Venice Film Fest: Critics Week Selections Announced

Abdellah Taia's "Salvation Army"

The autonomous section will open with Italian artist Alessandro Rak's feature film debut "The Art of Happiness."

ROME – The Venice Film Festival's lineup week got underway Monday with the announcement of the movies in Venice’s Critics' Week section, including six in-competition films and a pair of out-of-competition screenings highlighted by L’arte della fellcita (The Art of Happiness), an animated feature from Italian artist Alessandro Rak.

Rak’s feature film debut will be the section’s opening movie, with Las analfabetas (Illiterate) from Chile’s Moises Sepulveda the closing film.

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In between, the lineup of half a dozen competition films will include L’Armee du salut (Salvation Army) from Abdellah Taia of Morocco, Atertraffen (The Reunion) from Sweden’s Anna Odell, Las niñas Quispe (The Quispe Girls) from Sebastian Sepulveda (no relation to Moises Sepulveda), Rok Bicek’s Razredni sovraznik (Class Enemy), Noaz Deshe’s White Shadow and Zoran, il mio nipote scemo (Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot) from Italy’s Matteo Oleotto.

A seventh competition film will be announced during the festival, according to the National Union of Italian Film Critics, which organizes the section.

The competition winner will be selected by filmgoers rather than a jury. The films in the section will also be eligible for the festival’s Golden Lion of the Future prize, given to the best debut film in an official selection.

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All the films selected are the directors' first features.

Venice's announcement week heats up on Tuesday, with the reveal of the lineup from the Venice Days section, while the festival’s full competition and out-of-competition lineup will be announced on Thursday.

The 70th edition of the festival takes place from August 28 through Sept. 7.

Twitter: @EricJLyman