Urban Movie #23 | I love Venice
This documentary tells the story of the people still living in the city of Venice and of its citizens taking protest to the streets to save it as a real community. It poses the question: what is it like to live in a city that is not yours anymore?
“At what time is Venice closing?” or “are people still living in Venice?” are the two questions often asked by innocent tourists to the last remaining inhabitants of the city. Is Venice the first city turning into a theme park? Venice used to be the most utopian city in the world, a place without cars, a quiet and dreamy place with a very high quality of living where everybody was one big family. It all changed twenty years ago when real estate was left to the free market. Everybody wanted to make the most money out of the Queen of the Adriatic. Private houses became B&B’s or hotels and grocery stores and bakeries transformed into pizza restaurants and shops selling masks made in China. Now, the city is too expensive to live in, property is sold to rich foreigners and rents continue to skyrocket.
The city attracts 30 million tourists each year and this number is even expected to rise again as massive tourism is expected in the next years from China and India. In some neighborhoods the city is so congested with tourists that living has become impossible. After World War II Venice had 175,000 residents. An electronic counter in front of the window of Farmacia Morelli records the number of people still living in Venice. It is today below a dramatic 60.000.
I love Venice is a compelling, emotional and visually stunning documentary about the people still living in the most beautiful city of the world and tells the story of its citizens taking protest to the streets. Recently several protest groups have been set up to save the city as a real community. They demonstrate against the commercially motivated city government, the closing of the last remaining hospital and against the many large cruise ships entering the lagoon. These residents fight with passion for their beloved Venice, but always with humor, irony and a keen sense of theater.
After a screening of the documentary, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers Quirine Racke and Helena Simons (Snowwhite Productions), CUS member Fenne Pinkster (UvA) and journalist Floor Milikowski (De Groene Amsterdammer).
Fenne Pinkster is an Urban Geographer and lecturer working at the department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the Universiteit van Amsterdam. CUS members Fenne Pinkster and Willem Boterman wrote the article 'When the spell is broken: gentrification, urban tourism and privileged discontent in the Amsterdam canal district'. This article explores the changing relationship between these established residents and their neighbourhood and provides insight into their growing sense of discontent and even powerlessness in the face of neighbourhood change.
Floor Milikowski is a independent research journalist, specialised in urban and spatial development. She always tries to find the story behind often simplified news. At the moment she is working for the Groene Amsterdammer on a series of articles concerning the question: who owns the city?
Carolina Maurity Frossard is a PhD candidate at the Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam. She joined the Public-private security assemblages and citizenship (SECURCIT) project in 2014. Carolina's research explores urban security arrangements in Recife, Northeastern Brazil, in order to unpack how they reconfigure experiences, enactments, and ideas of citizenship in the city.
This series features documentaries about urbanism, suburbia, and issues that cities and urban areas around the globe face. Each edition has a different theme and during every edition the screening of the documentary will be complemented by a Q&A with the makers, a debate with experts around the themes addressed in the movie, a book presentation and/or a lecture by an international guest.
Pakhuis de Zwijger, Piet Heinkade 179, 1019 HC Amsterdam.