Special Report By Moira Sullivan
The 58th Venice International Film Festival was kicked off on August 29 by festival director Alberto Barbera. With more and more entries in digital video the festival’s ‘center of gravity is shifting’ announced Barbera who hosts the Venetian pageant that will run until September 9. Nanni Moretti, whose film 'The Room of My Son' won the Palme d’or at Cannes for best picture in May heads the jury which will select the coveted Golden Lion awards with international directors, critics and actresses—such as the enchanting Argentinean Cecilia Roth, beloved actress from Pedro Almodovar’s 'All About My Mother'. On hand this week are a host of international stars including Nicole Kidman who arrived by a vaporetti--a Venetian taxi to promote the Tom Cruise produced film 'The Others' by Spanish director Alejandro Amenàbar. Also in the audience to help promote the Bruce Wagner totally digital chronicle of three women in Hollywood, 'Women in Film' was Portia de Rossi in a role befitting her as the bitch from hell in Ally McBeal, also starring the feisty and brilliant Beverly D’Angelo and remarkable Marianne Jean Baptiste (Is that you Hortense?) acclaimed actress of Mike Leigh’s 'Secrets and Lies'.
The opening night films for the Venice pageant provided a taste of today and tomorrow: Giuseppe Bertolucci’s Probably Love (L’amore Probabilmente Italy/Switzerland 2000) from the 'Cinema of the Present' section and Macedonian Milcho Manchevski’s Dust ( Polvere, Great Britain/Germany/, Italy/Macedonia), representing the 'Cinema of the Future'. 'Dust' probes the question of how we create stories in a powerful fractured narrative with plenty of ammunition. It is more precisely an ‘Eastern’ Western set in early 20th century Macedonia and modern day New York City, starring Rosemary Murphy, David Wenhem, Joseph Fiennes, and Adrian Lester. 'Probably Love' dips into the realms of falsehood, truth and illusion—all three of which a young drama student (Sonia Bergamasco) is compelled to investigate on the behalf of three Italian actresses ( Mariangelo Melato, Stefania Sandrelli and Alida Valli). Meeting with the press, Milcho Manchevski argued that the violence of 'Dust 'is relative and that his love of Westerns since age 12 has prevailed. Fiennes whose absence was noted along with the enchanting Rosemary Murphy was excused for being ‘exhausted’ from work this year leaving David Wenhem to hold down the fort . An interview with Malchovski will be presented during the coming weeks of Movie Magazine International.
The Venice Festival hosts many rarities and world class films as well as meetings with directors and retrospectives. Examples from the 'Golden Lion' competition include Woody Allen who presents 'The Curse of the Jade Scorpion'(USA) about the New York he loves, once again, set in the 1940’s—and Larry Clark’s 'Bully' (USA), a tale of teenage slackers, Ken Loach 'The Navigators' (Great Britain) a work epic on South Yorkshire rail track workers, Joao Botelho’s 'Who Are You?' (Quem es Tu?,Portugal), a chronicle of seventeenth century Portuguese decadence, Mira Nair’s 'Monsoon Wedding' about a last minute marriage in New Delhi and Amos Gitai's 'Eden' (Italy, France,Israel ) about American Zionists who emigrate to Palestine based on the novel by Arthur Miller.
A collective film of over 290 hours filmed at the recent G8 conference in Italy recently shown at the Switzerland Locarno Film Festival bombed but still lives. On September 3 a press conference will be held for Another World is Possible ( Italy 2000), a collective film by 33 filmmakers co-ordinated by Citto Maselli on the demonstrations at Genoa during the G8 summit. (A 60’ TV version will be made using material from the 290 hours of film plus a 120’ film version to be distributed world-wide). The making of the film has been so controversial that the cutural minister of Italy did not open the Venice Festival later this week—and it is rumored the Berlusconi government ( who owns all three Italian RAI TV stations) is boycotting the festival because of the collective project.
The festival guest of honor is French art house director Eric Rohmer who will be honored in a tribute to his many years as an excellent story teller. His latest film 'The Lady and the Duke' will be presented adapted from the memoirs of the young Scottish aristocrat Grace Elliott, set during the period of the French revolution. And the French Situationist Guy Debord who made six brilliant and mysterious films will be honored with a retrospective of his work. The Situationists were a complex radical art movement, and Debord eventually attempted to ‘free himself from film’. He committed suicide in 1994. With more to come from Venice during the next weeks.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Venice Italy.
© 2001 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 8/01
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