'Once in Venice,' Latin America's first interactive film
Colombian Juan Zapata directs a film that seeks to escape from the common places of the Italian city.
Two travelers who decide to abandon themselves to fate and fall in love in a romantic city?
Perhaps the plot is already familiar to you from films like Room in Rome (2010) or Life of Adele (2013)-Venice is also a spoiled location in numerous filmographies.
That familiarity, accompanied by a fear of clichés, is what caught the attention of the film crew of Once in Venice before they decided to turn it into an interactive film.
Once in Venice is the romantic film by Colombian director Juan Zapata with Brazilian actress Bellatrix Serra and German Peter Ketnath, both playing the traveling couple of Max and Maria who meet in the magical city.
The film, which at the time sought to flee the commonplaces of tourism, now has the advantage of reminding us of the world before the pandemic with a large dose of positivity since it was shot in 2018.
When asked in an interview about the reason for an interactive film, director Zapata didn't hesitate to tell the ins and outs: "Since the shooting I observed in my team and people close to me a discussion regarding the end of the film. This (intentional) controversy spread during the post-production process, which gave me the idea of giving people the possibility of choosing the ending."
"The technological evolution of filmmaking stimulates me creatively. The fact that the new platforms allow the viewer to decide, as in this case, what each one would do being in the place of the protagonist characters, allows a kind of active empathy in the viewer, beyond the traditional structures," added the director.
The film will be released in May simultaneously on cinema platforms in eight Latin American countries and in its interactive version on Video on Demand platforms.
The giant Netflix is probably the front-runner in digital cinema matters, partly because it is one of the few production companies that can ensure dynamic formats in the cultural consumption of its products, such as the viewer using a digital tablet or having a console nearby. Its best known examples are the episode of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch or the special of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend.
The truth that very influenced by the world of video games that this subgenre of interactive movies keeps growing, so many of the lesser-known titles are aimed at children and young audiences: Minecraft, El Bebé Jefazo, Buddy Thunderstruck ....
Although the subject may seem purely avant-garde, we must remember that these formats were explored before in the novel and that the multiplicity of endings is yet another narrative technique that was applied to the Choose Your Own Adventure books as well as to great classics of Latin American narrative such as Julio Cortázar's second novel, the well-known Rayuela.