Venezia salva

Just what is Serena Nono talking about, when, through the words of Simone Weil, she turns her camera on Jaffier, the plotter, and Renaud, the soldier who dreams of smashing the Serenissima's perfect balance and subjugating the republic? Nono is speaking of politics and ideology; of ideas that came to life in Venice's stone-paved squares and alleyways; of broken dreams and a tragedy that almost happened in that far-off 1618, one that still epitomises the mortal clash between power and beauty. To do so, the filmmaker uses all the narrative and visual tools that she can muster. In her cinematic art can be found the broad canvas of history (with its legacy of allegorical values that translate thought); classical theatricality is there, too, along with modern-day alienation. Nono relies on the rhythms of music, operatic costumes, the compositional of Luigi Nono, and the compositional balance of drawing (her storyboards), all of which shape her shots and make for a dissonance in the voices, accents and words spoken. The film unfolds against a backdrop of power, force and oppression, and the surprising endurance of beauty, harmony and culture. [Giorgio Gosetti]