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The Must-See Films at Venice Film Festival ’23


By Roger Costa


A delightful film within a film directed by Cédric Kahn, this comedy of manners feels fresh and utterly timely as it examines the effects of a shooting going extremely bad from the first day, seen through the impatient and compulsively creative director, played by Denis Podalydes. A satire to the industry and the sacrifices most artists must endure to accomplish their goals, it is funny, thoughtful and infested with eccentric, memorable characters.


This poignant and stylized documentary follows the attempts of an Indigenous community in Panama in restoring their legacy and culture through film. In the early 70’s, French Oscar-winning director Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau lived among the Kuna community and documented their rituals, traditions and daily activities. As he runs out of money, the project is archived and that community never saw the result. Their opportunity comes with the entusiasm and determination of some youngsters who dig up the past for some concrete answers, after finding the footage in Paris. Directed by Andres Peyrot, it is a richly told, visually-absorbing story about finding your origins and claiming the credits for your addition to the world.


Sensitive and provocative at equal measures, Nehir Tuna’s coming of age drama addresses political and social conflicts, religious fundamentalism and sexual identity with incredible control of the material. It focuses on 14-year-old Ahmet and his relationship to his father, who sends him to a strictly devoted Muslim boarding-school in order to keep him away from the social transformations and liberal movements around him. Personal and immersive, Tuna is certainly a filmmaker to watch.


A fantastic, nail-biting thriller influenced by the best in neo-realism, Delphine Girard’s feature debut announces herself as a major director who knows how to sustain her story and maintain the audience intrigued. In a claustrophobic atmosphere, a woman calls emergency after being attacked by a man she knows. The man is arrested and two years later the investigation tries to put together the pieces of this gripping, mind-bending puzzle about sexual abuse, and the parallels between male and female facing moral issues and privileges. This is a haunting experience, superbly performed and stupendously shot and edited. A masterpiece of suspense.


In this dystopian satire, a young couple decides to spend their pregnancy at an “egg community”, a sort of spiritual resort created to avoid any contact with the anxiety of the modern world. Claudio Casale’s fictional debut is an inventive, allarming and efficient canvas of modern insecurity, individualism and manipulation. It also brings another fabulous performance by Italian sweetheart Yile Vianello (“Corpo Celeste”), which is worth of Awards attention.


Mysterious and seductive, Celine Rouzet’s gothic drama is filled with freshness and vigor. It centers on the powerful bond of a family as they start anew arriving at a new town. They try as much to keep some habits away from the public eye, such as the elder’s son’s blood-drinking health condition, but soon things start to heat up in the small community, putting their secret at serious risk. Lively, convincing and unusually touching, Rouzet scored one of the most beautiful vampire-movies ever made.

(The 80th Venice Film Festival runs thru September 9. For schedule and details go to

Social Press . 06/09/2023

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