(This piece appeared recently in Corriere della Sera, and gives us a further understanding of the cultural significance of the open air cinema in San Polo on 29 August – Editor)
“Yuppi Du” in campo becomes the symbol of our resistance
By Roberto Ferrucci
This year the Film Festival began a day early, but not at Lido. The real inauguration was in Campo San Polo on 29 August, with the screening of an unforgettable Venetian film, Yuppi Du, by Adriano Celentano, in front of two thousand spectators. No, this is not the re-commencement of the outdoor cinema series, invented decades ago by Roberto Ellero and which, every summer evening, filled the arena at Campo San Polo. There is no money, as someone at Ca’ Farsetti would say. Venetians, however, thanks to the Municipality and to Gruppo 25 Aprile, found the money, even if only for one evening. They have taken it out of their own pocket, to demonstrate that there is still a sense of livability, that there are many Venetians who wish to make and to be a community. It is once again cinema, and that is the dream, fantasy, creativity, invention and talent to show us possible alternatives, as opposed to the exhibition that always seems to be about to swallow the city: mass tourism. And this time the dream, fantasy, creativity, invention and talent are not only on the screen. This time, perhaps, there was more of these in front of the screen at San Polo, and these were the two thousand who arrived with chairs from home, to reclaim a sense of belonging, and the will to resist in a city that has been, is, and will be the city of invention and of fantasy (and this must be recalled every time, then, Italo Calvino of the invisible Cities, with a provocation/challenge: and if the solutions to all the problems in Venice were already in that book?). Cinema is everywhere, these days, in the city. Other than San Polo, the screening of Dunkirk at the Arsenale, demonstrating what a valuable resource this place is for Venice, which every year the Bienniale fills with marvelous things. And then there is the Film Festival. The Festival is a breath of oxygen, and not only for the businesses on the Lido. It is a breath of oxygen for the entire city. It arrives on time, at the close of summer, to sweeten the ending, and the summer at Venice is for too many years already synonymous with a suffocating atmosphere and this does not only refer to the weather. Venice in the summer lives in a continuous apnea of crowding, is the victim of a permanent fear of crowds and of the resulting infinite controversies, predictable and above all, useless. And now, fortunately, the cinema arrives to undercut the trend.
The screening of Yuppi Du in Campo San Polo was the demonstration – from the bottom – of how many Venetians have a vision of the term ‘culture’ that is different from that of the City administration. It is still pop culture, yes, but of different making and realization, with the spectators as co-protagonists and not simply “clients”. Starting from San Polo, then, and from the Bienniale, certainly, which ever more, under the management of Baratta, is spreading around Venice, available to all. Because one day we may be surprised to discover that the real revolution is that of finally joining culture (culture, not a show) and tourism. It will be clear that the solution is completely here. The Venetians believe this, conscious that they themselves are the needed and invaluable resource for this City. A resource to reverse the drift – in the direction of Disneyland – that today seems unavoidable. May we never see that the pessimists and the incapable, in the end, were not wrong.
Source: Corriere della Sera 1-9-2017