Down-and-out Europe gets screen time at Venice fest

Wed Sep 4, 2013 11:41am EDT
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By Michael Roddy

VENICE (Reuters) - An Italian film about a man who works other people's jobs to give them a quick break showed a gentle side on Wednesday to the economic collapse, but other offerings at the Venice film festival have portrayed a much darker side of poverty.

"L'Intrepido", directed by Gianni Amelio and starring Italian comic Antonio Albanese as an unemployed man who works as an unofficial substitute, provides a few laughs as well as more wistful reflections.

Filling in for a construction worker, the hero makes himself look busy doing nothing. When he is driving a tram, he tells a woman who asks how many stops till the end of the line that he has no idea because he's getting off at the next one, where the regular driver takes back over.

Other festival offerings, such as the Greek film "Miss Violence", show people whose lives are twisted beyond repair by poverty and the violence and emotional despair it spawns.

Even in "L'Intrepido", the substitute worker's conservatory-trained, saxophone-playing son tells his father times are tough: "We are all geniuses in school but losers outside."

Alberto Barbera, the festival's artistic director, said that in selecting this year's films he and others making the choices "were impressed that a lot of things we saw...were dark".

"Filmmakers decided to face the fact that we are living a sort of a crisis of all the values of our civilization," Barbera told Reuters in an interview.

"It's not only a matter of financial crisis, of the economies getting bad and so on. It's the fact that we lost a system of values that kept our societies alive so far and now we don't have any more."   Continued...

Actors Gabriele Rendina and Livia Rossi (R) pose during a photocall for the movie "L'Intrepido", directed by Gianni Amelio, during the 70th Venice Film Festival in Venice September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi