This year, the Venice International Film Festival will honour the French master, Francois Truffaut, through its official poster. The final frame of the director’s legendary The 400 Blows has been the inspiration for the poster.
The poster has been conceptualised and created by Simone Massi for the Festival’s 71st edition running from August 27 to September 6. Venice is the oldest movie festival in the world having had its first show in 1932, and is held on the island of Lido, off mainland Venice.
Massi’s poster portrays the main character, Antoine Doinel, in Truffaut’s 1959 debut masterpiece. Doinel escapes from a reform school in one of the closing frames of The 400 Blows and stares into the camera as the film ends. The sea that the boy has never seen forms the backdrop in the poster, and the flying fish which we see are part of Massi’s imagination. He calls them an “element of fantasy that mitigates the quizzical dimension of the boy’s gaze, as he prepares to plunge into the sea of life”
Massi, winner of the 2012 David di Donatello for the Best Short Movie, has also created the 30-second opening sequence, which has been preceding every official screening at Venice since 2012. The sequence comprises 300 hand-drawn illustrations inspired from the works of Fellini, Angelopoulos, Wenders, Olmi, Tarkovsky, Dovzhenko, and Truffaut. The music here has been composed and performed by Francesca Badalini.
Massi, born at Pergola in 1970, is one of the latest pioneers of “stop motion” animation, and has won over 200 awards in major festivals in Italy and elsewhere. He is also considered one of the most important directors of animated shorts in the world -- and he draws by hand using pencils, charcoal, pastels, graphite and ink. No computer for him.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Venice International Film Festival.)