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69th Venice Film Festival

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"The Master" (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Faith — in a religious, philosophical or political sense — and the absence of faith were the main themes of this year's 69th Venice Film Festival. Trust in God was the subject of Paradise: Faith (Paradies: Glaube) by Ulrich Seidl; trust in Scientology's way of thinking in The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson; trust in the ideals of the late 60s in Something in the Air (Après Mai) by Olivier Assayas; trust in the Hebrew law in Fill the Void (Lemale et ha'chalal) by Rama Burshtein; trust in love in To the Wonder by Terrence Malick. On the other hand, general distrust, in everyone and everything, seemed to be the main motif of Pieta by Kim Ki-duk (winner of this year's Golden Lion), of Spring Breakers by Harmony Korine, of Outrage Beyond by Takeshi Kitano. And these latter titles — except for the Israeli film and To the Wonder — were probably the most interesting films of this year's festival (La Cinquième Saison by Peter Brosens and Jessica Woodworth, and Sinapupunan by Brillante Mendoza should also be added to this list).

2012 was the year of Alberto Barbera's return as Director of the Festival (he was director from 1999 to 2001), and even if the level of the competition was not too high (partly due to the disappointment of highly anticipated films by Brian de Palma, Terrence Malick and Marco Bellocchio), the festival's machine worked well. Fewer films in competition, a simple free wi-fi connection for accredited press in many areas, smart scheduling, and many other small improvements made this edition more enjoyable than the last.

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Orizzonti Winner: "L'Intervallo" (Leonardo Di Costanzo)

The Orizzonti section was particularly interesting, with many different films from all over the world. A delightful surprise was L'Intervallo by Leonardo di Costanzo, an Italian-Swiss production that tells the very simple and moving tale of two teenagers, a boy and a girl, who meet for one day during a mafia incident in an abandoned villa in the suburbs of Naples. Another deserving and touching Italian film was Gli Equilibristi by Ivano de Matteo. Both of these pictures were better than the films by Bellocchio and Francesca Comencini in competition, but they were probably excluded due to the wider fame of Bellocchio and Comencini. In summary, Barbera's new direction seems promising, although it may still be too early to tell. (Francesca Felletti) 

Venice (Italy, Mostra d'Arte Cinematografica, August 29 — September 08, 2012). Prize, International Competition: The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson (USA, 2012). — Prize, Horizons (Orizzonti): L'intervallo by Leonardo Di Costanzo (Italy, 2012). Jury: Derek Malcolm, Great Britain ("The London Evening Standard"), Barbara Hollender, Poland ("Rzeczpospolita"), Francisco Ferreira, Portugal ("Expresso"), Cüneyt Cebenoyan, Turkey ("Birgün newspaper"), Francesca Felletti, Italy ("Vogue.it").
Print sources. "The Master": Weinstein Company, 99, Hudson, 2nd Floor, 10013 New York, United States, T+1 646 8623 400, Fax +1 917 6778 808, jules.eggli@weinsteinco.com. — "L'intervallo": Rai Trade, Via Umberto Novaro, 18, 00195 Rome, Italy, T+39 06 3749 8244, Fax +39 06 3751 622 Cell./Mob. +39 335 6049 456, rossi@rai.it
Festival: www.labiennale.org  

Reports

Paul Thomas Anderson: The Master of mixing Images and Music. Francesca Felletti takes a look at the Fipresci's international competition winner arrow.
Entrapped in Italy: The Interval and A Special Day. Cuneyt Cebenoyan reviews two salient films — one in the main competition, the other in the Orizzonti — with similar structure. One of them is a FIPRESCI winner. arrow.
Demise of Idealism: Two Worlds, Two Generations, Two Youths in the FIlms of Olivier Assayas and Harmony Korine. Barbara Hollender examines the concepts of freedom and idealism as treated in two prominent films from the festival. arrow.
Venice 2012: An Overview. Derek Malcolm shares some thoughts about the festival selection, the awards and the newspapers' crisis arrow.
A Murderer Can't Avoid Death. Thoughts on Manoel de Oliveira's Gebo and the Shadow by Francisco Ferreira. arrow.

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Venice 2012

bullet. Index
bullet. PTA: The Master
bullet. Entrapped in Italy
bullet. Demise of Idealism
bullet. Venice 2012: An Overview
bullet. A Murderer Can't Avoid Death