Patriarch Suggests How Cinema Can Recoup Creativity

Meanwhile, Polish Film Director Krzysztof Zanussi Wins Award

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VENICE, Italy, SEPT. 5, 2003 ( To be creative, the cinema must appreciate the profound nature of men and women, says the patriarch of Venice.

«The art of the cinema is, perhaps, one of the highest forms of communication, able to penetrate the paradoxical nucleus of man’s freedom,» Archbishop Angelo Scola told members of the Signis International Jury, at the 60th Venice Film Festival.

Speaking Wednesday on «the cinema and the Church’s attention to this art,» the patriarch recalled that the Church has followed the film world very closely since its start, especially «the evolution of its narrative language.»

«It is worthwhile to reflect from the moral point of view, to see to what degree this expressive form is in crisis today, due to the lack of directors, scriptwriters, actors, capable of telling who the human being is,» he added, according to the Italian bishops’ SIR agency.

«Just as in other realms of art, the risk today consists in getting lost in details» and losing the view of the totality of the human being, the archbishop said.

According to the patriarch, «the Christian seeks with great inquisitiveness those who enable one to perceive, through comparisons and in an effective way, the echo of the Infinite in the finite.»

When a film achieves this objective, he added, it finds in hearts «an immediate echo, the capacity to enjoy, and the delight to communicate this enjoyment.»

Meanwhile, Polish-born film director Krzysztof Zanussi received the 2003 Robert Bresson Award from the hands of Cardinal Paul Poupard.

The prize, organized in cooperation with the Venice Biennial art exhibition, is awarded every year by the directors of the Tertio Millennio Festival, after hearing the opinion of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Culture. Cardinal Poupard is president of the latter.

The purpose of the initiative is to award «the film director who has given a significant testimony of sincerity and intensity in the difficult path of seeking spiritual meaning for our life.»

Zanussi, 64, a strong partisan of the Solidarity movement, was compelled to work abroad after its temporary defeat in the 1980s. One of his films, «The Catamount Killing» (1974), was shot in English in the United States. He writes his own scripts.

On receiving the award he said: «To be a director of Catholic cinema complicates life; what is more, at times it is a serious obstacle.»

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