Venice may be the world’s oldest film festival, but this year’s edition on the quaint Lido Island that begins on September 1, largely flaunts a flock of young directors. Not just this, for the fourth time in five years, the top Competition is entirely made up of world premiers. The other sections are a mix of experimental movies and big budget fare, which could go on to become blockbusters.
Incredible as it may sound, the average age of 23 directors, whose creations would enrich the Competition is just 47 – far lower than the earlier 66 versions of the Festival. There are a couple of exceptions, though: Monte Hellman at 78 will compete with his crime thriller, Road to Nowhere, while 72-year-old Jerzy Skolimowski will be on the Lido (which is off mainland Venice) also with a crime story, Essential Killing.
Then there are Sofia Coppola (38) with her comedy, Somewhere, Ascanio Celestini (37) also with his comedy The Black Sheep, and Daren Aronofsky (41) with Black Swan, which will open the 11-day Festival.As the festival’s artistic director, Marco Mueller, averred, a certain dynamism could be seen in the cinema of recent years, and Venice was merely mirroring this. Even the usually caustic Italian media agreed that this year’s Venice lineup was boundlessly youthful.
The Out-of-Competition highlights include Julie Taymor's The Tempest, Rodriguez's Machete and the works of three veteran Italian helmers, Marco Bellocchio, Michele Placido and Giuseppe Tornatore. Tornatore will show his documentary on the renowned Italian producer,
Goffredo Lombardo (1963's The Leopard).
Two Indian entries will play in the festival’s sidebars: Anurag Kashyap’s The Girl in Yellow Boots and Mani Ratnam’s Raavan (Hindi).
George Clooney, a Festival regular, would have been on the island, but his picture, The American debuts on September 1 in the U.S. With Mueller keen on filling the Festival screen with just premieres, he had to choose between The American and Black Swan as the opening night shot. Mueller picked Black Swan, and Clooney was out.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be at Venice for the 10th year)