by Marzia De Giuli
VENICE, Italy, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- The 71th edition of the Venice film festival kicked off here on Wednesday in the pursuit of a renewed interest for fresh proposals and tendencies in international cinema.
In the opening press conference, Alberto Barbera, the director of this year’s edition, stressed the “original function” of film festivals to propose fresh ideas to an increasingly sophisticated audience.
In a world of cinema “in deep evolution” where many filmmakers, especially from the United States, “tend not to consider film festivals as a privileged place for the promotion of their movies,” new scenarios can open for the discovery of less known films and directors, he highlighted.
“On the one hand, there are big films and established authors, on the other hand there is the discovery of the authors of tomorrow, the result of our research work,” Barbera pointed out.
Among the nine directors who are participating for the first time in the 20-title main competition of the Venice film festival there is Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai.
His film Chuangru zhe (Red Amnesia), Wang said in a statement, was inspired by his 70-year-old mother, whose life made him reflect on Chinese people’s way of life.
Actually several Chinese-language films will be presented during the 11-day event, including Qin’ai de (Dearest) directed by Peter Ho-sun Chan, which was unveiled in the Out of Competition selection on Wednesday.
Chinese actress Zhao Wei, who stars in Qin’ai de, was in Lido of Venice, where the ancient festival was born in 1932 and still takes place, along with a mix of new and old talents from Catherine Deneuve and Al Pacino to Emma Stone and Adam Driver.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a black comedy by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, kicked off the awards season as the opening film in the presence of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.
The movie, whose cast included Stone and Edward Norton, tells the story of an actor, played by Michael Keaton, famous for portraying an iconic superhero. He struggles to mount a Broadway play, battling his ego and attempting to recover his family, his career and himself.
Set in the world of cinema, Birdman in fact was itself a celebration of the Venice film festival’s ambition described by Barbera to instill a renewed passion for both making and watching movies.
Speaking at the opening film’s press conference on Wednesday, Norton praised the “intimacy and collaboration” of the cast and crew on set, that he described as a perfect team where “everybody is working with the same objectives.”
Following Italy’s win last year for the film Sacro GRA, the host country this edition features three Italian films including Mario Martone’s 19th-century drama about Italy’s greatest poet since Dante, Giacomo Leopardi.
The program of the festival, which will show 55 feature-length films in the official selection chosen from 1,600 contenders, besides feature films, short movies and documentaries in other special and parallel sections, promises to be intensive.
Three international juries will award the Golden Lion, the highest prize given to a film at the Venice film festival, and other official prizes to present a new angle of international cinema.