The Venice Internacional Film Festival will open its doors on August 28th, now in its 76th edition.
Organized by the Venice Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta, it is directed by Alberto Barbera and promises to be one of the most modern editions, whose strong point will be the richness of diversity, with the union of great authors and emerging directors from all parts of the world, which will exalt the vitality of contemporary cinema in spite of those who claim that it is dying, victim of various modern platforms.
The Venice Film Festival has always opened the new film season, anticipating what will be the trends, which over time has become a real springboard: many films presented at the Lido that were then, in the months to follow, champions of box office earnings and award-winning in the magical night of the Oscars, in a coincidence that almost becomes a rule in a coincidence that almost becomes a rule. The first time was back in 1948 when the Golden Lion went to the movie "Hamlet", which resulted in the best film of the year at the American event. It was then the turn of Ang Lee's "Secrets of Brokeback mountain" in 2005, and over the years "The Queen" and "The Black Swan", the burning "The Spotlight case", and again "Gravity" and "Birdman", the talked-about "La La Land" and then the dreamlike "The Shape of Water", up to the last season completely dominated by the films passed in the Laguna, like "The star is born" with the couple Gaga- Cooper, "First Man", "The favorite", "Jackie" and the winner "Rome" by Alfonso Cuaron.
This year we will see the jury chaired by the Argentinian director Lucrezia Martel who will award the coveted Golden Lion.
Meanwhile, the Golden Lions to the career have been announced: the recognition, seal of an intense career and of an important contribution to the art of world cinema will go to the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who owes his 1983 international debut to the Venetian Exhibition with the film "Dark Habits", and the British actress Julie Andrews, identified by all as the famous Mary Poppins by Walt Disney.
Many films are being screened this year, divided into the various sections of the main competition, Orizzonti, Venezia Opera Prima, Documentaries, Sconfini, Fuori Concorso, and just as many are the international stars that will land at the Lido and add charm to the event: highly anticipated Brad Pitt, Jude Law, John Malkovich, Joaquin Phoenix, Roman Polansky, Paolo Sorrentino, Maryl Streep, Monica Bellucci, Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche.
The event will open with the screening of the film "La veritè" by Hirokazu Kore'eda, while among the most awaited is "Joker" by Todd Philips with Joaquin Phoenix, in which the infamous psychopathic killer clown finally gets rid of the cumbersome shadow of Batman, "J'accuse" in which Roman Polansky stages the Dreyfuss case of the French officer forced to defend himself from unjust accusations of espionage in late nineteenth-century France; "Ad astra" by James Gray, in which astronaut Pitt faces the one-way journey to Neptune, twenty years after the disappearance in his father's Cosmos. "The new Pope" will be presented, the long-awaited sequel of the series "The young Pope" signed by Paolo Sorrentino who had so much talked about, in which the young Pope John Malkovich is joined to the young Pope Jude Law, between surreal reality and Sorrentine fantasy. Among the Italians, Mario Martone is expected with his "Mayor of the Sanità district" and the first episodes of "ZeroZeroZero", taken from the book by Roberto Saviano. The modern Netflix platform so loved by young people will be present with "Marriage Story" with the blonde Scarlett Johannson, and "The laundromat" by Steven Sodeberg with the star cast Maryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas.
The documentary "Chiara Ferragni - Unposted" for the Sconfini section is much awaited, as the director Elisa Amoruso lays bare the Italian blogger / influencer declared by Forbes among the most influential women in the world with her 17 million followers and its mind-boggling annual turnover: the history, fears and personality of Ferragni will allow a journey as deep as possible into the world of social media and new job opportunities, and their repercussions on today's society, media and politics.
The selected films will touch on important and delicate themes, such as the relationships between people, the reasons behind the wars that still devastate our societies, and introspective questions about why we act, we think, we desire in a way all our own.
The Venice Film Festival is undoubtedly the most fascinating of the festivals concerning the art of cinema, because it is staged in a setting that is itself cinema, which plays a fundamental role in the creation of the fascinating myth: the wonder of international stars arriving on the red carpet from the waters of the Lagoon with the city which acts as an incredible scenic background, better than any scenography, it is itself a cinematographic dream.
But now we undress the gala dresses, we go down from the red carpet and wear sneakers ... we begin to walk around the city in a completely cinematic itinerary.
Venice as a set: a journey through the most famous films shot in the city
Venice with its places and its views, with its wonders, has often been a natural setting in which the cinema has set its stories, its stories made of images that run before our eyes, animated by great actors: settings, colors and nuances that have contributed to the birth of masterpieces of the film world.
It is 1945 when Luchino Visconti shoots his "Senso" in Venice, a love story between Countess Livia and the young Austrian lieutenant: the passion between the two begins in Campo del Ghetto Nuovo.
Since Venice began its dominion over the seas it welcomed and often hosted over the centuries foreign communities to which it offered protection: perhaps because in foreign lands even the Venetians were exiles. The largest community, along with the Greek one, was the Jewish one, giving rise to the first ghetto in history, of which the term now in use for all languages was also coined.
It was the beginning of the sixteenth century when the Senate of the Republic issued a provision assigning to the Jews a part of the city within which to settle. The area chosen was an area of the Cannaregio district, formerly occupied by foundries for the manufacture of cannons: and the term "throwing" (it. gettare) the cannons gave birth to the words "getto", crippled then in the ghetto by the Jews who pronounced the g in rather harsh. But the term could also derive from the Talmudic "ghet", which means separation, meaning still in use today. Yes, because if on one hand the Senate had been benevolent, on the other it dictated strict rules to regulate the new nascent area and its use: the ghetto was closed at sunset by large gates that opened again at dawn, during night hours Jews were not allowed to circulate in the city and always had to wear a yellow cap for easy identification. The Jews could only carry out the profession of physician and that of the usurer, prevented by the Christians for religious reasons: the benches for the loans were born and even today at number 2812 the Banco Rosso is still clearly identifiable. Despite the strict rules, the ghetto grew quickly, and being unable to build on the ground due to lack of space, the Jews were forced to add floors to their houses, reaching bold heights completely removed from the Venetian context, until the government allowed them to reside in the rest of the city. The ghetto, today as then, opens with two symmetrical sentry boxes, a reminder of forced isolation and surveillance, which they place on a cast-iron bridge and which dominates the entire Campo. A place of study and culture, including rabbis and followers of the Kabbalah, including jewish-style objects, pigtails and kippas, the visit to the Ghetto is often punctuated by the sound of the litany of the salms recited in the five synagogues present, called schole: the German Schola Grande, the oldest, the Schola del Cantono, the Schola Italiana, the Schola Levantina and the Schola Spagnola, made even by Baldassarre Longhena, archistar of the Baroque style.
Visiting the Ghetto also means immersing oneself in their culinary tradition, fusion of stories and encounters of different peoples, of Arab, Spanish and German elements: kosher cuisine, which respects the dictates of the Jewish religion. Eat the Jewish sweets, delicious treats and a worthy conclusion to a pleasant walk.
Leaving the Ghetto we proceed on Fondamenta Ormesini and then straight on Fondamenta Misericordia that ends with the famous Ponte Chiodo, where a scene from the movie "Summertime" of 1955 with Katharine Hepburne was shot: a beautiful American with a passion for photography lands in Venice and lives a passionate summer love, which she will then leave to return home. Here was set the romantic scene between the two protagonists, in which the woman, after having lost in the waters of the river the flower that the man had given her, goes along the bridge to return to her hotel. It is a private bridge as it is not part of the city circulation but leads to some houses: it owes its name to the noble family that owned it and its fame to the absence of parapets. However we cannot attribute it to the incompleteness of the realization, as to a custom in use at the time of the Serenissima: the bridges, in fact, were almost all made without lateral protections, which were added only starting from the nineteenth century for public issues safety. Evidently the Chiodo Bridge had to escape these interventions, remaining the only one in the whole city with little parapets.
But the most famous scene of the film is undoubtedly the one filmed in Campo San Barnaba, in which the protagonist for reasons of script had to plunge into the waters of the river that brought her a problem in the eyes that lasted her whole life. So, we reach the Strada Nova, then Rio Terà San Leonardo and then Lista di Spagna, we cross the Ponte degli Scalzi and and walking through the districts of Santa Croce and San Polo we arrive in Campo San Barnaba. The quiet Campo is dominated by the imposing mass of the church of the same name, an ancient building of 809, rebuilt in 1350 and then renovated in the eighteenth century by Lorenzo Boschetti: in neoclassical style with the façade reminiscent of the Greek temple, with tall columns rising on large pedestals and the triangular tympanum that crowns it. On the other side the Campo closes with the Ponte dei Pugni where the Fists War was held, an ancient ludic manifestation of the times of the Carnival, then abolished in the eighteenth century: on the top of the bridge imprinted in the stone there are still the metallic footprints where the wrestlers had to settle their feet so that they could only fight with their fists.
We reach the Accademia bridge, we cross it and we are in Campo Santo Stefano: here Julia Roberts loved to jog in the first light of the morning, chased by her lover Woody Allen for the movie "Everybody says i love you" of 1996 and of which Allen was also a director. A rather simple and unattractive story tells the love vicissitudes of an extended family, between New York, Paris and Venice.
The one in Santo Stefano is one of the largest fields in Venice and pulsates with the young contagious energy and involves students from the nearby Academy of Fine Arts, which make it cheerful and lively: littered with bars and cafés, it is a place where you certainly never get bored. At the center stands the statue of Niccolò Tommaseo, which is represented with a grim expression and leaning against a stack of bound tomes: the image of this pile of books that seems to come out of his coat has given him the all-Venetian nickname de "il cagalibri".
From Campo Santo Stefano it is easy to reach the Scala Contarini del Bovolo, where Orson Welles set a scene of his famous "Othello", a cinematographic transposition of the Shakespearean drama of 1952. An imposing cylindrical tower that conceals a spiral staircase inside, the bovine in the Venetian dialect, which rises for about 30 meters on the roofs of Venice: a Renaissance-style loggia is linked to the red brick cylinder around which a series of flying buttresses is enveloped with Corinthian capitals and balustrades that follow the trend ascending the staircase and interrupting the masonry facing like a burealous lace, like a diaphragm that leaves only a glimpse of the inside of the tower without being fully visible. Inside, a central pillar allows the staircase made of 80 trapezoidal-shaped Istrian stone monolithic steps to wrap around its surface, which rise uninterruptedly up to the viewpoint on the roofs of the city covered by a semicircular dome: the right height to look at the stars, and in 1859 a comet was discovered from the top.
A few steps and we are in Rialto: who does not remember the run on the roofs of Venice of an Jhonny Deep in pajama that ends then on stalls of the Rialto market? The film is "The Tourist" of 2010, in which Deep is paired with the fascinating and intriguing Angelina Jolie: a rather twisted story of the personal exchange between professor Frank Tuperlo and the rascal Alexander Pearce under the watchful and seductive eyes of Elise, between crime novel and comedy with a final twist. And it is at the Rialto Market that one of the most dynamic scenes in the film ends. The city's oldest center, it soon became the economic heart of the Republic of Venice, where merchants from all over exchanged incredible goods, divided into zones: under the arcades were the shops of goldsmiths and jewelers who sold gold and precious stones, very much in demand also for their infamous magical and therapeutic powers, in the Campo di Rialto fruit and vegetables were traded, while in the Campo Beccarie meats and poultry. In the adjoining Pescaria the freshest fish was exposed: even if it can be thought that it is a period building, the reality of the structure is absolutely recent, from the beginning of the twentieth century. Designed by the architect Domenico Rupolo in neoclassical style, it is made with a loggia on the ground floor, where the market takes place, and an upper floor closed with a terrace on the Grand Canal, from which Jhonny Deep launched himself. The columns of the lower portico end with an ogival arch, while the capitals are all different and show the appearance of the various sea creatures; the interior is closed with a high ceiling with wooden beams. Outside the entrance a marble stele shows the names in Venetian, the sizes and the minimum weights of the sold fish. Today, as then, the market has remained almost the same, with the same subdivision of the various areas and with the same cheerfulness of colors and scents, of voices and sounds: a lively and crowded place in which it is worth plunging to discover the true size of the city and breathe the everyday life of the city. In the evening, when the market stalls are closed, the climate becomes festive thanks to the numerous presence of bacari and young people: the right place to consume a spritz and taste the specialties of Venetian cuisine.
From the Rialto Market we take Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni and reach Campo San Polo, to then arrive in Campo San Rocco on which opens the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, an ideal set for various films: this is where the famous masquerade scene was set in the film "Casanova" by the Swedish director Lasse Hallström, presented at the 2005 Exhibition. Giacomo Casanova, the great Venetian seducer of the eighteenth century in continuous search of "a moment worth a whole life", which in the recent imagination has the features, much more fascinating than the late Heath Ledger, manages to escape from the leads of the Ducal Palace Prisons and then participate in a dance organized by the Doge: a lavish party like the Carnival required and for the ciack the sumptuous Capitular Hall of the Great School was chosen. San Rocco. The School hosted the religious Brotherhood of devotees to the Saint, founded at the end of the fifteenth century. The work was designed by Bartolomeo Bon with elegant Renaissance lines at the beginning of the sixteenth century and was completed by Scarpagnino: it presents itself with the classic plant of the Venetian Schools, with two floors in which the Rooms are joined together by a monumental staircase . To decorate the Rooms, was announced a competition that saw Jacopo Tintoretto as the winner, who secretly placed the painting of San Rocco in Gloria, the subject of the competition, on the ceiling of the Sala dell'Albergo, and then offered to give his work as a gift. So it was and between 1564 and 1567 he created the entire pictorial cycle: on the right is the Christ in front of Pilate, in the center the Ecce Homo and on the left the Ascent to Calvary, all put together by the rich continuous frieze decorated with putti and garlands of flowers and fruit that is the union between ceiling and walls. In the Chapter Room, where the confreres held planarian meetings, and where Casanova enjoys the dance, it triumphs the great central canvas of Erection of the bronze serpent, to which was added the altarpiece with the Apparition of San Rocco , the three large canvases of the ceiling depicting episodes from the Old Testament and the ten wall paintings with scenes from the New Testament: going through the halls of the Scuola di San Rocco is like being immersed in the pages of the Bible, intimate and contemplative, excited and dramatic, raised to the honors of art by the hand of the great artist .
But you can also imagine dancing with Casanova, better Heath Ledger though, because it is not said that the real Giacomo was so fascinating...
Take note: to watch the screenings of the Venice Film Festival you can find all the info here: