Venice film fest's centennial tribute to Orson Welles
That master whom we call Orson Welles would have been 100 last May, and the Venice Film Festival will honour the director on September 1, a day before the 11-day cinematic event on the island of Lido (off Venice) begins. Indeed what a wonderfully fitting tribute to a genius with the festival marking the start of its 72nd edition even before the actual unspooling of movies gets under way.
Two of Welles' Venetian masterpieces -- inspired by Shakespeare and digitally restored -- The Merchant of Venice (1969) and Othello (1951) will be screened on September 1. The Merchant of Venice was thought to have been lost, but by some strange providence, it was found and turned into a sparkling new print.
At Venice, this writer has always been reminded of this poignant play about mercy and justice and avarice. The Rialto Bridge is but one strong reminder, and The Merchant of Venice talks about it in its opening pages. In Act I, Scene III, Shylock the Jew asks: What news on the Rialto? Solanio poses the same question in Act III.
Read: Venice film fest 2015 to open with Everest on September 2
For many centuries, the Rialto has been the financial and commercial centre of Venice. Today, it is also known for its markets that sell an alluring variety of curios and other goods. More importantly, the Rialto is also renowned for its bridge across the Grand Canal that has motor-boats and gondolas sailing past in scenic splendour.
The world premiere of the new copy of The Merchant of Venice (reconstructed by Filmmuseum München and Cinemazero) in colour brings to life the dramatic plot, culled from a newly discovered script. Welles began working on this in 1969, but did not complete.
In 1982, Welles claimed that the negative of The Merchant of Venice was stolen in some mysterious way. But thanks to a sensational find by Cinemazero, the film will now come to life at Venice.
Read: Visaaranai, Vetrimaaran's Tamil film in Venice film fest
The Merchant of Venice is the last Shakespeare movie by Welles. Conceived as a part of an American television serial, the work was shot on location in Venice, Asolo, Rome and Trogir on the Dalmatian coast. It graphically portrays 17th century Venice and the key elements of Shakespearean times.Once Welles had declared: "My own dream part is Shakespeare's Jew. It happens I'm a Christian (not that it matters), but I've always felt a special sympathy for Shylock, and I've wanted to communicate that sympathy to a loving audience."
Watch rare Orson Welles interview here:
Othello, of course, as we know was the Moor of Venice, who, consumed by raging jealousy, kills Desdemona. The original, full-length version of Othello -- restored by Cineteca Nazionale in Rome -- is an Italian version, with dialogues written by Gian Gaspare Napolitano and supervised by Welles himself.
The film was to have been part of the Venice Competition in 1951. But Welles withdrew his work at the last minute saying that it was not ready. A new shorter version in English was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1952, and won the Grand Prix. Now, this rare Italian version finally comes to the Lido.
The festival runs till September 12.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Venice Film Festival for well over a decade, and he will be back on the Lido this September.)
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Prakash Raj is the latest addition to the cast of Mani Ratnam's ambitious period drama Ponniyin Selvan. The two first worked together in Iruvar in 1997.
- Priyanka Chopra has shared Jungle Mantra, an original song from the White Tiger soundtrack, by Divine, featuring Vince Staples and Pusha T. Listen here.
- Kavita Kaushik took a dig at Rubina Dilaik while saying that she deserves to win the Bigg Boss 14 trophy. Earlier, Kavita walked out of the show after a nasty fight with Rubina.
- Filmmaker-actor Divya Khosla Kumar has spoken about her journey, and how she didn't want to join the film industry when she first moved to Mumbai.
- Twinkle Khanna shared a review of Tandav, which said that Dimple Kapadia 'upstaged' her co-star Saif Ali Khan. While Twinkle praised Saif's performance as well, she said that 'mama bear is still the best'.
- Actor Rajkummar Rao isn't over his obsession with Shah Rukh Khan. He has often spoken about his love for SRK.
- Sidharth Shukla watched the first three episodes of Tandav and praised the show. He also gave a shout-out to Gauahar Khan and said that he loved her performance.
- As actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan prepare to move into their house, their designer gave an insight into all the amenities the new home will have.
- Did you know that Pranutan Bahl and Kajol are related? Here's what the young actor has to say about her equation with 'Kajol bua'.
- Taimur Ali Khan was fascinated by a cow outside his Fortune Heights residence. He folded his hands and enjoyed its owner playing film songs on his wind instrument.