Venice Film Festival: One of the most beautiful utopias in a long time.

Jury decisions are always a unique narrative, a narrative path that a group of people navigates through a group of films. At the 80th Venice Film Festival, director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Babylon – Ecstasy Rush) chaired the jury, which also included his colleagues Jane Campion and Laura Poitras. They considered the following: Cinema can soar with its images and yet remain grounded in our world. It can take off, become a surreal experiment, and at the same time take a stance, even forcefully immerse itself in reality.

Goldene LöweThe Film Biennale was awarded to the film Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos, a feminist Frankenstein story starring Emma Stone. Set in a phantasmagorical London, Stone plays Bella Baxter, a suicidal woman who has her unborn baby’s brain implanted into her own. The film follows the coming-of-age journey of a young adult who must learn to live again, while also exploring her sexuality. Through her body, Bella explores the world and the bodies of others, gaining knowledge about this world. Poor Things concludes with one of the most beautiful utopias seen in cinema in a long time.

On the stage of the Palazzo del Cinema in Venice, Yorgos Lanthimos referred to his main character Bella Baxter as „an incredible creature who would not exist without Emma Stone – also an incredible creature.“ And as incredible as the experiment of Poor Things is, it is also timeless and contemporary: the story of a young woman who, with her anarchist spirit, carves out a place for herself in a male-dominated society that was not intended for her.

Der Schauplatz wird zum Hauptakteur: ein Wald

The film by Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Grand Jury Prize) remains grounded but still takes off in the first scene: a meditative camera movement shows wintry treetops, filmed from the forest floor. Ethereal sounds accompany the scene. Men fill containers with fresh spring water and discover wild wasabi on a mountainside. The film Evil Does Not Exist takes place in a remote region of Japan where investors want to build a luxurious camping facility (known as glamping). The villagers revolt.

Was wie ein Ökodrama klingt, ist ein
stilles, poetisch in die Landschaft eintauchendes Werk. Die Kostbarkeit und
Fragilität der Natur schwingt in jedem Bild mit. Unter den 23 Wettbewerbsfilmen,
die von glamourösen Biopics über Psychogramme von Auftragsmördern bis zu
expressionistischen Exkursen in Paralleluniversen so ziemlich alles auffuhren,
was das Kino an Genres und Tonlagen zu bieten hat, war Evil Does Not Exist der Film, der seinen Schauplatz zum Hauptakteur macht: einen Wald, der einfach
Wald ist und zugleich die metaphysische Idee eines Waldes.

The Polish director Agnieszka Holland, on the other hand, throws the viewers into a place and into the action. Her film Green Border takes place in the border region between Poland and Belarus in 2021. With documentary-like black and white images and an alert camera, Holland repeatedly returns to the same people: a Syrian family trying to reach Poland and the EU from Belarus, a Polish police officer who carries out brutal pushbacks with his colleagues, and a psychologist who joins a group of human rights activists. In every scene, Holland’s film shows solidarity with the people who are desperately driven back and forth between barbed wire in the muddy forests, hungry, dehydrated, and injured – while also developing a large tableau of perspectives, attitudes, and moral conflicts. Scenes like this one remain in memory: the young police officer lies naked in a fetal position next to his wife after an operation. Agnieszka Holland received the Special Jury Prize for this powerful, epic work.

Green Border, awarding another film about people fleeing feels like a cinematic misunderstanding. Italian director Matteo Garrone received the directing prize for Io Capitano, which follows the journey of two Senegalese teenagers as they travel through the Sahara to Libya and then to Italy on a rusty fishing boat. The film portrays the resurrection of those who died of thirst as angels, and its poppy soundtrack adds a sense of adventure. After the Libyan torture camp scene, there is a drone shot reminiscent of a desert tour advertisement.

Cannes wurden die Juryentscheidungen bekannt gegeben.Venedig stand
sie bis auf diesen einen Tiefausläufer für eine gewagte Bilderpolitik, für
abgefahrene Filme, die dennoch sehr genau wissen, was sie tun – und wollen.
Warum sich also nicht einem lateinamerikanischen Diktator in Gestalt eines
Vampirs nähern? Pablo Larraíns Film El Conde (bestes Drehbuch) lässt Augusto
Pinochet als jahrhundertealten Blutsauger durch Chile geistern. Noch immer
saugt er sein Land aus und wird so lange untot bleiben, wie seine Verbrechen
verdrängt werden. Nachts fliegt der greise Vampir mit flatterndem Cape zum
chilenischen Präsidentenpalast und schaut nach, ob endlich seine Büste neben
denen der anderen Staatsoberhäupter steht.

dieser Filme konnte man in Venedig alles vergessen: sechs unterirdische
italienische Wettbewerbsbeiträge, die wegen des Hollywoodstreiks auf dem roten
Teppich fehlenden Stars und sogar die Tatsache, dass die Eisdiele neben dem
Palazzo del Cinema die Produktion von Krokant-Nocciola eingestellt hat.