Venice 2016 – Out of Competition
Late Middle Ages. Agostino lives in poverty with his wife Nina and son Giovanni outside a small village at the foot of the mountains. An immense mountain rises like a wall, stopping the sun's rays and thus reducing their farmland to stones and twigs. Despite all suggestions to move away for a better life, Agostino insists his family's fate lies there between the peaks. He firmly believes that a man's roots cannot betray him. Agostino struggles in vain to find a solution to better provide for his starving family. But their lives do not improve, and Agostino decides to challenge the ancient mountain's immensity and power.
A medieval tale of the human spirt which boldly resonates today. From the acclaimed director of THE RUNNER, VEGAS: BASED ON A TRUE STORY, and CUT.
Set in medieval Italy amid the poorest of the poor, Monte slowly and inexorably builds to a metaphor about how furious determination can challenge even immense power. In direct line of descent from writer-director Amir Naderi’s great humanistic Iranian films -- The Runner and Water, Wind, Dust – it shows the maverick filmmaker once again at the height of his expressive powers. Its stripped-down narrative and uncompromising repetitions will not be tolerable to everyone, but audiences willing to stick out the punishing but dazzling last half hour will walk away with a lot... the force of Monte lies in the visceral, corporeal sensations of dirty, grimy, puny man vs. immovable rock. The stunning cinematography by D.P. Roberto Cimatti is so drained of color in the final scenes it could be mistaken for black and white. Cimatti, who cut his teeth in the Alps lighting Giorgio Diritti’s The Wind Blows Round, turns the peaks of Alto Adige into a hostile lunar landscape emanating the creepy feeling of a Tarkovsky film. Naderi's editing is expressively, and impressively, precise.
— Deborah Young, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Monte is a very special movie, by an exceptional filmmaker. To those who have never watched, The Runner and Cut, I say you’ve missed out. And to those who have watched 99 Homes, the quintessential American movie of the 21st Century, you know what kind of magic this man is capable of — even if he just touches a script as the co-writer on a project... Ultimately, Monte turns out to be a film about survival, but also what divides the men from the animals, so to speak. It’s a spiritual movie without a God and a film about humanity’s power to literally move mountains, if only we manage to work together. And believe.
— E. Nina Rothe, THE HUFFINGTON POST