Friday, July 8, 2011

Clooney, Pacino & the Jury - 68th Venice International Film Festival

Vittorio Storaro Installation
61st Venice Film Festival
(Venice, Italy) The renowned Venice International Film Festival was the very first major film festival in the world, founded by Count Giuseppe Volpi in 1932. Here is an amusing article about Count Volpi and Benito Mussolini from Time Magazine dated July 16, 1928 entitled "Volpi Out." 

Two of Signor Benito Mussolini's ministers have constantly dared to call their souls and policies their own. One is Signor Luigi Federzoni, soft speaker for the Vatican, Colonial Minister. The other and greater is Count Giuseppe Volpi.

Volpi put the lira back on gold (TIME, Jan. 2). Volpi adroitly won huge concessions from the U. S. and Great Britain in funding the Italian debts to those powers (TIME, Nov. 23, 1925). As Finance Minister, Volpi has been for three years past the one Italian statesman with whom U. S. big business has found it possible to deal—man to man, without undue formality, with absolute confidence.

Last week, Count Volpi resigned as Finance Minister. He is known to have incurred the ire of Il Duce on several occasions—notably when he insisted that the lira be put back on gold at a lower valuation than that at first desired by Signor Mussolini. But from this it must not be rashly assumed that Count Volpi was "asked to resign." The irritable Duce has in other moods given his Finance Minister to understand that he must resist certain highly lucrative offers from the sphere of private business which have become especially tempting of late.

The fiscal collaboration of Benito Mussolini and Giuseppe Volpi is simply at fruitful end. Last week the Count was replaced as Finance Minister by Senator Antonio Mosconi, never before a cabinet minister, but a good Fascist "party man."

Apparently Count Volpi found other ways to keep himself busy, one of which was creating the world's first film festival. This year, "sexiest man alive" George Clooney will open the festival with his film, The Ides of March based on the play Farragot North by Beau Williman about "the lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it." George Clooney is beloved in Venice, and I'm sure his new "single" status will be a topic of discussion at the press conference. Clooney is a genius at press conferences, charming everyone with his wit, sophistication and style. 

Another American icon, Al Pacino, will be here, too, honored with the Jaeger-Le Coultre Glory award, given to "an artist who has left an original mark on contemporary cinema." Pacino is also premiering his latest film, which sounds riveting: the "unconventional feature documentary" Wilde Salome, based on Oscar Wilde's banned play, which eventually premiered in 1896 when Wilde was in prison. Salome is part of Pacino's repertoire; in the film he will once again play Herod opposite up-and-comer Jessica Chastain. 

Marco Bellocchio, the great Italian director, screenwriter and actor, will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Also a "director's cut" of his 1971 film, Nel Nome del Padre (In the Name of the Father) will screen in a version that is shorter than the original. 

The jury was announced today. In addition to Darren Aronofsky, the president of the jury, who has become like a member of La Biennale family (Black Swan, which won the Golden Lion here in Venice last year and was nominated for five Academy Awards, opened the festival last year), the multi-talented Mr. David Byrne will also be on the Lido! Here is the press release:

la Biennale di Venezia /
68th Venice International Film Festival /

Eija-Liisa AhtilaDavid Byrne, Todd Haynes, Mario Martone, Alba Rohrwacher and André Téchiné
to form the Venezia 68 International Jury chaired by Darren Aronofsky

The selection has been made for the members of the International Jury for the Competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, with American director and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky as president.

The Jury will award the official prizes of the 68th Venice International Film Festival, which will take place on the Lido from 31 August through 10 September 2010, directed by Marco Mueller and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The personalities selected to compose the Jury are:

Heikki Pölönen, photo
Finnish visual artist Eija-Liisa Ahtila, whose works have been displayed in the most important exhibition centres in the world, from the Tate Modern in London (with a monographic exhibition 2002), to MoMA in New York (with her video installation The Wind in 2006), and who has participated twice in the Art Biennale, in 1999 with her video-projection Lohdutusseremonia (Nordic countries Pavilion) and in 2005 with her work The Hour of Prayer, projected onto four screens.

Composer, visual artist and director David Byrne. Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record-label Luaka Bop, David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. Film work includes starring in the famous concert-film Stop Making Sense (1984) by Jonathan Demme, director (and actor/narrator) of the original True Stories (1987) and composer of soundtracks including the The Last Emperor (1987) by Bernardo Bertolucci, which won him the Oscar. Most recently he collaborated with Will Oldham for the soundtrack to This Must be the Place, directed by Paolo Sorrentino and starring Sean Penn.

American director Todd Haynes, a key figure in independent cinema, who has always been attracted by artistic and literary interests that run through his films. He was in Competition in Venice in 2007 with I’m Not Here (winner of the Special Jury Prize, and the Coppa Volpi for best actress to Cate Blanchett) and in 2002 with Far From Heaven (Coppa Volpi for best actress to Julianne Moore). He won the Golden Leopard in Locarno and the Jury Prize at Sundance for his debut film Poison (1991).

Italian film and theatre director Mario Martone, in Competition in Venice in 2010 with the highly acclaimed Noi Credevamo, winner of seven David di Donatello and the Nastro d’argento that year; winner of the Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1992 for his debut film Morte di un matematico napoletano (Death of a Neapolitan Mathematician). An important protagonist in the experimental theatre scene in Italy (one of the founders of the groups Falso Movimento and Teatri Uniti), he has been responsible for productions in the major theatres of the world and is the director of the Teatro Stabile in Turin.

Italian actress Alba Rohrwacher, one of the most sought-after and acclaimed actresses in recent years, in Venice in 2010 with La solitudine dei numeri primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers) by Saverio Costanzo (for which she won the Nastro d’argento as best actress) and Sorelle mai by Marco Bellocchio, in 2009 with Io sono l’amore (I am Love by Luca Guadagnino), and in 2008 with Il papà di Giovanna(Giovanna’s Father) by Pupi Avati, for which she won the David di Donatello as best actress (the year before she had won the prize for best supporting actress forGiorni e nuvole (Days and Clouds) by Silvio Soldini).

French director and screenwriter André Téchiné, one of the great Masters from over the Alps, winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes for Rendez-vous (1985). After working as a critic with the prestigious “Cahiers du cinéma”, he made his debut in Venice in 1969 with Pauline s’en va (Pauline is Leaving). He chose Venice as a suggestive location for his latest film Impardonnables (2011), presented at Cannes in the section Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, with André Dussollier in the role of Francis, an established author who comes to the Island of Sant’Erasmo to concentrate in peace on his next novel.

(NOTE FROM CAT: I was just over on Sant' Erasmo a couple of days ago, which has been completely "restored," without losing any of its charm. The same man I bought vegetables from 13 years ago was selling them still; the same bar serves up the same local food on the same outdoor picnic tables. Venetians were still there in their boats; children were chasing a crab with a net -- poor crab, running sideways, frantically waving his claws -- until the children caught it and put it back in the lagoon; sunbathers were still lying on the sand. The old Austrian fort has been been restored and turned into an art gallery; the skinny dirt road has been expanded into a long "street," easier to ride a bicycle through a tamed landscape that retains its wild allure.) 

On the closing night of the Venice International Film Festival (September 10, 2011), the Venezia 68 International Jury will award the official prizes to the feature-length films in competition: the Golden Lion for Best Film, the Silver Lion for Best Director, the Special Jury Prize, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actor, the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress, the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best New Young Actor or Actress, the Osella for Best Technical Contribution, and the Osella for Best Screenplay.

Ciao from Venice,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. This year, "sexiest man alive" George Clooney will open the festival with his film, The Ides of March based on the play Farragot North by Beau Williman about "the lust for power and the costs one will endure to achieve it." George Clooney is beloved in Venice, and I'm sure his new "single" status will be a topic of discussion at the press conference.