La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Film Festival) is finally coming to Manila. To the uninitiated, the Venice Film Festival (or V.F.F. as we common Indios call it) is among the most prestigious film festivals, lining among the ranks of Berlinale, Locarno, and Cannes. Just last year, Lav Diaz’s new film, Ang Babaeng Humayo, premiered in the festival to high acclaim. Now, the festival itself launches a leg here in Manila, from July 26th thru 31st at Venice Piazza Grand Canal Mall.
The six-day affair is thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Embassy of Italy, Societa’ Dante Alghieri Comitato di Manila, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (F.D.C.P.). Eleven films are to be screened—eight Italian and three Filipino movies—including Diaz’s Ang Babaeng Humayo and other acclaimed films. The first two screenings (out of four every day) are offered free to the public, while the two remaining screenings will set you back 50 pesos.
Ang Babaeng Humayo (The Woman Who Left, 2016)
Directed by: Lav Diaz
Screening schedule: July 26, 6 p.m.
Synopsis: After 30 years of wrongful imprisonment, a woman plans to take revenge on her former lover.
Questi Giorni (These Days, 2016)
Directed by: Giussepe Piccioni
Screening schedule: July 27, 7:30 p.m.
Synopsis: When Caterina accepts a job offer in a Hotel in Belgrade, her three friends decide to follow her despite their problems, starting an on the road adventure which will mark a turning point in their lives.
Orecchie (Ears, 2016)
Directed by: Alessandro Aronadio
Screening schedule: July 28, 7:30 p.m.
Synopsis: This tragicomedy begins when a man wakes up with a low ringing sound in his ears and discovers a cryptic note on his fridge “Your friend Luigi has died. P.S. I took the car.”
Directed by: Kim Rossi Stuart
Screening schedule: July 26, 2 p.m.; July 28, 1 p.m.; July 29, 5:30 p.m.
Synopsis: Tommaso has just left his first wife but he will meet a new person who will change everything in his life.
Directed by: Francis Xavier Pasion
Screening schedule: July 27, 5:15 p.m.; July 28, 5:15 p.m.; July 29, 1 p.m.
Synopsis: Jay is the name of the two protagonists in the film, one is living, the other dead. The living Jay is producing a documentary of the dead Jay, a gay teacher who was brutally killed. As Jay recreates and examines the life of his subject, his own life is affected when he unravels his subject’s hidden life and secret love.
Liberami (Free Me, 2016)
Directed by: Federica Di Giacomo
Screening schedule: July 26, 4 p.m.; July 31, 3 p.m.
Synopsis: Documentary about the practice of exorcism and people’s issues of everyday life: the contrasts between ancient traditions and modern habits.
L’Estate Addosso (Worn Summer, 2016)
Directed by: Gabriele Muccino
Screening schedule: July 30, 7:45 p.m.
Synopsis: A gay couple living in San Francisco takes in two strangers traveling from Italy to start a new life in America, discovering each other and forming the most unlikely of relationships along the way.
Processo Alla Città (Trial to the City, 1952)
Directed by: Luigi Zampa
Screening schedule: July 27, 3 p.m.; July 29, 3 p.m.; July 31, 1 p.m.
Synopsis: A judge unravels the story behind a double murder.
Profumo di Donna (Scent of a Woman, 1974)
Directed by: Dino Risi
Screening schedule: July 27, 1 p.m.; July 28, 3 p.m.; July 31, 5:15 p.m.
Synopsis: When young army cadet Ciccio (Alessandro Momo) is assigned to spend seven days in the service of a wounded army captain, he little suspects what’s in store. Blinded by an explosion, Fausto Consolo (Vittorio Gassman) is nevertheless a pompous, prideful and lecherous aristocrat who needs Ciccio to keep him out of trouble. As they travel across Italy by train, Fausto variously ruffles feathers and chases women until they reach Naples, where he plans to honor a suicide pact.
Directed by: Roan Johnson
Screening schedule: July 26, 12 p.m.; July 29, 8 p.m.; July 30, 3 p.m.; July 31, 7:15 p.m.
Synopsis: Piuma is the story of Ferro and Cate, your average couple. All of a sudden, an unexpected pregnancy turns their world upside down. Hesitant and tentative, the two main characters navigate the most exciting and complicated nine months of their lives, trying not to lose their purity and unique poetic air.
Thy Womb (2012)
Directed by: Brillante Mendoza
Screening schedule: July 30, 5:30 p.m.
Synopsis: An infertile midwife and her husband find a surrogate mother so that they can have a child.
The Venice Film Festival in Manila runs from July 26 to 31 at Venice Cineplex, Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig City.