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ROME – Three weeks after it appeared he would be removed as president of the Venice Biennale, Paolo Baratta appears to be back in for a second mandate as the head of the foundation that oversees the Venice Film Festival.
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Baratta’s four-year mandate as president of the Venice Biennale was scheduled to conclude at the end of this year, and in late October sources close to then-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and then-Minister of Culture Giancarlo Galan said Baratta’s mandate would not be renewed so that he could be replaced by controversial businessman Giulio Malgara, who was criticized as a Berlusconi consort.
But Berlusconi resigned Nov. 12, a victim of Europe’s growing debt crisis and personal and legal problems at home. And with it, went Galan as Minister of Culture and Malgara’s candidacy for the Venice Biennale job, which oversees Biennale events for art, dance, and sculpture as well as the famed film festival.
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Baratta’s name was briefly floated as a possible candidate to replace Galan as culture minister in the new technocrat government headed by former European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. But that job was given instead to Lorenzo Ornaghi, a former editor and author with strong ties to the Vatican and limited connections to the world of film and television.
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On Monday, Ornaghi said he would support Baratta to continue in his role at the Venice Biennale, virtually assuring he would continue in the role.
If Baratta indeed stays on, it will give the world’s oldest film festival unprecedented continuity: it already appears that Marco Mueller, Venice’s well-regarded artistic director for the last eight years, will have his mandate renewed for a new four-year term as well.
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