Venice Critics’ Week, a sidebar festival that runs alongside the Venice International Film Festival, unveiled its 2022 lineup on Monday.
Three Nights a Week, a French romantic comedy set in the world of drag queens from director Florent Gouëlou, will open this year’s Critics’ Week, with Queens, a feminist road movie set in Morocco from director Yasmine Benkiran, about a three women trying to reach the Atlantic coast ahead of the police, will close out the event. Both will screen out of competition.
The 2022 competition line-up includes seven feature debuts, among them the ecological drama Beating Sun from French director Philippe Petit, about a landscape architect determined to create a wild garden in the heart of downtown Marseille; the German psychological thriller Skin Deep from director Alex Schaad, whose plot revolves around the concept of gender identity; the Italian comedy Margins from Niccolò Falsetti, about a Tuscan punk band; and Theo Montoya’s Columbian drama Anhell69.
Also in this year’s Critics’ Week competition are Isabella Carbonell’s Swedish drama Dogborn, which follows a pair of homeless twins struggling to survive on the streets, Eismayer from Austrian director David Wagner, about a fierce and feared army lieutenant who is secretly a closeted gay man; and the Serbian female empowerment drama Have You Seen This Woman? from Dušan Zorić and Matija Gluščević.
Venice Critics’ Week will also hold a special screening, in cooperation with the 2022 Venice Film Festival, of Blood, the feature debut of cult Portuguese director Pedro Costa, which first premiered in Venice’s Critics’ Week back in 1989.
Critics’ Week artistic director Beatrice Fiorentino said, in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, that after “two difficult years marked by illness and fear, two years of estrangement, isolation and forced distance; two years of darkness,” the festival’s selection offered hope. “The nine films in this year’s program, lead in the opposite direction: towards (a possible) rebirth; towards light and color; friendship, love, open spaces, and community.”
All seven Venice Critics’ Week competition titles are in the running, alongside debut films in the festival’s official selection, for this year’s Lion of the Future prize, given to the best first feature, which comes with a $100,000 cash bursary.
The official line up for the 2022 Venice International Film Festival will be announced on July 26.
The 79th Venice Film Festival runs Aug. 31-Sept. 10.