By Prof. Antonio Falduto, UNIT University Rome
The Film Actor was the key figure in the iconographical map of Film Festivals and Film bibliography for decades.
Film Directors and Screen Writers were just complementary and replaceable roles. Many Hollywood’s films didn’t even mention their names in the credits. This hierarchy was overthrown by the 1968 upheaval.
Film Directors as Rossellini, Bertolucci, Truffaut and Godard represented the front line of a cultural and political revolution investing also Film Festivals policies. Directors “occupied” palazzo del cinema in Venice in 1968.
From that year onward Film Directors became “Stars”. Films were not selected anymore by established Producers and governmental associations but by the Film Festival Directors.
Film Festivals started to have a unique identity based not on the political agenda of each country but on the cultural and political issues of Film Directors.
The most stunning result of this process is that specialised movie goers now go to see a film by… rather then a film with… But Film Festival Directors and Film Directors competition triggered also a new conflict.
Festival Director has the power to select a film, Film Director has the power to refuse a Festival.
Peace was finally established in Venice in the 70ies.
In the not so secret agenda of the la Biennale a new rule was forged: the Festival Director has to be a Film Director every 4\8 years. Established Italian Film Directors as Carlo Lizzani and Gillo Pontecorvo run the Festival for 4 years each…
The rise of these two key figures on the Festival limelight implied a more demanding performance.
As all icons of the show business, Film Directors private and professional lives are entwined. Both of them are part of the Film and Film Festival marketing.
According to Andrè Bazin, the Film Festival is a religious order. Film Director being the demiurge of this collective and holy event, is the most exposed character in all the related liturgy.
He represents the soul of the Film, he speaks to the Festival Pilgrims (being media journalist or just cinephiles), he leads the holy procession to the red carpet… and he holds the prize when he’s awarded, as a king used to hold his crown…
Finally his head is the most glorified or the first beheaded…
When a director gets awarded, the Film Festival claims a sort of fatherhood, the Film Director becomes its own creature, they establish a unique relationship…