Freedom on Fire / Dreamin’ Wild / The Last Days


  • Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
  • Dreamin’ Wild
  • The Last Days of Humanity


Ukraina/UK/USA, 2022. Director Evgeny Afineevsky. Running time 1h 58’.

Ukrainian cinema has a strong line-up at Venezia 79. The festival firmly blames the Russian invasion of the Eastern European country that started on February 24. Among the movies presented at Lido, the one that addresses more closely this tragic event is the documentary out of competition Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom. Russian director and producer Evgeny Afineevsky (of Israeli-American origin) already dealt with the Ukrainian question in his previous Oscar-nominated work Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015), a documentary distributed by Netflix about the clashes that in 2014 led to the dismission and flee of elected Ukrainian President Janukovyč. Winter on Fire was controversial because of its apologetic point of view towards the protest movement increasingly supported by violent far-right groups. It’s not by chance that Oliver Stone produced a sort of anti-documentary, Ukraine on Fire (2016), directed by Igor’ Lopatënok, reporting the nature of the Euromaidan’s revolution focusing on the influences of nationalist and neonazist movements (also responsible for atrocious acts such as the slaughter of Odesa in 2014) in the Ukrainian politic and society. This was the beginning of a debate that, over the years, flamed public opinion globally involving cinematic art since the Russian started in February. Directors such as Sean Penn and Abel Ferrara (this year in Venice with his movie about Padre Pio) went to Ukraina to support the country.

Emanuele Bucci


Usa, 2022, Director Bill Pohlad, With Casey Affleck, Zooey Deschanel, Walton Goggins, Noah Jupe, Chris Messina, Jack Dylan Grazer, Beau Bridges, Running time 110′

It was 1979 when Donnie and Joe Emerson published their first album Dreamin’ Wild, a jewel that remained unknown for almost a decade when it was accidentally discovered by the passionate musician, actor, director and producer Jack Fleischer. Re-mastered in 2012, this “rock, soul, R&B, country and funk mix” gave a late success to the brothers and the consequences of this fame his the core of Bill Pohlad’s movie.

Pohlad told the misery of the immortal Brian Wilson and how his illness affected the Beach Boys and his private life in the most appreciated Love & Mercy with John Cusack and Paul Dano playing the unlucky genius. Now the director and producer (Into the WildTree of Life and 12 years a slave) is back behind the camera for another story about music, conflict and delusion.

The players in this story are Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight) and Casey Affleck that works again with Zooey Deschanel after The Assassination of Jesse James, which was in Venice in 2007. Affleck is Donnie, a grown-up man that must face his past, his daring celebrity and his family. Starting with his father, who encouraged his sons to fullfil their music passion and built the studio where they recorded their famous album.

Mattia Pasquini


Italy, 2022 Director Enrico Ghezzi and Alessandro Gagliardo Starring Aura Ghezzi Running time 196′

It was a long gestation that of The Last Days of Humanity, a work that lasted years finally brought to completion. A necessary film, as it used to say. Because it is essential to have a document that encapsulates the soul, intellectual, cinematographic, and critical, of Enrico Ghezzi. If today there is a film culture in Italy, it is also due, for at least the last 30 years and more, to him, who in the nights of the broadcast Fuori Orario shows much of the audiovisual knowledge introduced by him in his own peculiar way. The 196 minutes of The Last Days of Humanity are an appendix, a synthesis, and a new field for reflection, which through images and sounds tell something huge. Humanity, to be precise, cannot be separated from forms of representation that can be infinite in style and meaning. It is no coincidence that in the film the use of sound, edited by Giuseppe D’amato, Marco Saitta and Alessandro Gagliardo, the latter co-director of the movie with Enrico Ghezzi, is of enormous importance. Aura Ghezzi, Enrico’s daughter, accompanies us on this fantastic journey, with the counterpoint of the music by Iosonouncane.

Alessandro De Simone

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