Feature: Young "heroes" play a bigger role at Venice Film Festival
by Marzia De Giuli
VENICE, Italy, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- "I was here for the past 20 editions, but I can say that I saw an extraordinary presence of children playing heroes this time," film critic Manuela Paixao Redmont told Xinhua Monday at the Venice Film Festival.
Paixao Redmont said some young characters greatly impressed her in the world premieres because she found a sort of guidance and salvation in their films.
Tye Sheridan, a 15-year-old American boy, stars in David Gordon Green's "Joe". Sheridan plays Gary Jones, an abused teenager who befriends ex-con Joe in a dirt-poor Texas town and between them seek a way forward against a backdrop of violence.
"In this film, which shows frequent eruptions of violence, the boy is the source of a gripping sense of redemption, which awakens in the protagonist a fierce and tender-hearted protector," the film critic said.
Four children also play heroes in Alexandros Avranas' deeply disturbing movie, "Miss Violence", in which a teenager finds the courage to reveal the terrible exploitation and manipulation carried out in her family.
"I am convinced that children really represent a hope for the future," Avranas told Xinhua. Working with them gave him joy and hope and it was adults' duty to "give them opportunities," he said.
The Greek director added he was very "honest and open" in telling the four children the truth about incest, prostitution and domestic violence at the center of the story.
"We decided to read the script also together with their parents, and they had the feeling that in fact they were helping others to stop doing this ... That was our hope, our motive," Avranas said.
Lucas Moodysson, director of "We are the best", a story of early teenage life starring three fierce-yet-fragile 13-year-old girls, echoed that thought: "I think that every good director is taking children seriously, and I am very proud of that tradition."
Though not real, the hero of Hayao Miyazaki's animated film "The Wind Rises," the last of the famous Japanese director's career, is a teenager, too.
Inspired by Italian aeronautical designer Gianni Caproni, this challenger for the top Golden Lion prize tells the story of young Jiro Horikoshi, who dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes.
Nearsighted and thus unable to become a pilot, Jiro joins the aircraft division of a major Japanese engineering company. His genius and innovation are soon recognized, leading the aviation world into the future.
Monday was also a big day for 24-year-old Xavier Dolan, the youngest director at the festival, who was born in Montreal and wrote his first script when he was 16.
Again, the main character of his film "Tom a la ferme" is a young advertising copywriter.
In this film, the hero, Tom, travels to the countryside for a funeral and is shocked to find nobody knows who he is, nor his relationship to the deceased.
In its 70th year, the Venice International Film Festival opened Wednesday on the Italian city's Lido island.
Four international juries will assign the official awards. The competition section of Venezia 70, which includes 20 titles competing for the Golden Lion prize, is chaired by Bernardo Bertolucci, one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema.
In celebration of its venerable anniversary, the festival also created the special project, "Venezia 70 - Future Reloaded", a composition of short films created by 70 movie directors from all over the world.
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