Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
Anyone who’s seen it is likely to agree that Venice is one of the glories of western civilisation. Twenty million tourists visited last year. That’s an average of 60,000 per day, even though (or possibly because) it is well known that the city is sinking and that the vibration and wash from gigantic passenger liners erode its foundations. Andreas Pichler takes up the cause of intrepid native Venetians battling to keep the beleaguered city functioning and habitable. Informed by their heartfelt, often incredulous stories, his film highlights another form of erosion: the evacuation of the resident population as the municipal government caters to corporate pressure and the mass tourism bonanza while cutting back on social services. Property values continue to rocket, despite the parlous state of many of the centuries old buildings and the staggering costs entailed in providing anything more than superficial refurbishment. Is this the ultimate cultural amnesia, this wilful disconnection from irreplaceable heritage – or can something be done?