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FULL-COMPREHENSIVE VENICE FESTIVAL REPORT, FEATURING FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN!!!

-1) Advent Children Manifesto for the Venice screening

0) The Two Heroes ready to plunge into the Lagoon

1) Chronicle of the Promised Day - My personal struggle to watch FFVII: AC

2) Chronicle of the Absolute - 25 minutes ECSTASY

2)bis Cronaca dell' Assoluto - 25 minuti di ESTASI (in Italiano)

3) Meeting with THE MAN - Tetsuya Nomura and I

4) Adry-senpai' s Add-on to the Venice Report

MISSION TO VENICE:
Manifesto of Advent


Advent Children manifesto for the 61st edition of the Venice Festival, including Tetsuya Nomura' s biography and his comments about the invitation his work-in-progress has received - featuring Italian and English, PDF format and transcript below

DOWNLOAD Advent Children in Venice PDF here

"The story takes place in a world where Shinra, Inc. draws out the planet' s life force and uses it as an energy source, gaining overwhelming power and conquering the world. Two years have passed since the battle. Though Midgar has been reduced to ruins, its people slowly but steadily walk the road to reconstruction. However, a mysterious illness torments them. With no cure in sight, it brings death to the afflicted, robbing the people of their fledgling hope.
Cloud, a former member of Shinra' s elite soldier guard, lives a quiet life with orphans. The loss of those dear to him during the war has left him with scars that do not heal. Then, one day, a phone call comes offering work, asking for protection from a man named Kadaj. Young and violent, Kadaj and his gang seek their "Mother" . Soon they prey on the orphans living with Cloud. Faced with an inevitable battle, Cloud wavers. An old friend' s words give Cloud new resolve. At last, the battle with Kadaj begins."

"La storia si svolge in un mondo in cui Shinra, Inc. ruba la forza vitale del pianeta per usarla come fonte di energia, guadagnando potere sempre maggiore e conquistando il mondo. Sono trascorsi due anni dalla battaglia. Anche se Midgar stata ridotta in rovina, la gente lavora per la ricostruzione, lentamente ma testardamente. Ma una misteriosa malattia la tormenta. Non se ne conosce la cura e intanto provoca morte e ruba la speranza. Cloud, che aveva fatto parte della guardia militare di Shinra, oggi conduce una vita tranquilla occupandosi di ragazzi orfani. La perdita dei suoi cari in guerra gli ha lasciato addosso cicatrici che non guariscono. Un giorno, gli arriva una telefonata con un' offerta di lavoro per la protezione da un certo Kadaj. Il giovane e violento Kadaj, insieme alla sua banda, cerca la propria "Madre" . Presto si avventeranno sugli orfani affidati a Cloud. La battaglia appare inevitabile, ma Cloud esita. Le parole di un suo vecchio amico (o una sua vecchia amica? - NdDaniele) lo aiutano a decidersi. La battaglia con Kadaj comincia."

MISSION TO VENICE:
Prelude to Reunion


The two heroes ready to plunge into the lagoon, wearing the awesome advertising T-shirt of Final Fantasy Dimension!!! Too cool!!!


Adry-senpai (tall) on your left, Daniele (not so tall) on your right

MISSION TO VENICE:
Aftermath to Absolute


Chronicle of the Promised Day - My personal struggle to watch FFVII: AC

It' s 8:00 a.m., Sunday morning, just a few hours later than the EVENT. I' m very sleepy, since I didn' t sleep a bit during my train trip back home, but before going to bed and having my well-deserved relax, I' m here to jot down in html form what I' ve experienced yesterday, as I promised I would have done to all my visitors and also to the great people I happened to meet in Venice. It' s never easy to recollect every single thought, fact and feeling for something of such an overflowing emotional value, but nevertheless, I' ll try my best to do so.

After four hours and a half spent aboard the train from my city to Venice, I finally got to the Lagoon. I had hoped I could see Shijie, the chinese/japanese movie they would play at 14:30 in Sala Grande, but the moment I realized transports were so slow in Venice, I knew it would have been impossible to get by the Lido in time. By the way, I wasn' t there for that. My "ultimate purpose" was far greater, and we all knew it. I would have hopped onto the first sea transport to reach the Festival place as soon as I could, I told myself. Everything else wouldn' t have mattered.


Before leaving for Venice' s Lido (seashore)

20 minutes aboard the ship from the station to the Lido filled my body with unimaginable heat (it was very hot, despite the somewhat alarming weather predictions of the day before) , but didn' t bend my resolution. During the trip I managed to acquire all the info I needed to reach the Palace of Cinema and the Sala Perla (where AC would have been screened later that evening) , and of course the Ticket office where the expensive "Under 26" card was waiting for me, the only way I could see AC without a proper accreditation (they were long gone for July the 9th, and I found out about it just a week ago) . Yeah, Sala Perla wasn' t open to the public, so you could enter with either an invitation, a gold pass, or a press/industry or cinema accreditation. The card would have supplied in place of a cinema accreditation, but at that time I wasn' t aware that, even with that in my pocket, I could have risked not to see Advent Children nevertheless. But I' ll explain later.


"Under 26" card and my Final Fantasy Dimension advertising card

Once I handed over a kidney to the ticket office in order to get the card, I was told to wait at least half an hour before going to retrieve it. I spent that time buying and writing some postcards to my closest friends and doing some photos, but anticipation and nervousism started to grow bigger.


Golden lions in front of the Palace of Cinema

At last, at about 16:30, I got the long-awaited pass in my hands... I felt a power surge, but still I wasn' t aware of anything... Adry-senpai was late, he had taken another train to come to Venice, and he was still in the station back then. I told him to hurry, because at the ticket office they also told me that the line to the Sala Perla would have increased by the minute for the 18:00 screening, that' s to say for the world premiere of Tim Robbins' "Embedded/Live" .


At the entrance of Sala Perla

Just like Adry-senpai, I had thought to go to such a screening to get a good place, and then remain there to watch Advent Children too. But I didn' t know it wasn' t possible at all. Luckily, while I was in line for Embedded (and I was among the first ten of the line, actually second or third) , I happened to meet Luca (I hope I remember his name correctly) , a boy coming from my same city who was a kinda veteran to the Festival, and who made me notice a couple of fundamental things. First off, after Embedded, they would have make people get out of the Sala Perla and then let them enter again, meaning there would have been two lines and one could not remain in the seat previously taken in the first screening. And second and equally important, the entrance order for all such screenings was the following:

first, special invitation and gold passes;
second, press and industry accreditations;
last (if there were seats left - and Sala Perla included only 500 of them) , the cinema accreditations (like the one I had).

Meaning, if there wasn' t enough room, those who were granted cinema accreditations (or Under 26 cards) had the unlucky chance not to enter at all, no matter how much they paid for their accreditation or how long they stayed in line for the screening. A big flaw in the Venice Festival organization made this thing possible, and I must admit that, just by hearing that - and see that happen few minutes later - I was really disappointed. Yeah, when it was the turn of Embedded/Live, after the VIPs and the press/industry had entered, they told us no seats were left available, making rise among the waiting people with the cinema accreditation an unbindable surge of anger and disappointment, letting room to cries of protests and general unsatisfaction. Luckily - but just for about the first ten in line, including me - ten people or so were allowed to enter, thanks to the intercession of the director himself who pushed for our entrance. There were many other seats available in the Sala Perla back then, so they lied on us when we were told there were no more, but even so, just ten of us could seat themselves and watch for the upcoming show.


Tim Robbins seated in the cinema hall

By the way, as Luca suggested, in order to have the chance to watch Advent Children (which, incindentally, was the only thing that made me endure the journey to Venice and spend that whole lot of money) , I would have been better off the Embedded screening one hour before its conclusion, i.e. at 19:00, so that I could place myself in line for Advent Children and be again among the first. Agitation and fears began to flow in me when the 19:00 started to approach, for I really feared I couldn' t watch what I had gone there for, I feared I would waste my money and have to go back home tormented by anger, delusion, and remorse. Thanks to his suggestion, though, when I got out of the hall and back in the line, I was again - bless God! - among the first ten of the line. And it was then that Adry-senpai reached the place, and many other fans I never met before made their appearance, along with a whole bunch of japanese and foreign press. It was then, so, that our preparations for the event (the special T-shirt we crafted for this sole purpose, and the advertising cards for our webiste we had brought with us) began to pay off someway. Almost immediately, people started asking about the T-shirt, italian as well as English-speaking guys and gals, the first photographs were made to us, and the foreign press began to take interest in our presence there.
Voices of Tetsuya Nomura being somewhere nearby spread among the fans, but we couldn' t see any trace of him, and those who claimed to have contacted him and interviewed him made me both envious and unbelieving. Nevertheless, agitation and fears started to fade away when the first, unexpected encounter occurred: the chief redactor of Famitsu Magazine for the PS2 section, along with many others from his staff, approached us and asked us for an interview! Unbelievable!!! Famitsu Magazine, one of the most important, most informed and reliable japanese magazines about videogames and more, which had published a lot of AC material in the previous months, wanted to interview us - two otaku from Italy!!! Awesome!!! It seemed our T-shirt let them notice us, and so there we were, answering his question about FFVII, Advent Children and the Final Fantasy series in general, debating about an OAV sequel for a videogame and of our expectations from Nomura' s work. They took a lot of shots of us, front and back of our T-shirts, and we also managed to get a photo with them with our own digital camera.


Me, Famitsu' s PS2 responsible and Adry-senpai, BEAMING!!!

Click here to see Famitsu' s report (japanese) featuring me and Adry-senpai with our coolest T-shirts!!!

Click here to see me again in our cool AC T-shirt on the japanese ITmedia Venice Report!!!

At the end of one of the coolest interviews ever done in history (heheheh) , they asked for our names and e-mails, and we rewarded them with our advertising card... It was coooooool!!!
Started with Famitsu, the japanese press seemed to take a hook on us, and then an employee of one of the most famous japanese newspapers (unfortunately I can' t remember the name, but so they told us... and we believe them!) went in for another interview, taking me as the starring character! Fewer questions than the LONG Famitsu interview, but, well... they were enough to fill me with a satisfaction hardly earned before!


The japanese newspaper employee interviewing my excited self

Then, it was the turn of French press (!!!) , who stormed me with questions again, letting me wonder about their unexpected interest in this sort of productions... there is always something to learn, one way or another! :-)


French press questioning about Advent Children... who would have thought that? :-)

Meanwhile, the crowd eager to watch AC got even bigger. The press and industry accreditated, as well as the special invited persons, gathered at the entrance of Sala Perla, along the three lines that separated the three different priorities of access. Fear caught me again, but I was somewhat relaxed: don' t ask me how, but I ended up being the FIRST of my line! While keeping distributing my advertising cards all over the place (and I had thought I brought too many of them with me... didn' t expect such a success) , I was just in front of the metal gate that blocked the way to the screening which was about to start. When the press/industry and the special invited began to flow in, a sort of uncalled for but spontaneous chorus began to rise in our line, to which I contributed with my voice too: "Let us in! LET US IN! LET US IN!!!"


Crowd gathered in front of the Sala Perla' s entrance

At about the same time, I came to know a really shameful thing: the accreditation office had closed, and therefore Adry-senpai, who had arrived there a bit late, couldn' t retrieve his deserved accreditation, meaning he couldn' t enter together with me........

I was speechless at the notion, but thrills and chills were permeating my entire body so that my mind kinda closed off, being focused only on the up-coming and EAGERLY-AWAITED show that I would have seen at any cost, no matter what the security would say. In the mean time, we noticed an italian fan was holding a carton-covered dossier of Advent Children, that we thought VERY VERY cool indeed. After learning where he had found it, Adry-senpai decided to use his spare time to rush downstairs and find some material too, as a lot of stuff we were told had been trashed in the B-floor of the structure, just like that dossier. And thanks to Adry' s expedition, we got it too, both in English and Italian!


The Advent Children dossier Adry-senpai succeeded in finding among the discarded items, and the scan of the first page where the release date of February 2005 is shown

Then an ovation flew amongst all the lines: Tetsuya Nomura and many others of the developing team were making their entrance into Sala Perla! I joined the claps too, only to result in an even more infatuated mood and get even more anticipation and excitement.
While waiting for the security staff to let us in, I met a manga-anime fan girl, Lara, who told me she was there to let his brother die in envy for having seen a show he would have desired to watch just as much as I would, and who gave me some hints about where the directors and staff used to go after the screenings, in order for me to make up a plan of catching them up at the end of the show. But I wasn' t thinking about it yet, obviously, for now the most important and urgent thing was only one: gaining access to Sala Perla.
And at last, the gate opened for us too, and I had the extreme honour of being THE FIRST of the cinema accreditated to cross the doorway to the screening of that Promised Day: Final Fantasy VII Advent Children "Special Edition".


The Sala Perla just a few seconds before they turned off the light...

I placed myself onto my rather central and discrete-positioned seat, I wore my spectacles in order to see perfectly, and I prepared myself for the sensational screening. The lights were soon turned off, and then... it began.

---

Chronicle of the Absolute - 25 minutes ECSTASY
WARNING: SPOILERS!!! BE CAREFUL!!!

...Darkness. We are surrounded by darkness. Then the Square-Enix logo appears in white onto the black screen. I hold my breath for a moment, in anticipation of the absolute. I say absolute, because it' s just that: what seven years ago enraptured my heart and opened towards me a whole new universe, what embued me with the passion for role-playing games, what made me cry and laugh, suffer and feel joy, what granted me utmost excitement as well as deepest sorrow, what I thought it would just end with the glimpse of a flowergirl and the roar of a sacred beast in front of mankind' s ruins, was now continuing. So no other word could suffice to render the pool of feelings I was overwhelmed with: it was absolute. Absolute happiness. Absolute fear. Absolute emotional involvement. Absolute... everything.

And it continued retelling the events I already knew, everything my mind went through during those years, everything I thought over countless times, sometimes out of longing for better understanding, sometimes out of recollecting precious memories and preventing them from vanish, sometimes just out of mere righteous contentment for remembering those moments carved into my soul. Shinra, the Mako Reactors, Lifestream, the Mako Cannon, the war against Sephiroth and Jenova, the death of the dearest person, the final descent of Meteor: the pure, innocent voice of Marlene went through all of this again. As though we could have forgotten. As though we could have forgiven.

" Lifestream. It flows all around the Planet, and it' s the origin of all life forms. The origin of everything. The Shin-Ra company exploited the Lifestream to turn it into an energy source, improving our lives.

But there were people who believed that by draining the Lifestream from the Planet, the Planet would wither and die. Those at Shin-Ra tried to silence those voices of protests that opposed them. And therefore, SOLDIERs were created by infusing the cells of the Calamity from the Skies, that had fallen into the Planet many years before.

And among them, the greatest of all was Sephiroth. However, he soon discovered his true, cursed origin. And because of that, he began to hate Shin-Ra... then he came to hate everything... Shin-Ra as well as those fighting for the Planet.

Sephiroth, drenched in hatred, began his scheme to destroy everything... And those who were struggling for the salvation of the Planet confronted him... Everyone was entangled in a bloody war.

It was then that the person we all cared most for perished, becoming one with the Lifestream.

Then the Planet, in order to stop its enemies, used the Lifestream and created WEAPON with it. The Lifestream gushed out and enveloped the Planet, and every feeling was enveloped the same way... hate... sadness... sorrow... ambition...
I thought all that sadness would have finally disappeared.

But it seems the Planet is way angrier at us than we ever thought."


It' s almost impossible for me to describe every single scene after that, so high being the pace of the motion and so intertwined and mind-scrambling the sequence of the shots the director managed to put together. Perhaps my narration will lack something, perhaps some scenes will be postponed or exchanged for one another, perhaps something will be slightly incorrect: please forgive me for that, but I really can' t help it. And if you had watched it, you would have been dazzled too when trying to remember things with the best precision.
As long as I remember, after that we see Marlene at Denzel' s bed, praying to some god:

" Please, do not take him away from me! "

The scene shifts to Tifa. She' s grown, she' s more mature, and definitely far sadder than before. She says, answering the ringing phone:

" Strife Delivery Service. What is it? "

Someone asks her of Cloud. She immediately contacts him, saying that Reno wanted to give him a job. And there he is, Cloud Strife, the hero of that time, my hero, my other self, the one so strong on one side and so begging for help on the other, the dramatis persona that was also me at that time. Yes, now I am here as he is, on the brand-new motorcycle amidst the desert plains, talking to Tifa with the mobile and abruptly closing the conversation.

But there a thrill flows through his arm, through my arm, and suddendly, the worst is unmistakably clear: Geostigma has gotten him too.

Then a battle erupts on the desert plains, against two of the three silver-haired men riding motorcycles. Loz asks Cloud: " Where is Mother? ", and Yazoo insists: " Where did you hide her, Brother??? "

And then Cloud rides his bike until he is found in a room, perhaps near the Healing Lodge or in the Healing Lodge itself. He talks to a wheel-chaired person whose face is partially obscured by the cape. Rude and Reno are with him, they seem his bodyguards. But then he strangely asks Cloud for protection. He seems somewhat related to Shinra (considering his left arm missing and the fact that Kadaj calls him " Mr. President ", he should be in fact Rufus himself) , and speaks of Sephiroth in third person. He says:

" We were investigating Sephiroth' s influence on the Planet. But it seems there isn' t anything to worry anymore. By the way, something fishy happened. The gang that attacked you, led by Kadaj, appeared. They' re not a great threat yet, but they could become dangerous. For what we know, their gang seems to be searching for their " Mother " . I need your help, ex-SOLDIER Cloud. I heard you' ve been living with orphans. Wouldn' t you like to see them smiling again? Our ultimate purpose is to restore the world, Cloud. "

Cloud refuses that work, though, saying with a low and remorseful voice:

" I' m just a courier now... I don' t do that kind of job anymore. "

The scene changes again. Now Rude and Reno are downed in the same room, and the caped man on the wheelchair is now surrounded by Kadaj and his gang. And they seem to know each other well. Actually, they seem to be a part of a greater scheme of deception. Kadaj says to Rufus:

" I hate it when someone lies to me... "

Then Rufus replies:

"Now I' ll tell you the truth. It seems it got lost along the way. "

Kadaj adds:

" Someone hid Mother away from us. That interefered with our plan. Geostigma... it' s all thanks to Mother' s genes that are running free through the Planet. But we do not know where she is now... we need her for the Reunion. "

Somewhere else, a cathedral sees two girls speaking to one another. One is Marlene, who asks Tifa:

" Is here where Cloud lives? "

" So it seems "
answers Tifa.

After noticing the bandages left on the floor, Marlene informs Tifa that Cloud is infected too. Tifa agrees, saying:

" He has decided to fight alone. No, actually... he won' t fight at all, I think. "

But the quiet graveness of that speech is early interrupted by Loz, who asks Tifa:

" Where is Mother? "

" I don' t know what you' re talking about. "

" Then we' ll have some fun together. "


Noticing Tifa is not answering his question, Loz rushes in to attack her.

After a fierce battle, she succumbs, and Marlene is kidnapped, along with all the other orphans.

Cloud arrives too late, just in time to hug the collapsed Tifa who, waking up, reveals:

" They took her! They took them away! "

He knows he has no time to waste. Even with all his hesitations, even with all his waverings, he dashes to the bike to go after them... in the Forgotten City.

Dark landscapes, silver-glowing trees show to him, plunging his soul even more into the hollow blackness.

But then, he is not there anymore riding the Fenrir, he is instead surrounded by light. Light... and flowers. An unending flowery meadow, where he stands back-to-back to someone. Someone he knows... someone who knows him. Someone who sacrificed her life for the salvation of all. Aeris Gainsborough.

A brief glimpse of Holy, the White Materia, plunging into the water of the Forgotten Capital is shown, this time from a different perspective than that we had seen in FFVII.
She greets him with these words:

" It must have taken you a considerable effort to reach this place. I' m aware of that. "

Then she says, with her innocent and pure-minded tone:

" Question! Why have you come here? "

He confesses: " ...I think that I want to be forgiven. Yes, I want to be forgiven. "

She answers: " Forgiven? By whom? You know, I never blamed you for anything. "

" But I let you die... "

" Enough of your protests... how about I say: "I forgive you" ?? What you truly have to do, is to learn to forgive yourself. "
Then she adds: " But since you' re here, I think you' re one step closer to that! "

Her voice is so light, so gentle, so comforting in her almost hilarious tone. She is reassuring him, but still... he can' t find his way. He just wants to let himself die.

Tifa had reminded him in a brief flashback of few hours before:

" You think you' ll meet her again this way? You think you would reach her by doing so? The way you die could be a good way, is that what you think??? "

" There is no cure to it, you know. "

" But look at Denzel! That boy is fighting hard against it! He is not surrendering! And you should not surrender too! We' re all here to support you as always, if you need our help!"

" I don' t think I can help anyone. Family, friends... no one. "


But when Cloud tries to turn back to see the flowergirl' s face, he is back in the forest. Then he is ambushed by Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo. He draws his sword and gets Fenrir ready for defense, but his enemies make children their shield. The children line up in front of them, between them and Cloud, forcing him to a sudden brake and a disastrous downfall.

They' ve been stirring them. They have been telling them they have the cure to their disease, that they will go against such a world that makes children suffer with Geostigma.

" You know, Mother granted me this power, the power to fight the Planet and to ease the pain of the people. Actually, everyone holds it without even knowing it. But the Planet is trying to stop us. It is trying to prevent us from healing and growing strong! That' s why you' re sick! It' s because of the Planet! But I can heal you... So, let' s join together and fight off this corrupted world! LET' S DESTROY THIS WICKED PLANET TOGETHER, AND THEN REUNITE WITH MOTHER!!! "

Cloud is on his knees, surrounded by a circle of children in the dark forest at night, having the sharp two-sided blade of Kadaj' s sword hanging above his throat.

Kadaj, looking at the defeated Cloud, says in despise, addressing the children all around them:

" You know, this person here is actually our Brother. But, unfortunately, it seems he has become a traitor. "

But an unexpected saviour arrives: a purple mantle agitates in the nocturnal air, and easily carries Cloud away from threat.

Marlene follows them. Vincent and Cloud quarrel about their different points of view. Cloud asks him what' s happening, Vincent seems to know more.

" Geostigma is the reaction of human bodies that are trying to expel some toxins... Sephiroth' s gene, Jenova' s cells, however you may want to call them. There is a thing like the Lifestream that flows in our bodies, and it is fighting against the wicked substance that has penetrated us. Geostigma is the result of all that. The Mother they are searching for is nothing else than the Calamity from the Skies, the Crisis for the Planet... now nothing more than the decapitated Jenova. They are attempting another Reunion. With the head of Jenova, they could create even another Sephiroth. "

Cloud asks Vincent: " Is it possible for a sin to be forgiven? Have you ever succeeded with yours? "

Vincent replies: " I never tried. "

And Cloud, before walking away, concludes: " If I find the answer, I' ll let you know. "

Again, Cloud wants to do things his own way, and because of this Marlene gets mad at him.

" Why don' t you ever listen to us?? " Marlene says to Cloud in disappointment.

At last, Cloud realizes what he must do, and steadies himself for a far greater struggle than he has ever fought before.

Then, a music erupts: it' s " One-winged Angel " . And the climax begins to rise.
Kadaj and the caped person on the wheelchair are on some high building, looking down at the show below them.

Creatures attack the people of that city, in the square where the Meteor-commemorating monument had been built. Children appear too, but they seem... possessed.

And Kadaj rises his left arm in the air, launching a ray of green light that pierces the clouds and flies up above them. And because of that ray, emerging from the nimbii, a monstrous figure appears, summoned from another dimension: it' s Bahamut.

Estuans interius ira vehementi...

And this equals to one of the greatest threats ever faced by men. In order to defend the population and stop the creature' s onslaught, the old party gathers again. Barret fires his morphing mechanical arm at full-throttle, in order to protect his dear Marlene.

" Is Marlene safe? Is little Marlene all right? " he asks Denzel while firing.

Red XIII leaps up to scratch Bahamut with his claws and teeth.

Yuffie parachutes from high above and, grabbing her shuriken, says in disbelief:

" Who' s using my Materia?? "

Cid swings his harpoon against the beasts, showing his reckless smile.

Denzel, seeing Vincent too, asks Tifa:

" Who is he? Who are they? "

" They' re our friends. "

Sors immanis... et inanis...

Kadaj rides his bike up to the cathedral, holding a metal box in his hands. He stops in the midst of the flower field, tenderly but maliciously whispering:

" Ah, Mother... " But then he looks inside the box, and something seems to be wrong, so that he begins to cry even loudier and angrier:

" Mother... Mother... MOTHER!!! UUUAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!"

Meanwhile, a raging motorcycle battle goes on between Yazoo and Cloud. And then the scene shifts again, showing Reno and Rude fighting Yazoo and Loz.

A very brief flashback of Zack on the truck that would have led him and Cloud to Midgar is shown, where the echoing voice of Zack asks the observer:

" Once we reach Midgar, what are you going to do, Cloud? We' re... friends... right? "

Inside his head, Cloud hears Tifa' s words, that keep reminding him:

" The strength we used in the final battle of two years ago... Remember how it felt? Remember how it was like? "

Right after that, the gentle and comforting voice of Aeris is heard again:

" Let' s go... Cloud... "

Then other scenes I can' t clearly remember alternate and overlap, until Cloud, with One-Winged Angel raging on, flies up on the sky, with a blue-green aura all around him and his sword help upwards, ascending higher and higher, using some supernatural extraordinary power. He is heading to Bahamut. Or perhaps, against an even deadlier foe.

Veni veni venias... Ne me mori facias...

The voice of Tifa is heard again while Cloud ascends, saying:

" ...Now I believe he has remembered those emotions... what it meant to be strong. "

And then an explosion, something crashing and crumbling, a skyscraper perhaps, and Cloud is forced to pierce a wall with two of his swords to keep balance, but falls and everything keeps tumbling down again.

Gloriosa generosa...

However, with two swords, one on each hand, Cloud begins to rise again and flies through the falling debris rain, while a voice says with awe-inspiring ineluctability:

" I won' t be just a memory. "

The voice of his nemesis. The voice of the one he could not get rid of yet, from his body as well as from his mind. The voice of Sephiroth, who is back and wears his old leather outfit, still wielding the Masamune, and who flies down towards the ascending Cloud, to confront him once again.

The music ends in that exact moment, just when Cloud and Sephiroth are about to collide and clash, concluding its rising pathos with:

Sephiroth!!!

And thus the credits roll.

Click here for the Italian version of the Advent Children report

In the hall, from every single person, applauses rounded thunderous, accompanied by cries like " WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!! " or similar, and my voice too added to overall excitement. I was in ecstasy. I fell into an ecstatic state, which not even the presentation of the staff members and of Nomura himself could let me snap out of. I just kept applauding like everybody else, until a voice beside me, Lara' s voice, reminded me: "C'mon, go after them, it' s your chance!"
Yes, Nomura and the others were leaving the room through the exit she had shown me before, and I didn' t waste a single instant: I rushed after them with all I had got.


Distant shot of Nomura rising in the hall... but I wasn' t satisfied with that! :-)

---

Meeting with THE MAN - Tetsuya Nomura and I

They had gone rather fast past the celebrity exit, but I ran as hard as I could, dodging the security personnel and trying to catch up with Nomura out there. Night had fallen, and there were few lights on that path out of the Sala Perla, so I lost them in sight. Stopping for a moment, and glancing at a couple of other fans who were running beside me, I cried out loud to them, breathing hard: " Where HAS Nomura GONE??? " Both of them hadn' t a clue, but then I happened to slightly turn on my left, and standing just a couple of meters from me there was HIM. He had stopped seeing the fans wanted to reach him, and now he was there for us.

Turning to him, instinctively I drew a small notebook from my bag along with a pen, and I begged him with the most humble voice I could come up with: " Do you mind an autograph? "

At first, when seeing him in the hall and during the ovations he received, I created in me a false image of his self. His perfect composure stained with a bit of apparent self-centredness, that of someone that has reached the top as he had done, and his sort of " humble vanity " in receiving the worshipping exclamations of the audience could make him seem like a haughty and distant person as a Hollywoodian star may be. But if you come to think that, well I must say you' re wrong. I, too, was wrong, and while I wax expecting some sort of refusal to signing the autograph, I received instead a most gentle answer and a most helpful attitude.

Nomura' s autograph!
Nomura' s autograph on my notebook!!! YOU CAN' T ENLARGE THIS ONE!

Hear my words: Tetsuya Nomura isn' t a haughty person at all. He is instead a very kind and helpful man, ready to acknowledge his fans' interests and wishes and so willing in doing so.


Tetsuya Nomura signing various autographs

Not only he signed me the autograph, but he made some photos with me, as well as with the other few fans that had managed to reach him!

Me and Tetsuya Nomura!!!
Me and Tetsuya Nomura!!!

Tetsuya Nomura and I!!!
Tetsuya Nomura and I!!!

He also somewhat distanced the security personnel in order not to let them interfere with the autographs/photos sessions with the fans, and he stayed there as long as there were people wanting to shake his hand or having his signature onto their books. When there were no more pens available, he also asked one of his collaborators to bring him another pen, so that he could fulfill the umpteenth request coming from another fan. A great person indeed, I assure you! He is really THE MAN!!!


Nomura posing with another fan

Some final notes about my experience in Venice: aside the extraordinary day and evening I was so blessed to have the chance to experience, I do sincerely regret that, due to the really bad organization of the Venice Festival, many fans (and I repeat, MANY) couldn' t watch Final Fantasy VII Advent Children because of that rotten system based on priorities and accreditations. Not only Adry-senpai, but even Barbara, Laura and Fabio, three professional cosplayers and FFVII fans we had the extreme pleasure to get acquainted with back then, weren' t allowed to watch the movie, for they told them there weren' t seats left for them... even though they came along the way for the sole purpose of enjoying the Advent Children world preview, just like me... Shame on you, Venice Festival' s organizators and coordinators, next time I hope you won' t repeat these unforgivable mistakes!

MISSION TO VENICE:
MISSION COMPLETE!

MISSION TO VENICE:
Cornucopia of Wonders


Adry-senpai' s add-on to the Venice Report for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children!

Click here for the Italian version of the following report

I think Daniele has been proficient enough to describle the Saturday in Venice, so I won' t add much to what he has already told you. For what Saturday is concerned I guess I' ll just say that despite having called 2-3 times at least the accreditation office just to make sure to have the chance to get in, I couldn' t watch the evening screening because... the accreditation office used to close at 18:00! Absurd, if you think that the screenings usually are scheduled up to 22:00... a lot of people had the same problem, unfortunately. I just got the luck of retrieving some stuff actually reserved for press and best of all of meeting other " excluded " ones who shared with me the same passion for the Final Fantasy VII universe. Well, the Venice Festival' s organization SUCKS!!!
Luckily, September the 5th Sunday morning I managed to get in. I won' t describe here the rush among the Venice alleyways at dawn in order to hop onto the first boat to the Lido, the only thing that matters is that I' ve succeeded... and I' ve SEEN. Daniele has described almost everything, I just helped him remember some more. The only IMPORTANT thing that I care to point out is a detail we always had under our noses throughout all these years and that we - together with all the FFVII players that I know of - couldn' t notice before: the Eyes. Read the following poem, unrelated to FFVII:

And what you believed it was, no more it is

Your eyes see things that are new

With eyes each time new

With eyes each time alive

And they know that all is needed to you

Is just a world that may listen to you


Pay close attention to the Eyes of the Advent Children' s cast: did you notice anything suspicious?? It' s not a silly little thing, it' s a relevant detail that I think will help us understand what' s really happening in the world of FFVII two years after the Great Battle... if you feel like answering this riddle, please use the Forum. Let' s see who paid the closest attention... of course Daniele doesn' t count for I have let him notice myself!

After the encore screening, I was interviewed by the japanese Dengeki Playstation Magazine (out in Japan on 09/24) . There were other fans beside me, but I distinguished myself thanks to the Tribute T-shirt we had early created for the Event. Later, I succeeded in getting some more press material (that had been trashed into the recycling bins) , among which an invitation for the "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Champagne Brunch" in the Stella Artois Balcony in front of the Casino shined on its own!! I attended this meeting that was originally precluded to public (only press was allowed in) , and once there I was able to grab some dossiers bearing the same written text as those I had already got my hands on before. Moreover, I asked Nomura to autograph one of these for me... he actually draws even when autographing!! Still unsatisfied, I attended the press conference during which some " upgraded " dossiers were being distributed, that included a mysterious cd bearing the FFVII: AC logo. I had hoped for a dvd with some new trailers... actually they were cd-roms full of images already dispatched and on-line on our site, the only difference is that they were HIGH-RESOLUTION versions of the former and therefore they were about 22 MB each... too much for an on-line upload! While I reveled sipping an excellent cup of Dom Perignon, the inverview began. Questions were extrememly disappointing, and it was a pity that I didn' t prepare some earlier on for I wasn' t expecting at all to be able to assist the conference (usually press conferences are held in a dedicated room, totally forbidden to those who are not journalists. But I, well... I can reach ANYPLACE :-)) . Then I had to run in order not to lose the last boat for the train station before the departure of my train, so I didn' t attend the last part of the interview at the end of which Square-Enix closed the cornucopia of wonders in Venice and came back to Japan. Someone asked the productor, the scenario-writer, the director and the co-director " whether the Geostigma that afflicts Children reflects some modern-days problems of the contemporary society... " urgh! The only other matter I clearly remember (one of the few questions arisen from an audience of mysteriously silent journalists... perhaps because each of them had already interviewed Nomura privately) was from a man who asked the productor if they knew other digital movies where they got the inspiration from. Then I had to go, with an amazing final surprise that gave satisfaction to my still hungry otaku passion: exiting the Balcony look who' s here?? The hostesses, who after recognizing the utmost fan within me didn' t hesitate to fill me with posters they had laid hidden until 14:30.

Well, the mission to Venice was a total success in each of its aspects. Aside the movie (ABSOLUTE) , I was really satisfied for I met for the first time real flesh-and-bone old-fashioned people sharing my same passions, my same interests, and coming from all over Italy (and not only Italy!!) . Many new ideas came up to me, I met a lot of new and interesting fellows, and we got a lot more material to work on to while we' ll wait for the release of the completed movie!

Click here for the Italian version of the above report

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