Field Trip: Sketches From Venice

In the first part of three, Ruth Dillon recounts a trip full of soul and fuelled by espresso, to the Venice Biennale…

How can one write without reflection or inspiration? What inspires? People? Art? Architecture?

Beneath the Venetian skies are hundreds, indeed thousands of untold stories. From the café owner whose love of Opera and Verdi, led him to name each of his children from Verdi’s unforgettable masterpieces, to Paolo Brandolisio, the Master Oarlock, or Forcola Maestro, who creates the oars for the Gondolas of Venice, to Stefano Tamburini and Tanino Liberatore, the creators of the funky brutal anti hero, Ranxerox.

A post-punk mechanical dysfunctional anti-super-hero, Ranxerox is made from spare photocopier parts, and the Terminator movie franchise is rumored to have been inspired by the Italian cult comic hero. Tanino Liberatore went on to create album covers for many mavericks in the music industry, including the musician, songwriter and composer Frank Zappa. If you look at Zappa’s Man From Utopia, you can see the influence and Italian graph style borne from the Ranxerox serial.


So to our hosts, and our arrival in Venice. Simone Belcastro and Katia Carraro are the coolest most amazing Venetians I know. Simone and Katia we know from the European Dirt Track Racing Motorbike Circuit, a bunch of people who like to race fast, party hard, and ride the most inappropriately stylish motorbikes in Europe.

“Oh heaven in an espresso cup, Venice”

There is, photographer Ms Mina Bihi and myself included, a UK contingent of TEAM DAVIDA, a funky crew of motorbike aficionados, lovers and riders, who often grace the European motorbike track circuit with that wholly irreplaceable scouse wit, style and repartee, and a few kick ass bikes too. Simone and Katia had just ridden back from Corfu, after a summer DJ set. They travelled on bike through ex-Yugoslavia, Montenegro and Albania to meet us with minutes to spare… Oh heaven in an espresso cup, Venice.

We arrived for the opening of the Venice Film Festival, with George Clooney and Hayao Miyazaki in town. Although Clooney was in town, he’s not our cup of coffee, so to speak. Miyazaki on the other hand, will forever be an inspiration and hero of mine… So with the release of The Wind Rises at Venice, I was disheartened to hear he will retire after a phenomenal career, inspiring so many of us with his ephemeral and sublime Studio Ghibli creations.

Even before the release of The Wind Rises, news was that the film’s subject matter was rubbing the powers tat be up the wrong way. A beautiful piece of cinematography, and semi autobiographical in nature, the historical fantasy deals with the dreams of a young Kaze Tachinu (a fictionalized version of Jiro Horikoshi), aircraft engineer and designer of the Mitsubishi A5M Japanese fighter aircraft of WWII, which were constructed at slave labour camps in the latter part of WWII.

Miyazaki has fielded blunt verbal attacks from the left and right alike, and from the South Koreans too; as with all artists/auteurs Miyazaki has remained true to his interpretation and vision, though the questions that many must face in the aftermath of war are only touched upon in an almost abstracted manner, but the animation is simply a joy to behold.

For the lovers of Miyazaki’s works, there will be no disappointment, this film is mesmerizing, and like other Studio Ghibli creations it transports you to a place that soothes and tears the soul in equal measure. Other European premiers at Venice were Stephen Frears Philomena and Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem.

Andzrej Wajda also previewed his documentary on Polish leader Lech Walesa, but sadly our schedule was so tight that we couldn’t spare the time to see all as we were in pursuit of art, funk and good espresso.

Words and pictures, Ruth Dillon

Posted on 04/10/2013 by thedoublenegative