The 79th Venice International Film Festival
August 31-September 10
Twenty documentaries appear as part of the approximately 75 feature offerings of this premier Italian event, while its autonomous sidebars present 14 docs among their 38 feature presentations, including the following.
Among the offerings:
ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED
Director: Laura Poitras
A profile about photographer Nan Goldin and her battle against the Sackler family pharmaceutical dynasty.
Out of Competition
A COMPASSIONATE SPY
Director: Steve James
The real-life spy story of a teenager who risked his life to try and save the world from nuclear holocaust, and the woman who helped guard his secret during more than 50 years of marriage.
FREEDOM ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM
Director: Evgeny Afineevsky
Depicting the horrible realities of the unprovoked war against Ukraine instigated by Vladimir Putin through personal stories of those whose lives were turned upside down by eight years of conflict.
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
The filmmaker retraces Pope Francis’ many journeys, creating a dialogue between time and memory through through archival films of the pontiff’s travels.
THE KIEV TRIAL
Director: Sergei Loznitsa
Unique, previously unseen archive footage reconstructs key moments of the proceedings of the “Kiev Nuremburg” trial, laying bare the “banality of evil.”
Director: Benedetta Argentieri
A profile of Tooba Gondal, an infamous ISIS “matchmaker,” offers a reflection on women in the Islamic State.
MUSIC FOR BLACK PIGEONS
Director: Jørgen Leth, Andreas Koefoed
A cinematic improvisation piece in which the filmmakers pose existential questions to jazz musicians, prompting a poetic, life-affirming exploration of the space of music.
Director: Guy Davidi
Interweaving first-hand military images, home movies, and haunting diaries, the silenced stories of Israeli youth who resisted military service but ultimately capitulated, only to die as soldiers.
DESPERATE SOULS, DARK CITY AND THE LEGEND OF MIDNIGHT COWBOY
Director: Nancy Buirski
The behind-the-scenes odyssey to get MIDNIGHT COWBOY produced, revealing the tumultuous era in which the movie was released and embraced.
FRAGMENTS OF PARADISE
Director: KD Davison
An intimate look at the life and work of the “godfather of avant-garde cinema,” Jonas Mekas, constructed from thousands of hours of his own video and film diaries, shot over 70 years.
Director: Giuseppe Boccassini
A chronological timeline collage based on a wide corpus of footage taken from film noir, creating an extensive historical portrait of the human psyche of the twentieth century and its dark post-war landscape.
Director: Jafar Najafi
After the death of his father, 14-year-old Amir is in charge of his mother and his twelve-year-old twin sisters, whom he attempts to help break free from the shackles of tradition.
Director: Sébastien Lifshitz
The story of a forgotten but essential chapter of the early days of trans-identity: Casa Susanna, a refuge in the Catskills for a clandestine network of cross-dressers.
THE CROWN SHYNESS
Director: Valentina Bertani
When high school ends and adulthood begins, Benjamin and Joshua, identical twins with an intellectual disability, start feeling burdened and without a future.
THE FABULOUS ONES
Director: Roberta Torre
Antonia, whose transgender identity was erased after her death, is honored by her girlfriends, who gather to tell her story and return her denied identity.
AN INVISIBLE ENEMY
Director: Riccardo Campagna, Federico Savonitto
The Rasman family, torn apart by the tragic murder of Riccardo, a mentally disabled boy, by the police, attempts to process this incomprehensible event via alternative theories and interpretations.
KRISTOS, THE LAST CHILD
Director: Giulia Amati
The last remaining child on a small windswept Greek island must leave his home to continue his education, unless his father forces him to stay.
Director: Isabel Achával, Chiara Bondì
A group of women immigrants in Rome, the majority from South America, working as caregivers or house cleaners, and all of them avid soccer fans.
PABLO FROM NEANDERTHAL
Director: Antonello Matarazzo
What would have happened if the Neanderthals had prevailed over Homo Sapiens? How would our species have evolved? How does art relate to evolution, and why in the world does evolution behave like a bricoleur? Last of all, just what does Marcel Duchamp have to do with all of this?