Feature: First Italian movie at Venice Film Festival brings theater language into cinema
By Marzia De Giuli
VENICE, Italy, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- An alley where two tenacious women face each other on a hot Sunday afternoon was the stage on which Emma Dante, the Italian theater playwright turned movie director at the ongoing Venice Film Festival, guided her public in a journey inside complexity of human nature.
Via Castellana Bandiera, the first Italian film in the running for the coveted Golden Lion award, on Thursday opened to warm applause at Lido island in Venice, the Italian water city.
The story, based on a book written by Dante herself in 2008, is about a fierce showdown between two women of different cultures and generations who refuse to give way when their cars confront each other on a narrow street, Via Castellana Bandiera, in the Sicilian capital city of Palermo.
Rosa and Samira face off in a silent duel that is fought out in the intimate violence of their stares, which is "monstrously true," Dante said in a crowded press conference surrounded by her cast. Besides the director herself playing the role of Rosa, main roles include actors such as Elena Cotta and Alba Rohrwacher.
The result was "a truly excellent movie of great poetical hardness," Valerio Caprara, a noted film critic and professor at University of Naples L'Orientale, told Xinhua.
"It is a Western-style duel for life in which the good and the evil mix with each other, calling the public to make one's own opinion out of any schemes or preconditions," he added.
Other critics with no hesitation agreed the film was a "piece of art," powered by the skills of theater. "The movie's sequences appear sometimes cut like a play, or a drama, which creates a large space to both host the story of every single character as well as that of the entire village," French cinema critic Simona Manceau told Xinhua.
"In life you are sometimes obtuse, it is state of mind that leads to nowhere and prevents you from understanding that there is someone else who may see things differently," Dante went on to say.
The absurd confrontation between the two women lasts more than a day. When the night creeps into the street, the drivers resist thirst, hunger and sleep persevering in a stubbornness that no longer has anything rational about it, while neighborhood residents start making bets on who will prevail.
Via Castellana Bandiera does exist in Palermo, also Dante's hometown.
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