Palazzo del Cinema, Venice Film Festival Venue

  • Venice, Italy
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Just for a few simple Venetian pleasures…


There are cities so beautiful, so captivating, that they’re fatal for festivals, if those festivals are a bit out of the way, enclosed, or happen in a place that has no magic. Obviously, we’ve questioned festival goers, we’ve worked with regulars. Their diagnosis is clear: in the existing spaces, they didn’t feel like they were in Venice. They didn’t want to come here just to shut themselves away… Venice was bigger than its festival and She always will be… So, we have to be in Venice and if possible – ultimate ambition – to be Venice


Venice means history, the past. The old Palazzo del Cinema of the 1930s is a worthy testament to a recent but now remote past, if we consider the history of cinema. We want to showcase this testament. Being Venice means arriving via the lagoon, via the canal, in a vaporetto or in a ‘Riva’ taxi, passing under the bridges, disembarking… The access to Venice will thus be on the canal side, the greenery side, the pontoon side. And for people staying in the hotels on the Lido, two Canopi will greet them and gather them up from the seaside at the bottom of the casino gardens. The old entrance will be reflected in the water. This is the symbolic façade of the institution. And the journey on foot along the canvas-covered corridors will be Venice in its scents, its flowers, its gardens. Those gardens will slip under the new building between staircases doubly coiled like the vivid striped poles gondolas are tied to. And in this reversal, the Arena turns into the main staircase, a place that’s open but covered, covered by the new main auditorium, a true double translate. All this just for the pleasure of mounting the glamorous staircase that gives onto the canal. Just for the ‘cinema’ of making a Venetian entrance by water, via the wooden pontoon, and for the view of the canal and its boats from this stair…


The movie theatres, too, are Venice. The one kept in the 30s building, because that’s the history of the festival. The main one new-built, because before the film it will frame Venice through a picture window that will later be covered over. The theatre becomes a panaroma of the city, of the Laguna: Venice is the screen. On the opposite side, two small theatres will frame the Adriatic. Lastly, a room level with the garden will slip under the existing building, but open sideways on to the gardens. Also at garden level, there’ll be a reception desk for journalists as well as upstairs in the foyer or on the terrace close to the main reception area: a double panorama midway between the Adriatic and the Laguna.


All that, just for a few Venetian pleasures…



Jean Nouvel