I recently watched a film set in Venice, The Garden of Earthly Delights (2004), directed by Lech Majewski. It follows Claudine and Chris, who meet in London, but move to Venice; Chris is obsessed with his video camera and films what feels like every moment in their lives together.
I’m not going to review the film here; the NY Times review and others are available online, and there’s an IMDB site plus the director’s website with plenty of opinions and facts. It gives good Venice, as they say, in that the city gets lots of screen time. Majewski has an eye for details around the city, such as the capitelli (altars) on city streets, or the old men sitting in chairs in front of the communist hangout (both depicted here in this short collection of scenes):
I couldn’t help but wonder if the camera man just filmed whatever he wanted, without getting permission inside museums and churches. There are even shots inside the Basilica San Marco that seem to be during mass!
The IMDB site lacks information about the film, but I wanted to point out this one astonishing detail that most people would miss, unless they sit all the way through the credits (which I did because I was too lazy to get off the couch). At one point, our two lovers, Chris and Claudine, visit a squero to see how a gondola is made. And the boat makers (known as squerioli) are none other than Roberto and Nedis Tramontin! Domenico Tramontin and his sons designed a gondola in 1884 that has become the only truly accepted design ever since, the iconic asymmetrical black boat that rides Venice’s waters. Nedis and Roberto are the present day gondola masters who have carried on the family business. Here’s their website if you want to know more about them, and a picture from the site:
I enjoyed The Garden of Earthly Delights quite a lot. I got sucked into its atmosphere of nostalgia, longing, loss, and eroticism. But it was when I got to the credits and saw that the actual Tramontins were in the film, that I wanted to share this tidbit with you. For gondola lovers, you may need to see this film just for the few minutes with the Tramontins!