The Venice Syndrome

Andreas Pichler
2013 | 80 minutes | Germany, Italy
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

The well-documented reality that Venice is sinking into the sea has an equally unsettling parallel: it is drowning in tourists—21 million of them per year at last count. Twenty years ago 125,000 people lived there, but the permanent population is now less than half that, and by some estimates actual Venetians will have disappeared completely by 2030. Those who remain are living in a very different place from the Venice of romantic imagination: today, Venice is a city defined almost wholly by its subculture of tourist industries, by oblivious daytrippers, by the massive cruise ships that darken its port and dwarf its crumbling but still-glittering palaces. This film documents the decline of a once-great bastion of culture with nuance and compassion, giving the enduring denizens of the city a voice. The result is daunting, but alive with humor and compassion.

Film print provided by Taskovski Films

Co-presented by Rooftop Films

Past Forward, My Perspective
"In my life and work exploring the past has been an essential tool for understand the present and projecting the future. But in general I think, on an individual and collective dimension, knowing where you come from gives you the base for developing a grounded self-confident and critical attitude to the world.

The knowledge of the past is somehow the backbone for developing ethical values. This does not mean that you have to be oppressed by the past or that you start to idealize a glorious past, that has never existed. In Europe at the moment we tend to preserve everything and by doing so, risk to oppress creativity and visions for the future. Sometimes you have to break with the past in order to envision the future, but if so it should be a very conscious cut."
- Andreas Pichler | Director, The Venice Syndrome