Perversion pervades Venice film fest with modern Greek tragedy

Sun Sep 1, 2013 2:58pm EDT
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By Isla Binnie

VENICE (Reuters) - A modern Greek tragedy of incest, prostitution and violence continued on Sunday the theme of sexual and moral perversion which has emerged at this year's Venice Film Festival.

The audience flinched during "Miss Violence" as traditional family relationships were shown to be hideously corrupted after one of the children commits suicide on her 11th birthday.

Films about necrophilia, child prostitution and domestic violence are among 20 new works vying for the coveted Golden Lion award at the 70th annual festival on the leafy Venice Lido.

"We decided not to deal with the economic crisis but rather to confront the crisis of values," the director of "Miss Violence" Alexandros Avranas told a news conference after the screening.

Festival director Antonio Barbera has said the line-up of films in the competition, which will be judged by a panel headed by veteran film maker Bernardo Bertolucci, shows a dark and violent reality.

Themis Panou, who plays the tyrannical father in "Miss Violence", said he had to draw on Greek tragedy to help him play a character who was unlike anyone he had ever known.

"I think many men thought of sleeping with their mothers. Oedipus is not a chance event, and this is how I built my character," Panou said.

Sordid sex and violence infuse family relationships in Philip Groening's "The Police Officer's Wife" and David Gordon Green's "Joe", which also had their premieres at the festival.   Continued...

Director Alexandros Avranas (R) poses with actors Eleni Roussinou (2nd R), Reni Pittaki (L) and Themis Panou during a photocall for their movie "Miss Violence" at the 70th Venice Film Festival in Venice September 1, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi