of recent years: Olivier Assayas. The film, called Desordre, tells the story of a group of boys who attempt to create a music band and face many existential misadventures in which each would eventually be involved in different ways.
In the 1987 and 1991 editions two Italian directors took their turn: Carlo Mazzacurati and Antonio Capuano. The first brought Notte Italiana to Critics’ Week, a film set in the Po river’s delta and produced by Moretti’s and Barbagallo’s Sacher Film. The latter showed Vito e gli altri, a story about an abandoned Neapolitan boy who became a petty street criminal.
Also Portuguese director Pedro Costa came to light in Critics’ Week in 1989 with his debut film O Sangue. 1993 was the moment for North American author Bryan Singer with his Public Access, a film that anticipated the enormous international success of The Usual Suspects.
1997 witnessed another significant Italian debut, Tano da morire by Roberta Torre. It was placed alongside Harmony Korine’s controversial Gummo (who later returned to Venice in 2012 in the main competition with Spring Breakers).
It was in 1998 that Peter Mullan landed in Critics’ Week with his feature Orphans, a story of three brothers and a sister from Glasgow who needed to organize their mother’s funeral.
The following year, Mondo Grua won the section, a film by one of the most interesting Argentinean directors of this century, Pablo Trapero.
In the 2000 edition, Abdellatif Kechiche, a Frenchman from Tunisian origins, presented his work La faute à Voltaire, a small masterpiece that anticipated a great career which culminated with the winning of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with La vie d’Adèle.
In 2004 Israelis Ronit and Sholomi Elkabets (brother and sister) conquered Critics’ Week with To Take a Wife, the first film of an important trilogy followed by 7 Days (2008) and Viviane (2014).
And finally, in 2010 the famous Swedish actress Pernilla August — previously in the cast of Fanny & Alexander by Ingmar Bergman and of Star Wars — was selected and won the Critics’ Week competition with her first debut as a director: Beyond.
La faute à Voltaire (2000 – France) – directed by di Abdellatif Hechiche - 15. International Film Critics’ Week
Orphans (1998 – Great Britain) – directed by Peter Mullan - 13. International Film Critics’ Week
Meachorei Hasoragim / Beyond The Walls (1984 – Israel) – directed by Uri Barbash - 1. International Film Critics’ Week