Sunday, August 17, 2008

Italian movies to dominate Venice Mostra

With 18 feature films being show, the Venice Film Festival will have a clear Italian tone to it this year. The 65th festival will be unlike any other, as it is going through a deep re-think of where it is in the festival circuit. The Rome festival is pulling some of the glamour later in the year, for example, which means producers and distributors often have to choose between the two. Venice also competes with Toronto and Cannes.

The Italian focus is also due to a lower number of American films, as the effects of less production due to the writers' strike are felt. Italian films in competition include Italian-Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek's "Un Giorno Perfetto," featuring the events of one day on a group of people, and Pupi Avati with "Il Papa' di Giovanna," the story of a father dealing with his daughter's horrible crime.

Italian cinema has a low profile for the moment. This is not helped by political changes amongst the bodies that promote it - plus the fact that the news sites are no longer translated into English or French.

Interesting sites such as Cinecitta News are now monolingual. One of the most bizarre sites is Cinecitta's page about the festival, which details the architecture of the Spazio Italia it is hosting there but doesn't mention any films. This reflects the in-fighting going on inside the institutions at the expense of effective promotion.

If Venice sounds too exotic and far away for scriptwriters or directors, think again. I attended it a few years ago, flying low-cost and staying in a 'pensione' (very basic accommodation). For lunch, I chose to eat in working mens' canteens that were both tasty and cheap. At night, I ate in the self-service canteens at the festival. The only problem is finding tickets to the actual screenings. But there are plenty of opportunities to network anyway. Plus, Venice is truly one of the most magnificent towns on the planet.

1 comment:

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