Venice Film Festival Artistic Director Wants Marco Bellocchio to Head Jury

Marco Mueller's choice may be blocked by the government because of Bellocchio's political views.


ROME -- Venice Film Festival artistic director Marco Mueller “would like” to invite director Marco Bellocchio to head the main jury at the next edition of the 68-year-old event and to present Bernardo Bertolucci with the Golden Lion award for his career but he worries they might be blocked by the government because of their political views, the newspaper Il Riformista reported Wednesday.

An official for the festival’s press office would neither confirm nor deny the report when contacted, but he did note that the jury president and the career Golden Lion recipient are usually announced in May.

The Aug. 31-Sept. 10 event this year will be the last in Mueller’s second four-year mandate. It is not yet clear whether Mueller will seek an unprecedented third mandate at Venice’s helm. A week ago, Italian newspapers reported that Mueller could take over the rival International Rome Film Festival after his mandate in Venice mandate expires – a report that press officers from both festivals and from the Rome city government all denied.

Last year, Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi loudly criticized the Venice festival for controversy surrounding the prizes handed out by Quentin Tarrantino, the jury president. Bondi said the government should have a voice in selecting the festival’s jury, a suggestion immediately criticized by industry figures.

Bondi, who has said he wants to step down from his job as soon as a replacement is found, has also boycotted both the Cannes and Locarno film festivals because they screened films critical of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

It is not clear how the government could officially block the selection of either Bellocchio or Bertolucci, both of whom are long-time critics of Berlusconi.