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The Venice Intl. Film Festival has made all the difference for some small films. Whether or not they’ve scored fest kudos, various niche pics have subsequently shown up on the radar Stateside. Here’s a snapshot:


  • The Venice jury may have had a short-term memory with “Memento,” but the noir thriller has become well instilled in the minds of American arthouse auds. Total domestic B.O.: $24 million.

    n Julian Schnabel’s biopic “Before Night Falls,” about Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, grabs the Grand Special Jury Prize and a kudo for Javier Bardem’s performance. Early word of mouth places the film on the Oscar fast track, particularly for Bardem, who grabs a best actor nomination.

  • Early buzz also works in favor of fest nominee “I Cento passi” (100 steps), which is selected as one of the Golden Globe nominees for best foreign-language film.


  • “Run Lola Run,” a hip, slick thriller, conquered the U.S. summer arthouse circuit and helped German helmer Tom Tykwer’s star rise Stateside as a result of this Venice film festival bow.

  • Arnand Tucker’s second film, “Hilary and Jackie,” about cellist Jackie du Pre, fails to win kudos at the fest, but the pic goes on to nab best actress and supporting actress Oscar noms, respectively, for Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths.


  • A nine-member festival jury headed by Roman Polanski is put on the defense by critics after bestowing 4-year-old Victoire Thivisol the Volpi Cup actress award for her performance in the French film “Ponette.” Her moving portrayal of a preschooler grieving her mother’s death has jury members likening her to Meryl Streep. A slightly older Thivisol will resurface alongside Juliette Binoche in 2000’s “Chocolat.”


  • The world becomes fully aware of Peter Jackson and Kate Winslet. Aussie helmer Jackson is lauded with a Silver Lion for his pic “Heavenly Creatures.” He will go on to direct the upcoming tentpole franchise “The Lord of the Rings” and Winslet would go on to woo DiCaprio and $1 billion in global B.O. for 1997’s “Titanic.”


  • Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 10-hour epic “Decalogue” sees the light of day at the fest, where it nabs a Fipresci award. The Polish television series won’t appear on American screens until 2000.