The Carlo Hintermann directed English-language drama ‘The Book of Vision’, executive produced by Terrence Malick, is set to open the 2020 Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week; the independently run byproduct of the Italian festival which continues to push ahead with plans for a physical festival in September, after months of festival cancellations due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The film stars Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), Lotte Verbeek (Outlander) and rising Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason (Borg/McEnroe) and centres on the history of the doctor/patient relationship told from the perspective of female medical student, Eva (Verbeek), who leaves graduate school to take a deep dive into the history of medicine and toggles between the present and the 18th century. Dance plays a Prussian 18th-century doctor as well as Eva’s doctor in the present day, while Gudnason plays Eva’s research tutor.
Hintermann describes the upcoming film as “a game of mirrors between two dimensions”, explaining that the transitory leaps are partly “inspired by the type of storytelling in video games”, he goes on to highlight that the short 90 minute run time “gives it the right pace to create a continuous vortex that hopefully really draws you in”.
After directing several English language documentaries, including one about Terrence Malick and the making of his most critically claimed films, The Book of Vision is Hintermann’s feature film debut, the Italian filmmaker also served as a second-unit director on Malick’s Palme d’Or-winning film, The Tree of Life. The director has praised the support he has received from Malick, stating that the executive producer of the film told him to “go make the movie that’s in your mind”. Malick has been involved in the project since its conception and was vital in assembling the creative team behind the film, which includes Inglourious Basterds cinematographer Jörg Widmer and Lincoln set designer David Crank.
Malick’s presence in Venice to promote The Book of Vision is considered highly unlikely at this time but Hintermann is planning to arrange for the cast to be there to launch the highly anticipated film.
Critics’ Week is organised by the Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI) and will run alongside the 77th Venice International Film Festival, which is scheduled for September 2-12.