The Special Guest for the next edition of Visions du Réel (21-30 April 2023) will be Italian director, screenwriter and editor Alice Rohrwacher. A leading figure for a new generation of Italian auteurs, she is a prominent voice in contemporary cinema. Visions du Réel is delighted to welcome Alice Rohrwacher and her daring vision as part of a masterclass (Saturday 22 April) and to present a retrospective look at her fiction, hybrid and documentary work. This invitation has been offered in collaboration with HEAD – Genève.
Alice Rohrwacher’s work has been crowned many times at the Cannes Film Festival and throughout the world, and has already left its mark on contemporary filmmaking. As part of a new generation of Italian auteurs steeped in the heritage of both neo-realism and documentary, her work follows in the footsteps of Francesco Munzi and Pietro Marcello (VdR Workshop 2021) – with whom she made the documentary Futura – exemplifying a genuine revival of Italian auteur cinema for many years now.
Alice Rohrwacher builds worlds that border on social realism, taking occasional inspiration from local newspaper reports, while adding her own mischievous twist to the staples of a defined genre. When not breaking ground in the world of non-fiction film, her work forms part of an ingenious game to incorporate her subjects and characters – in direct contact with reality – into a dreamlike, almost mythological aesthetic, enhanced by her frequent use of film. Her stories are tethered to an ascetic rurality, revealing the confrontational relationship between city centres and suburbs, as well as the fears of those dealing with a profoundly unequal world. She creates a rich and varied narrative space that is political in essence, inhabited both by non-professional actors and stars of contemporary cinema (Monica Bellucci, Sergi López).
A major figure of Italian auteur cinema, Alice Rohrwacher was born in Fiesol, and went on to study literature and philosophy in Turin and Lisbon. She began writing for the theatre and working as a musician with a number of directors before moving into film – initially as an editor of documentaries.
After Un Piccolo Spettacolo a documentary co-directed alongside Pier Paolo Giarolo in 2003 – she shot her first fiction film, Corpo Celeste, in 2011. The film was presented at Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight) and selected at the Sundance, New York, London, Rio and Tokyo festivals. Her second feature, Le Meraviglie, and her third film, Lazzaro Felice, won the Grand Prix and Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014 and 2018, respectively. All three of these films were co-produced in Switzerland. She went on to direct several short films and projects, including Omelia Contadina, a work of ‘cinematic action’ in collaboration with French photographer JR, that pays tribute to farmers and their struggle against agro-industry multinationals. The film was presented in Venice and at the Lumière Festival in Lyon in 2020. She then worked with Rai and HBO to direct two episodes of the series L’amica Geniale, based on the novels of Elena Ferrante. She returned to Cannes in 2021 with her documentary Futura, co-directed with Pietro Marcello and Francesco Munzi, that takes a look at Italian youth and chronicles their hopes and fears during the pandemic.
In 2023, she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Short Film category for The Pupil – co-produced by Alfonso Cuarón for Disney+ – after her appearance at the Cannes Film Festival in 2022. Her next feature film La Chimera – starring Josh O’Connor, Isabella Rossellini, Carol Duarte and Vincenzo Nemolato – is currently in post-production.
- un piccolo spettacolo, 2005, 65’ (documentary)
- Checosamanca, 2006, 98min (documentary, collective film)
- Corpo Celeste, 2006, 99min, (Fiktion)
- Le meraviglie (Les Merveilles), 204, 110min (Fiktion)
- 9×10 novanta, episode « Una canzone », 2014, 11min, (documentary)
- De Djess, 2015, 15min (fiction)
- Violettina, 2016, 4min (fiction, short film part of La traviata, an opera)
- Lazzaro felice, 2018, 128min (fiction)
- L’amica geniale, série télévisée, réalisation de deux épisodes en 2020 d’une durée d’environ 60 min chacun (fiction)
- Omelia contadina, 2020, 9min (hybrid)
- Ad una mela, 2020, 2min (hybrid)
- Quattro strade, 2020, 8min (documentary)
- Futura, 2021, 75min (documentary)
- Le pupille, 2022, 37 min (fiction)