Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Venetian Dilemma

Yesterday, I turned on my local PBS station and caught the last half hour of “The Venetian Dilemma: City or Theme Park,” a documentary produced by New Yorkers, and part-time Venetians, Carole and Richard Rifkind. Instead of focusing on the “sinking” Venice, this documentary looks at the impact of tourists and the shrinking population of Venetians.

The producers’ website ( says: “In magical, mystical, marvelous Venice a plummeting population of locals is drowning in an annual flood of visitors that now tops 14 million. Roberto, a savvy politician, is promoting a broad array of public works in a desperate attempt to modernize and thus revitalize this ancient city. Against a stunning backdrop of fabled canals, fairy tale bridges, and splendid monuments, the soul of the city is revealed by three who are battling City Hall: Paolo, an environmentalist, opposes the speeding tourist-serving motor boats that destroy the city's very foundations; Danilo, a fruit and vegetable vendor, wages a lonely battle to save his kiosk from condemnation; and feisty Michela, a career woman and mother, presses the city to help the young families who provide the last best hope of saving the city as something more than a Disneyland. A provocative debut film by Richard and Carole Rifkind, it is a fascinating portrait of a society in crisis.”

No comments: