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Fabio Ferzetti • Venice Days General Delegate

"I choose the surprising vitality of Central-Eastern Europe cinema"

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Fabio Ferzetti • Venice Days General Delegate

Founded five years ago to showcase the best of European cinema, for its second edition Venice Days expanded beyond this specific territory to include the entire world. The independent section – which is promoted during the Venice International Film Festival by ANAC (Filmmakers Associations) and the filmmakers of API (Independent Directors and Producers) – continues, however, to pay attention to the powerful work being produced in Europe. This year, 10 of the section’s 11 selected features come from Europe. Cineuropa spoke with film critic Fabio Ferzetti, Director General of Venice Days for the third consecutive year.

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Cineuropa: Let’s begin with this accentuated Europeanism…
Fabio Ferzetti: The reason is simple, the most interesting films we saw were European, especially from Central-Eastern Europe, which surprised us with its vitality. If I had to pick out the two most surprising work, I’d say Slovenian film Landscape No. 2 [+see also:
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by Vinko Möderndorfer, and especially Hooked [+see also:
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interview: Adrian Sitaru
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]
by Romania’s Adrian Sitaru, an extravagant film that keeps viewers glued to the screen with its paradoxical and unusual situations, and works very much on what is not said.

Thematically speaking, is there a thread uniting the programme?
This is the year of doubt. Many of the films reflect upon the profound identity crises of old and new democracies, and more generally speaking of Western society: the petty thief in Landscape No.2, for example, knows nothing about his country’s history.

With regards to this film, at the press conference you spoke of a “Hitchcockian” climate…
Yes, it’s a thriller that glues audiences to their seats: the protagonist’s insistent hedonism, and above all on his sexual exuberance, lowers the defences of the audience, which slowly finds itself immersed in a quasi-horror bloodbath.

From a stylistic point of view, what kinds of films will we see?
We chose very high quality works whose only “defect” is to not strive for innovation at all cost, to not try and seek out a provocative language. They’re all rather classical films, and for this reason are hard to “sell”. Perhaps the only stylistically incandescent and formally beautiful film is Finnish title The Visitor [+see also:
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trailer
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]
. The others speak a common language, beginning with Sylvie Verheyde’s Stella [+see also:
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, but express great cinematic tension. They’re capable of speaking to a wide audience and bringing it closer to subjects that are anything but obvious. They rely on psychological excavation and the complexity of the story rather than on formal exhibitionism.

What can you tell us about the two Italian titles?
The Italian selection is rather indicative of a variety of offers, from a production point of view. On the one hand there is Machan [+see also:
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trailer
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, a rather large-budget co-production shot in Sri Lanka by Uberto Pasolini, the producer of The Full Monty. On the other, a true no-budget film, One Day In a Life [+see also:
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by Stefano Tummolini.

You’ve mentioned two debut filmmakers (although, in Pasolini’s case, with much experience), but the programme includes works from established directors as well…
Czech director Bohdan Sláma, who made A Country Teacher [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Bohdan Slama
film profile
]
, has won many awards but in Italy he’s practically unknown. Also well known at home, in Belgium, is Patrice Toye, the director of Nowhere Man [+see also:
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film profile
]
, who I hope someone in Italy has the courage to distribute.

As always, besides the screenings, Venice Days will also offer debates and discussions.
Yes, one of the most highly anticipated is with Le club des 13 and Europe. Beginning with a combative dossier that became a bestseller in France, we will reflect upon the French film system: while we here envy it, at home it is heavily criticized by those in the industry.

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