Special Report: 59th Venice International Film Festival, Report 3

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Venice International Film Festival, Report 3

The recent Venice International Film Festival is known for its artistic choices for film both in and outside competition and this year was no exception despite organizational changes. Spanish Director Manuel GutiÈrrez Aragan adds a realistic dimension to the tale of "El Caballero Don Quixote" , which received a special screening. This is not the textbook Don Quixote fighting windmills. It is a voyager who like Alice goes down the rabbit hole into a fairy story land. In this dark cave he meets his beloved Dulcinea whom he is pledged to defend but has never seen.
The son of Carlo Ponti and Sophia Loren, Edoardo Ponti is an impressive newcomer to the film scene. Three strong women portraits are the subjects of Ponti's first feature, "Between Strangers". A personal assistant to Michelangelo Antonioni honored this year with a retrospective -- credited with having a spiral narrative structure, sometimes referred to as 'ecriture feminin', or feminine writing, Ponti has followed in his footsteps Though the star power of the film including Loren doesn't bring about anything close to a megaproduction, the director is content in weaving a story of simplicity and authenticity.
In the Upstream section Raymond Depardon's film from France "A Man Without an Occident" stands alone --the kind of cinema experience that is so rich that it borders on the avant-garde. Diego Brosset's memoirs as a colonial officer in the Sahara desert come to life through this stunning film, a story about his guide, Sid the Hunchback. In the opening scene young Sid's life is spared by the efforts of nomads prying upon a camel's mouth, soaking up moisture in its stomach as it wails incessantly. The boy grows up with the nomads. And twenty year's later he dreams of being a 'Nsara', a hunter who speaks the language of the animals.
In addition to the array of feature films at Venice is a section called New Territories. This year there were over 80 films of various lengths that comprise cutting edge film work. Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai who made the riveting "In the Mood for Love" in 2000 was given an homage and several of his shorter films were screened. Wong Kar Wai's signature is omnipresent with exquisite cinematography by Christopher Doyle. Also in the New Territories section was a documentary film on the Italian police clash with peaceful demonstrators in Genoa two years ago entitled Red Zone, "Whatever Means Necessary".
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Venice Italy
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59th Venice International Film Festival, Report 3