billionaire collector Francois Pinault
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As far as celebrity endorsements go there's no beating an uncompromising religious fanatic dead these 500 years. Savonarola surely had the future creation of this very website in mind when, in a sermon of the 1490s, he urged the citizens of Florence to call to mind the beauty of Florence and maintained that this mental image would be more beautiful than the real thing, and that spiritual enlightenment would thereby result. This could well be my mission statement.
An author contact this week wrote and pointed me to moviedetective.net, a treasure trove of (mostly) old and foreign-language films on DVD, all for around $12.50. So, to begin with, expect reviews of Cronaca Familiare, Cronache di poveri amanti , Dove vai in Vacanza, Anonimo Veneziano and Nudo di Donna pretty soon.
The news that the Cohen Media Group have acquired the rights to restore and release thirty Merchant Ivory films is not particularly exciting, you might think, especially as it doesn't include the biggies, like site-fave Room With a View. However, this total does include nine documentaries, including Venice: Themes & Variations which we've been hearing good things about for years.
And somewhat belatedly (it's been out since August!) I've caught up with the TV movie/pilot of Casanova, produced for Amazon and directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, of Amelie, Alien: Resurrection, The City of Lost Children and Delicatessen fame.
And very relatedly, the Secrets d'Histoire French TV documentary about Casanova that I supplied some photos of the church of San Samuele for was broadcast last Tuesday and is watchable online, if you live in France, or know how to make your computer pretend that you live in France.
I've been back a week, from Venice, and have been busily feeding the fruits of the trip into The Churches of Venice. Photos, facts, upgraded observations, previously unvisited churches revealed...and I've started giving the more fascinating churches a page to themselves, which allows me to expand the coverage and photos of the art.
Just hours before I'd read the version of the famous Florentine Madonna-defacing episode in the The Painter of Souls I'd been asked if I could supply some photos for this article. Which was a spooky enough coincidence. But then it turned out that the article in question is by the author of the novel!
A new novel telling the story of the life of Filippo Lippi, called The Painter of Souls, by an author whose previous - also Florence-set - novel I liked a lot, Philip Kazan, and it's been out since the 16th of July! I'm slacking, but do expect a review before too long. I don't anticipate it will surpass Linda Proud's A Gift for the Magus - that one was that special.
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Venice // Florence // London // Berlin
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