Venetian Nights

Starting on August 30, Giornate degli Autori invites Venice Film Festival audiences to a series of events, Venetian Nights, for a total of seven evenings when the seventh art will serve as an excuse to talk about the environment, painting, comics, music and memory.
It all unspools in the gardens of the Villa degli Autori, an ideal venue for storytelling through images, sounds and words. The open-air stage under the stars will see a parade of documentaries, features and short films, to the voices of some of their actors and directors. Toni Servillo, for example, lends his voice to the diaries of the renowned Venetian painter Emilio Vedova, the subject of a new film; the author Giorgio Pressburger is recalled through his last lyrical work about memory; Costanza Quatriglio shares her views on directing documentaries, as spokesperson for the course she teaches at the National Film School in Palermo; and then there's the rock and roll atmosphere of a comic book classic like Valentina by Guido Crepax.

And what would Venetian Nights be without music, the common thread that runs through the other arts? The Lido will be treated to Italy's best melodies courtesy of Ambrogio Sparagna and his score for the film Scherza con i fanti, while Riccardo Sinigallia, accompanied by director Dario Albertini, will give audiences a sneak peak at the video clip of his song Dudu from the album Ciao Cuore (Sugar), which topped the "Top 2018". Albertini will also present his short The Last Man Breathing, which he actually made before his feature debut Manuel, selected for the 2017 Venice Film Festival. It's an intimate, dystopian journey through a world in which pollution has devastated nature, and serves as a sort of countermelody to the documentary produced by Fernando Meirelles, The Great Green Wall, which, in an era erecting walls, describes the dream of turning a wall of trees into reality - and not to divide peoples, but to repopulate the heart of Africa and stop desertification. Inna Modja, the French Malian model, activist and singer, performs her own songs in this film at Venetian Nights.
"The idea behind Venetian Nights," Giorgio Gosetti declares, "is close to that of the Italian piazza: a square where people come together for celebrations, tributes, and debate. The directors and performers sit on the same benches as the audience, at a venue designed for dialogue, Our gardens, like our piazzas, are a potpourri of human and artistic experiences, and unconventional ideas that need to be expressed in order for us to examine the present-day with both the attention and the lightheartedness that are called for."

The Venetian Nights program kicks off on Friday, August 30, at 9:30 pm, with a tribute to Guido Crepax and Milan, where he lived, as told by Giancarlo Soldi in the film Cercando Valentina. Prior to the screening there will be a performance by Ambrogio Sparagna, whose music sets the mood for the next day's film, Scherza con i fanti, directed by Gianfranco Pannone and co-written with the musician. That screening is a Giornate special event and will be held in the Sala Perla on Saturday.

On Saturday, August 31, at 9 pm, the screening of the documentary The Great Green Wall by Jared P. Scott will see the presence of the versatile artist Inna Modja, also a women's rights activist. Produced by the Brazilian director and environmentalist Fernando Meirelles, this film tracks the construction of the Great Green Wall promoted by the United Nations, among others, since it's a wall made of trees, from Dakar to Djibouti (that is, from Senegal to the Horn of Africa). The project was launched in 2009 by the African Union, as a way to fight famine and climate change.

On Sunday night, September 1, at 10 pm, Mauro Caputo will be at the Villa to present his new film, La legge degli spazi bianchi, based on a story by Giorgio Pressburger, who died in 2017. The main character is a scientist who comes to grips with his own illness. In a dream-like atmosphere that blurs the line between truth and fiction, Pressburger and Caputo wield the metaphor of white spaces, those voids between one letter and the next, to convey the importance of memory and mourning its loss.

In a joint collaboration with Isola Edipo, on Monday, September 2 at 10 pm, Giornate takes us back to Los Angeles in the 1980s, via a recently restored version of Bless Their Little Hearts, a film directed in 1983 by Billy Woodberry, then a student at UCLA who, with other colleagues at the same university, would go on to become an icon of African-American film and the so-called L.A. Rebellion.

On September 3 at 9:30, an event combining music and film will bring Sinigallia and Albertini to the Lido, to meet audiences and treat them to sneak previews of their latest efforts. Riccardo Sinigallia, one of the most influential singer-songwriters as well as producers on the Italian music scene, has always worked on films, with several scores to his credit; he'll be presenting his new videoclip Dudù, directed by Albertini. "It's a story about our daily lives today," Sinigallia declares, "as represented by a female character who has the same name as the song." For Dario Albertini, it's the second time around on the Lido after the 2017 debut of his short film The Last Man Breathing, inspired by a dream, as he himself has explained: "a man is alone, the last man on planet Earth, and has landed in a dystopian future, where he attempts to cross a natural landscape devitalized by pollution."

On the night of September 4, at 9:30, Tomaso Pessina will be turning the Villa degli Autori into an art gallery, thanks to never-before-seen archival material and interviews with key art figures who knew the Venetian painter who is the subject of the documentary Emilio Vedova. Dalla parte del naufragio. One of Italy's leading actors, Toni Servillo, will be lending his voice for a reading of the artist's diaries, composing a remarkable portrait of a man who depicted the twentieth century in his artworks.

For the seventh and final Venetian night (September 5 at 9:30 pm), the spotlight is turned on a promising school of young documentarians, as Costanza Quatriglio (Artistic Director and Education Coordinator of the Sicilian branch of the CSC - National Film School, which is devoted to documentary filmmaking), accompanied by the Sicilia Film Commission, speaks for the rising generation of filmmakers being trained in Palermo, at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.