The world that isn’t…in Venice

It may be true that the portrait of the world offered by the filmmakers of Venice 79 revolves around the anguish of identity and the vision of the apocalypse. Still, one wonders: is it not the case that cinema at the Venice Film Festival reflects above all Western thought and risks losing what ferments away from Hollywood and Cinecitta? A cross-sectional look at the program of all sections yields contradictory feelings: Argentinian Santiago Mitre of the impassioned Argentina 1985 has no time to search for his and his nation’s identity. Algerians Adila Bendimerad and Damien Ounouri with La dernière reine come to terms with forgotten history rather than an obsession with the future. Bosnian Teona Mitevska (The happiest Man in the world) feels above all the urgency of the present. Japanese Koji Fukada in Love Life tackles the exhibition of pain, a problematic craft in Eastern expressive culture. Everyone, in one way or another, is forced to confront the issue of identity but, unlike many Westerners, they do not make it as a private matter, but cultural and universal. One does not need to come from the other side of the planet to grasp the urgency of not only looking at one’s navel and our decaying civilization ruins. It is enough to feel the breath of the world as Alice Diop (Saint Omer) or Salvatore Mereu (Bentu) do in two of the most uncovering artistic and intense works in the program, in my opinion. 

The feeling is that Venice, like other major world festivals, has to reckon with the logic of marketing and the star system: fatally, what is not glittering cinema and pre-digested by press campaigns does not exist in the newspapers, is consumed in the emotional moment of applause and discovery, but will remain invisible to the majority of viewers. Of course, visibility will be visible for the darlings of the cinephile catwalks – Lav Diaz, Sergei Loznitsa, Jafar Panahi, the inevitable Ukrainian and Iranian filmmakers of this season. But the extraordinary Sino-Japanese of Stonewalling will only be heard of in a short news if they win awards. This is not the fault of Alberto Barbera, Gaia Furrer, or Beatrice Fiorentino. It is the fault of our laziness as viewers that we generate a false idea of cultural curiosity. But this is the press, bab

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