Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018

Venice Festival returns to roots, gets selective amid crisis


(ANSA) - Venice, August 29 - The 69th edition of the
exclusive Venice Film Festival will see quality prevail over
quantity as event organizers increasingly return to the event's
exclusive past with their increased selection process.
With a view towards its Spartan roots, organizers have
narrowed down the focus and have permitted a lineup of only 18
films to compete for its prestigious Golden Lion award. Even so,
this has not served to ward off A-listers the likes of Kate
Hudson and Naomi Watts, amongst the first international
celebrities to arrive on the shores of Venice, in Italy.
Stars including Ben Affleck, Joaquin Phoenix, and Robert
Redford will embellish and entertain the world's oldest film
festival that runs from August 29 to September 8.
Amongst the films being showcased, Brian De Palma's Passion
starring Noomi Rapace and Rachel McAdams, as well as cult U.S.
director Terence Malick's To the Wonder with Ben Affleck and
Rachel Weisz.
The plan has been to focus on its artistic heritage through
the involvement of directors, courting culturally heavy-weight
directors and not flashy Hollywood blockbuster stars.
In fact, not by chance the festival will open on August 29
with the world premiere of Mira Nair's 'The Reluctant
Fundamentalist,' loosely based on a best-seller about a young
Pakistani whose Wall Street career flounders in the wake of the
September 11 attacks. It ends on September 8, with the
prize-giving ceremonies.
The festival that is held in the historic lagoon town of
Venice is from this year under the helm of Italian film critic
Alberto Barbera, who returned to the top spot some 10 years
following his previous stint. Barbera had directed the
prestigious cinematographic event from 1998 to 2002, and is now
seeking to further raise its profile when the whole sector is
suffering from the ongoing global economic crisis.
Venice will showcase a total of about 60 films this year,
half of that which offered in previous years, and a far cry from
Toronto's 300 or more movies. Even so, it has come a long way
from the early days.
When the festival was first launched in 1932, only nine
countries took part, compared to more than forty this year. Back
then, the festival premiered 25 feature films of which a third
from the U.S., compared to 55 and 12 today.
The event was the 1932 brainchild of Benito Mussolini,
then-leader of Italy. It was turned into a permanent event two
years later following the raging success of the first two
The present day move is partly dictated by the times.
Venice, in fact, has for years now been competing with the
overlapping Toronto Film Festival.
It also has another rival within Italian territory, the
young fledgling yet successful Rome Film Festival that has been
traditionally held in November over the past few years and
recently hired Barbera's outgoing predecessor Marco Mueller.
U.S. director Michael Mann will head the jury at this
year's annual cinema showcase, held on the so-called Lido island
across the water from the historic and achingly beautiful Canal
He will be called to judge film like Palma's Passion,
Susanne Bier's Italian comedy Love Is All You Need with actor
Pierce Brosnan, Robert Redford's The Company You Keep, and Also
in the running is Spike Lee's Michael Jackson documentary Bad
The main competition is not the only category to attract
the crowds, as those on the watchout for up and coming
filmmakers and innovative directors.
For sure, what is arising from all the categories is the
clear desire to rebuild Venice as an artistic venue, away from
flash mega productions and celebrity endorsements.

© Riproduzione riservata

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