The light of a projector
The slow one now / Will later be fast
As the present now / Will later be past (…)
For the times they are a-changin'
Bob Dylan, The Times They are a-Changing
Like yet another, lamentable remake of the movie Groundhog Day, the pandemic we thought had been eradicated by time and vaccines seems to show up again in periodic waves, in disguise (the variants) and strung together one after another to form a chain that resists our efforts and desire to see the end of it. Everybody predicts that the autumn of 2021 will be the moment of a much hoped-for resurgence, which has been postponed several times to general dismay. We aren't so confident anymore, even though we are bolstered by great faith in science and humankind's ability to react to even the worst adversities. Hence, our decision to hold the next Film Festival of the Biennale di Venezia in the presence of the public and with even greater conviction than during the preceding annus horribilis, formulating the 78th edition that comes just one year before we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Festival's birth, when it was launched in August 1932. Once again, we will do so with calculated caution, making haste slowly, in the words of the great Emperor Augustus. That is, without hesitation but prudently. And without losing heart, to paraphrase the poet Nicolas Boileau. We are aware of the responsibility that awaits us and of the expectations that many people have placed in this first festival, destined to open the new season of that unwritten calendar which marks the life of film industry professionals (without the disparaging overtones that sometimes accompany the use of the Italian term “cinematografaro”).
Behind us, two seasons' worth of movies press forward to see the light of a projector: the films that were finished just before or during the spring 2020 lockdown and those that found the strength and courage to be made during the second, unexpected (and much longer) lockdown period. Many of them – more than usual: as though the pandemic had served to stimulate creativity and raise the quality bar – had everything it takes to aspire for a place in our limited program, and many of them were unable to enter because of an absolute lack of space. Even more than usual, this year's lineup (forgive me the soccer metaphor, in the year that Italy justly won the European championship) reflects the vocation to give voice to the multitude of perspectives, genres, and cinematographic areas that has always characterized the Festival's program. There are few significant absences (China maybe, but it is represented by two short films and some coproductions – not to mention that there is a film from Taiwan in any case), while the rest of the continents are well represented.