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

Updated: 2013-09-05 14:51


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In "Joe", set in the American south, an ex-convict played by Nicolas Cage mentors a boy from a violent background, but is caught up himself in the violence of a poverty-stricken world.

The Italian film "Sacro Gra" shows life in the deprived areas outside Rome's ring road. It is the second of an unprecedented two documentaries in competition this year, along with director Errol Morris's "The Unknown Known" about former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Jay Weissberg, a critic at US trade publication Variety, said poverty and the economic crisis had clearly made their presence felt in Venice but he was surprised the themes were not more prevalent.

"I think the Greek films more than most of the other national industries have been at least obliquely dealing with the crisis in a way that most other national industries have not, which I still don't understand," Weissberg told Reuters.

"Is it because the studios think nobody wants to see it because they want to escape from it during the movies or what? I don't have an answer to it."

Yet Greek director Alexandros Avranas's "Miss Violence" is anything but escapist fare. Before the opening credits have finished, a girl celebrating her 13th birthday commits suicide by jumping to her death from a balcony of the family flat.

The father, played by Themis Panou, exercises his authority over his sprawling family in their claustrophobic apartment. After losing his job, he is almost always there to control the family, who only seem to earn money through prostitution.

Avranas said that the picture is meant to be set in Vienna but the incidents portrayed could happen anywhere.

"We have entered this vicious cycle and it is difficult to be a revolutionary" who can resist oppression, whether it be a domineering father or the state, he told a news conference. "You see this within each family but within each society as well."

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

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

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

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'Miss Violence' debuts in Venice

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

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