Venice Film Festival: Patriarch addresses Catholic movie judges

 The Patriarch of Venice, Archbishop Angelo Scola, addressed the Jury of SIGNIS, The World Catholic Association for Communication, during the 60th Venice Film Festival. He said: "We should not be surprised that the Church takes a great interest in cinema, in the way stories are told in this digital age. Stories are communicated through images just as God told his story through his image in Jesus Christ."

During his address, the Patriarch also noted that positive moral evaluation of films was important rather than simple moralistic protests which were more childish and unhelpful in the Church's dialogue with cinema.

Thirty more representatives of six Catholic agencies in Italy involved in cinema attended the festival. They included representatives of associations for film forums, for publications and for the 600 parish cinemas which still operate in the country.

The SIGNIS Jury chose three films for the twenty in competition for prizes. The film which won the Golden Lion, the Russian film, The Return, was the winner for SIGNIS. It is a deep and reflective film about the relationship between two adolescent boys and their long-absent father.

The jury also awarded their prize equally to a Portuguese film by Catholic director, Manoel di Oliveira, who turns 95 this year. His film, A Talking Picture, is particularly relevant for Europe on the eve of the writing of the Constitution for the Union. The film takes the form of a voyage from Europe to Asia where a history professor in Lisbon visits key cities in the Mediterranean. She is accompanied by her eight year old daughter and is able to answer the little girl's questions, and those of the audience, concerning the cultural and religious roots of Europe. She visits Marseilles, Naples, Athens, Istanbul and Cairo, giving the audience the opportunity to see these sites and to think about our culture which is under threat from terrorism.

The Catholic Church has had a jury at the Venice Film Festival since 1947.

VENICE - 17 September 2003 - 340 words

Share this story