The first piece of news is that, unusually this year, director Marco Muller has placed four Italian movies in competition (the last time this happened was in 2001, under director Barbera).
The second piece of news is that on 28th August the first stone will be “laid” for the new “Palazzo del Cinema”, which is expected to be completed in 2011.
The rest, on the eve of the 65th Venice Film Festival, consists of a well-calibrated bill with safe US names “” a total of five movies in competition: “The Hurt Locker” by Kathrin Bigelow with Ralph Fiennes, “The Wrestler” by Darren Aronofsky with Mickey Rourke, “Rachel Getting Married” by Jonathan Demme with Anne Hathaway, “The Burning Plain” by Guillermo Arriaga, scriptwriter on the award-winning Inarritu movies, “Vegas: Based on a True Story” by Amir Naderi – as well as choices for the film buffs such as the Ethiopian “Teiza” by Haile Gerima, the Turkish “Sut” by Semih Kaplanoglu, the Algerian “Gabbia” by Tariq Teglia , the French “Nuit de schien” by Werner Schroeter, the Japanese “Akires to Kame” by Takeshi Kitano, and the Iranian “Shirin” by Abbas Kiarostami, with Juliette Binoche, out of competition.
Another refinement: for the first time there will be two animated features in competition, the Japanese “Gake no ue no Ponyo” by Hayao Miyazaki and ” The Sky Crawlers” by Oshii Mamoru.
The politically correct competition “” a day is devoted to the scourge of workplace deaths with two documentaries, “La fabbrica dei tedeschi” by Mimmo Calopresti, and “Tyssenkrupp Blues” by Pietro Balla and Monica Repetto (“Orizzonti” events) “” is boldly combined with “Valentino, the last Emperor” about the famous tailor, by Matt Tyrnauer.
Plus a restored version of “Yuppi Du” by Adriano Celentano (it is uncertain whether a copy of the film will be available but the star himself will definitely be there to present a lifetime achievement award to his friend Ermanno Olmi), and a 22 minute autobiographical documentary “Vicino al colosseo “¦c’è Monti” by Mario Monicelli.
Venice 65/A very Italian Festival Destined to be the Venice Film Festival Director for a record eight years (having been confirmed for another four years), and well accepted on all sides, Marco Muller has filed down the program with careful moderation.
Venice appears not to have many surprises up its sleeve this year, with few stars “” although the protagonists of the opening movies will be in attendance: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Tilda Swinton for the Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading”, as well as Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron, the stars of Arriaga’s film “” and no “midnight” movies, a result of the screenwriters’ strike in the US “” but the festival will be setting a new record (49 of the 54 features presented are world premieres).
Finally, we come to the Italians, who make a triumphant entrance at the Lido, hot on the heels of their success at Cannes.
This time the (new) selectors are more relaxed, after the contrasting opinions expressed by the critics and public last year.
Amidst the abundance of domestic productions (20 movies in total), the four titles in competition seem (maybe coincidentally) to be a distillate resulting from a laborious alchemic process.
“Il papà di Giovanna”, a story of madness centering on the fatherdaughter relationship, directed by Pupi Avati, bears the Medusa brand, as does “Il seme della discordia”, a scathing comedy from Pappi Corsicato.
The Rai Cinema stable includes “Un giorno perfetto”, the prologue to a domestic tragedy, that Ferzan Ozpetek has based on the novel of the same name by Melania Mazzucco, and “Birdwatchers”, in which the Italian-Argentine director Marco Bechis focuses on the pitiful condition of the Indios of Mato Grosso.
Two safe names (Avati and Ozpetek), two more “daring” choices (Corsicato and Bechis).
There is a great deal of excitement about these four Italian movies. Or rather 4+ 1, as Muller said at the press conference, alluding to “Puccini e la fanciulla” by Paolo Benvenuti (“a truly extraordinary film”), selected out of competition.