68th Venice Film Festival

Italy, August 31 - September 10 2011

The jury

Josefina Sartora (Argentina), Gautaman Bhaskaran (India), Pierre Pageau (Canada), Eva af Geijerstam (Sweden), Susanna Harutyunyan (Armenia), Mahmoud Osman (Tunisia), Frédéric Jaeger (Germany), Dana Duma (Romania), Paola Casella (Italy)

Awarded films

Someone has said that the Lido seems to be Alcatraz Turing La Mostra, and this is true. Absolutely. Screenings from 9am to midnight, 23 films in Official Competition, 8 in Critics Week, more than 50 titles in Horizons, and so on. And everything in their first world screening, or almost. But it’s fantastic to be here looking at the Venice skyline in the near distance, untouchable.

Some subjects were frequent in La Mostra: free adaptations or researches of literature works (Carnage, Faust, Wilde Salomé, Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, etc.), a new powerful image of the woman (generally, but in the Critics Week particularly), and in Italian cinema, the emerging importance of immigration.

The FIPRESCI Prize in the main Competition went to Shame, a hard and touching portrait of self-destruction through sex and emptiness by English director Steve McQueen. But it’s worth mentioning some other works, as Andrea Arnold’s peculiar adaptation of Wuthering Heights, an impressionist view with non-professional actors, adding racism to the story. Or two films with problems of absolute actuality, as Sion Sono’s Himizu, about the social and psychological consequences of the Fukushima disaster; or Life Without a Principle, Johnnie To’s coral film about the financial crisis in Hong Kong, exposing present problems that are similar to the rest of the world. Two Italian movies in Competition focused on the arrival of ‘alien’ people to Europe: Terraferma, by Emanuele Crialese, shows the moral and human conflict that is aroused in Sicilian people who confront the young people arriving from Africa and struggle between the new political laws that forbid to host them, and of human solidarity. In a more symbolic way, L´ultimo terrestre is Gian Alfonso Patinotti’s allegory about the reaction humans have when some aliens arrive from outer space.

The other jury had to work with the combination of the Critic’s Week and Horizons sections. Because of the quantity of titles, it had to be limited to first feature-length fiction movies, and the FIPRESCI Prize in this section went to Two Years at Sea, by Ben Rivers, also from the United Kingdom. A portrait — without dialogue — about a man in the forest, and crossing the border line between fiction and documentary, as was also the case in Lung Neaw Visits his Neighbours, by Rirkrit Tiravanija. (Josefina Sartora)

Venice Film Festival: www.labiennale.org