La Biennale di Venezia

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Remarks by

Paolo Baratta

President of the Biennale di Venezia


The Red Cube and the White Piazza
 

 

The “Citadel of Cinema” at the Lido is completing its rebirth. The program which was launched after the annus horribilis in 2010, when the fragility and criticality which had accumulated over time reached a highpoint, is progressing in a systematic fashion.

The Red Cube sets the seal on this rebirth. And as such, it is a complement to the surrounding buildings, reminders of the decisive stages in the Festival’s history (the terrace of the Excelsior was the first Festival’s headquarters; the Palazzo del Cinema, constructed in 1937, was the first hall created for a film festival; today, the brand new Sala Darsena crowns the open-air arena which, in its time, was a symbol of the Festival’s openness to its public; the Casinò, which became a definitive Festival acquisition in 2000, symbolizes a new, programmatic relationship with the international press.

Thanks to the commitment of the Municipality of Venice, the large square in front of the Casinò as well as the Sala Grande have been completely renovated this year. Other resources will also be earmarked for the Casinò in the near future for further revamping and renovation.

Discovering the forgotten island
 

Adjacent to the “Citadel of Cinema”, separated only by a stretch of water, lies sleepy Lazzaretto Vecchio island and its abandoned historical buildings, which have been partially restored in recent years. What better opportunity for our ongoing commitment to the cutting-edge activities of Virtual Reality than to bring new life to these historical structures, in agreement with the Polo Museale Veneziano!

This is a courageous decision in many aspects; equally courageous is our decision to create a true Festival section dedicated to VR, with juries and awards. And, once again, an important moment in our history will enjoy its iconic location.

The five pillars of the festival
 

The number of traditional sections in the Mostra, with minor variations, is geared to the size of the event as it has developed over time. Thus, as mentioned, a new section has been added, dedicated to Virtual Reality, and its specific needs. The “Venice Production Bridge” has proven to be a valuable complement to the film markets. The section “Classics” has, in itself, become a classic. “Il Cinema nel Giardino” confirms its role with its openness to genres and audiences. The recent developments confirm the level reached by Biennale College Cinema, which has now been enhanced with the “Virtual Reality” section. The Festival’s sections have already hosted new works by directors who have passed through of the College. And this year, we have introduced an additional “channel” for Italian directors.

True to our mission

We know that if the press acknowledges us as the preferred festival of people who want their works to be successful in the autumn award season, we owe it exclusively to the fact that we have always remained faithful to the principle of our independence and to the quality of the choices we make. Almost paradoxically, we continue to be a reference point for works which may not be destined for resounding box office success but which represent artistic and poetic moments worthy of attention and recognition. This is one of the essential functions of a festival that intends to maintain the world’s esteem.

Visits to the Great Mother
 

As we all know, the Film Festival was born as an extension of the Biennale Arte. In recent years, something long desired has begun to occur: a growing number of filmmakers and journalists are coming and going between the Film Festival and the Biennale Arte, which will remain open until November 26th at the Venice Giardini and the Arsenale.

Acknowledgments
 

Our thanks to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism for its ongoing, vital support. We also thank the Municipality of Venice for its work on the Citadel of Cinema, which continues to improve its functioning and quality. Our thanks to the Veneto Region. Appreciation is also due to the offices of the European Commission for their help in a number of important sections of the College. We thank the various private and public entities which help restore the Classics. Our gratitude is extended to our sponsors and in particular to Jaeger-LeCoultre and Toyota Lexus. We are much obliged to Rai for its committed presence.

We thank the Director’s group of assistants and our gratitude also goes to the Festival’s director, Alberto Barbera.

We thank the Biennale in its entirety for the wonderful work they have done and which they prepare to do once more.

Ante scriptum
 

Two days ago (July 25th), the Biennale Teatro program began. Under the new direction of Antonio Latella, it will concentrate (until August 12th) on the work of nine women directors and establish a successful collaboration between the festival and the College. This unique formula will see a large number of young people working with teachers on specific projects, many of which will be presented to the public.

Biennale Cinema
Biennale Cinema