24th MILANO FILM FESTIVAL – The line-up

Koko-di Koko-da. Image credit: Courtesy of Variety

The 24th edition of the Milano Film Festival will be held in Milan, Italy, from the 4th to the 10th of October. For the first time, the Milano Film Festival – which is becoming one of the most prestigious European film festival – will entirely take place in The Space Cinema Odeon, the oldest theatre in Milan and one of the oldest in Italy, and it will benefit from the artistic direction of Gabriele Salvatores (Mediterraneo, 1991), a filmmaker regarded as one of the best European directors of our time.

For the first time, Horror World & Reviews has been granted press accreditation to the Milano Film Festival with a formula that will guarantee the unlimited access to every single screening. This is a fantastic opportunity, especially for 2019, since the amount of promising-sounding films that will screen/premiere at the festival is just astounding. Despite the mere £15.000 budget (plus private investments), the line-up at the 24th Milano Film Festival is jaw-dropping: there are 7 international feature-length movies, 41 short films, 7 “outsiders” (great films that won’t compete for the prize of best movie), 13 animated movies, 4 Italian films that will premiere there, 3 international documentaries. On top of that, a few older classics will be screened in 4K on the silver-screen: Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) and The Beyond (Lucio Fulci, 1981), among the others.

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I will spend every day – from the 4th to the 10th of October – in the theatre watching films from 2pm to midnight, in order to provide you with as many reviews and insights as possible. In other words, I will keep the format I used for TIFF: one post a day and constant updated on the Horror World & Reviews Facebook page. Obviously, most of my attention will be dedicated to horror, fantasy and thriller movies. So, let’s start from that and take a look at the Milano Film Festival line-up.

Continue reading and check the line-up below… 

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Horror movies at Milano Film Festival

A Certain Kind of Silence (Michael Hogenauer, Czech Repubblic/Netherlands). This 96-minute-long horror/drama follows an au-pair girl that sees her life beliefs being in danger as the family she works for has a very dogmatic, scarily strict set of rules. This coming-of-age story is told in a psychological horror/thriller manner, to mimic the style of The Handmaid’s Tale and the unsettling films of Jack Clayton. Officially part of the Competition.

Koko-di Koko-da. Image credit, courtesy of Variety
Koko-di Koko-da. Image credit: Courtesy of Variety

Koko-di Koko-da (Johannes Nyholm, Sweden/Denmark). The story of this fantasy/horror film revolves around a couple that, after losing their younger daughter, go camping in the woods to grieve and save their marriage. However, they soon get trapped in a nightmarish time-loop that combines David Lynch’s vibes with Lars Von Trier’s atmosphere with a more light-hearted Groundhog Day feeling. Officially part of the Competition.

Swallow (Carlo Mirabella-Davis, USA/France). This genre-bending film centres around Hunter, a pregnant woman with an apparently perfect life. Out of nowhere, though, Hunter starts eating bigger and bigger objects, putting her and her baby’s life to risk. Presented as a combination of dark comedy, horror, drama and thriller, Swallow is set to draw parallels between its horror story and social commentary about anxiety and consumerism in current society. Officially part of the Competition.

First Love - Image credit, courtesy of TIFF
First Love. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF

First Love (Takashi Miike, Japan). Set over one night in Tokyo, First Love follows Leo (Masataka Kubota), a young boxer down on his luck as he meets his ‘first love’ Monica (Sakurako Konishi), a call-girl and an addict but still innocent and naïve. Little does Leo know, Monica is unwittingly caught up in a drug-smuggling scheme, and the two are pursued through the night by a corrupt cop, a yakuza member, his nemesis, and a female assassin sent by the Chinese Triads. I reviewed this film already for the Toronto International Film Festival®, but I’ll make sure to watch it for the third time since I’m truly in love with it! Out of the Competition.

We Are Little Zombies - Courtesy of Sundance Institute
We Are Little Zombies. Image credit: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

We Are Little Zombies (Makoto Nagahisa, Japan). For his directorial debut, writer and musician Makoto Nagahisa tells the story of 4 orphans experiencing grief in the most experimental, terrifying and insane ways possible. According to the press material for Milano Film Festival, We Are Little Zombies should be a visual spectacle where “not a single shot and scene is filmed in the same way as the one before”. Out of the Competition.

Fulci For Fake (Simone Scafidi, Italy). Through the eyes of an actor (Nicola Nocella) who worked with legendary horror director Lucio Fulci, this documentary retraces the style of filmmaking, the ideas and the movies of Fulci. For a fan of horror and a cinephile like me, this documentary sounds like pure gold! Out of the Competition.

Other notable films at Milano Film Festival

Guerrilla (Gyorgy Mor Karpati, Hungary). Set in 1848 Hungary, this film follows a young soldier who, in the midst of war with Austria, looks for his missing brother. As he searches for him, the young soldier will witness the horrors of war in a way that’s never been explored before. Officially part of the Competition.

Ham on Rye (Tyler Taormina, USA). Debut film from American filmmaker Tyler Taormina, this coming-of-age picture explores the last night of high school of the main character, leading the viewer through a hopeless and dour parade of impossible dreams and broken desires. Officially part of the Competition.

O Fim do Mundo. Image credit, courtesy of Locarno Film Festival
O Fim do Mundo. Image credit: Courtesy of Locarno Film Festival

O Fim do Mundo (Basil Da Cunha, Switzerland). This movie centres around the story of a dodgy community where violence, drugs and sex are daily threads, but it explores them through the eyes of a former convict that was just released from prison. Officially part of the Competition.

The Sharks (Lucia Garibaldi, Argentina-Uruguay). Ultra-talented Argentine filmmaker Lucia Garibaldi focuses on 15-year-old Rosina, with the struggles she has with her family, to analyse an extremely close-minded and superstitious community in Uruguay. Officially part of the Competition.

Nimic. Image credit, courtesy of Ads of the World
Nimic. Image credit: Courtesy of Ads of the World

Nimic (Yorgos Lanthimos, UK-USA). After getting close to win his first Academy Award for The Favourite (2018), the famous Greek filmmaker delves into a family drama with commentary about time and space with this short movie that already created quite a buzz at TIFF. Out of the Competition.

The Souvenir (Joanna Hogg, UK). This 2-hour-long drama from renowned British filmmaker Joanna Hogg tells a love story between a young student and her older cinema professor. Benefitting from a cast that includes Tilda Swinton, her daughter (Honor Swinton-Byrne, for the first time in a movie) and Richard Ayoade, this film promises to be extremely unsettling, very dour and truly deep. Out of the Competition.

The Beach Bum. Image credit, courtesy of Zerkalo Spettacolo
The Beach Bum. Image credit: Courtesy of Zerkalo Spettacolo

The Beach Bum (Harmony Korine, USA). One of the most indecipherable directors working today, Harmony Korine, comes back to MFF with a stoner comedy starring Matthew Mcconaughey and Snoop Dog. Set in Florida, this hyper-stylised film follows Moondog (Mcconaughey), a self-destructing and totally insane poet, along his journey through drugs, sex, death and writing. If there’s one thing you can expect from a Korine’s movie is that it will be very unexpected. Out of the Competition.

Earth (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria). In this environmentalist documentary about mines, the camera shows how moving stones and rocks to such an extreme degree causes the acceleration of climate change. It’s supposed to be an unprecedented case of visual storytelling, a la Samsara and Baraka. Out of the Competition.

The Rest (Ai Weiwei, Germany). This documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Ai Weiwei explores the troubles of immigrants in Europe in a refreshing way that refuses to present issues in a black and white manner. Out of the Competition.

Even though I listed quite a few interesting movies here, Milano Film Festival will have many more than these. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to watch them all as the schedules often overlap: I will still try to watch and review most of the ones I listed above!

Which ones are you excited the most about? Which ones would you like me to review? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best!

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