FILM: In Venice it's eels, weevils and a Golden Lion
IT WAS a "one, two" victory moment at Venice. The result of the 70th Mostra del Cinema was: Italy won, Taiwan too. Gianfranco Rosi’s Sacro GRA, a documentary about lives lived on or near the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Rome’s ring road), took the Golden Lion, by a rumoured whisker, from Tsai Ming-liang’s Jiaoyou (Stray Dogs), a poetic drama about poverty and fatherhood, praised in my last dispatch.
But Sacro GRA had its real and passionate cheerleaders. Like past Rosi films blending ethnography with quirky character portraiture — Boatman (India), Below Sea Level (American desert), El Sicario (Mexico) — his Rome docu-odyssey gathers idiosyncratic momentum and a clutch of fascinating cameos.
The eel fisherman philosophises about eels and the River Tiber. As memorably as any, the tree expert drills palms for weevils and catches the shrieks of larvae on his digital recorder.
Tsai took his runner-up Special Jury Prize for Jiaoyou with a good grace. "May I say something?" he addressed the jury.
"I love you all." The world will soon be able to love his film, a kind of madly lyricised Lear of the Taipei underworld. Both these prizes could be happily lived with.
There was a louder stir of rebellion when the awards-night goodwill enhanced by a Best Actress prize handed to elderly Elena Cotta for Italy’s Via Castellana Bandiera — a cleverly crafted study of neighbourhood ferment during a set-to between women drivers — was squandered by two prizes flattering Greece’s Miss Violence. This black comedy-drama about incest grows cruder and more contrived as its story goes on.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Business DaySimilar Stories