TRIESTE FILM FESTIVAL – 26th edition
16-22 January 2015
The Trieste Film Festival is back. In its 26th edition, Italy’s leading event dedicated to the cinema of Central and Eastern Europe, and directed by Annamaria Percavassi and Fabrizio Grosoli, is expanding, lasting an extra day, after the huge audience success of last year. The Festival will take place at the Teatro Miela and the vast auditorium of the Sala Tripcovich in Largo Santos.
The programme, as usual, will include three competitive sections (Features; Shorts; and Documentaries), as well as special events, tributes and meetings (the ones for the public and the press will take place at the Antico Caffè San Marco).
Krzysztof ZANUSSI will be among the Festival guests, holding a much-anticipated master-class on 18th January and in Trieste to present the Italian première of his latest film OBCE CIAŁO (Foreign Body), a psychological drama that also looks at contemporary Poland – an Italian co-production partly shot in Italy.
The Festival opens on 16th January at the Sala Tripcovich with DVE ŽENŠČINY (Two Women), by Russian director Vera Glagoleva, and starring the world-renowned English actor Ralph Fiennes (famous for his portrayals of Voldemort in the Harry Potter saga, for taking over the role of ‘M’ in the James Bond franchise, but also starring in many other major features such as Strange Days, Red Dragon, Grand Budapest Hotel) and French actress Sylvie Testud.
The film – an international première – is a sumptuous costume drama, and is inspired by Turgenev’s play “A Month in the Country”, set in mid-eighteenth century Russia, on the estate of a rich landowner, where a family friend returns from a journey abroad, but is ignored. Everyone is taken by the newly-appointed private tutor. Two women have immediately fallen for his charm: Natalya and Vera, her stepdaughter. Natalya is about to turn thirty and has been a devout wife and mother, but her life is now upset by a whirlwind of love and jealousy.
The three international competitions represent the core of the Festival and every year they showcase the most interesting productions emerging from the countries usually associated with the Festival. This year the prizes for Best Feature, Best Short and Best Documentary will again be awarded by the audience.
All films in the INTERNATIONAL FEATURE COMPETITION are Italian premières. Among the most notable ones, we would like to highlight the following: UROK (The Lesson) by Bulgarian directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, which has received prizes in many international festivals (including San Sebastian). It tells the story of Nadežda, a young teacher who tries to instil in her students values that she herself finds hard to adhere to in her private life; SIMINDIS KUNDZULI (Corn Island) by George Ovashvili, winner of the Grand Prix and the Ecumenical Jury Prize at the 2014 Karlovy Vary Festival, has been shortlisted for this year’s Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film. The Enguri river marks the border between Georgia and the Republic of Abkhazia: tensions between the two nations have never eased since the 1992-93 war, and the film’s story begins when an old Abkhazian peasant arrives at one of the islands, which becomes one of the film’s characters...
VIKTORIA by Maya Vitkova (another Bulgarian film-maker, confirming the excellent health cinema is currently enjoying in that country) was presented at the Sundance Festival. It is a paradigmatic story of a little girl – in the director’s own words – “who was born without an umbilical cord – and therefore without a bond with the mother who gave birth to her – as a clear indication of how we lose the most intimate part of ourselves”.
VARVARI (Barbarians) by Ivan Ikić, featuring non-professional actors, received a special mention at the last Karlovy Vary Festival; CESTA VEN (The Way Out) by Petr Václav, is about the impossible future of a young Romani woman and the gap between rich and poor in the Czech Republic; RISTTUULES (In the Crosswind) by Estonian Martti Helde, tells the story of how, in 1941, tens of thousands of people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, were ordered by Stalin to be deported from their homes, to purge the Baltic States (the film was presented in Toronto). DREVO (The Tree) by Slovenian Sonja Prosenc, is the story of a shelter that turns into a prison; KOSAC (The Reaper) by Zvonimir Jurić – a Croatian/Slovenian co-production – was presented at Toronto last year, and recounts three stories which take place over the course of a single night portraying a dark picture of Croatia – a country still stalled and influenced by the war. The Reaper won the Golden Arena for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography at the 2014 Pula Festival.
Finaly, STO SPITI (At Home) by Greek director Athanasios Karanikounalas is an individual story set against the economic crisis, and won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival Forum in 2014.
Among the 19 SHORTS selected to compete in the TFF Best Short Prize, there is the Italian LA BI CI (The Bike) by Giorgio Borgazzi, set in some ghostly Milanese suburbs – a disquieting portrait of Italy at the time of the crisis; from Serbia, MARIJINA EPIZODA (Maria’s Episode) by Sanja Živković, starring the great actress Milena Dravić, and DIVAN DAN ZA BANANARIBE (A Perfect[TA1] Day for Bananafish) by Stefan Malešević – about a Kosovo war veteran, and loosely inspired by J.D. Salinger’s homonymous short story; from Hungary A KIVÉGZÉS (The Execution) by Petra Szőcs, where three children play out the execution of the Romanian dictator Ceausescu. This year there will also be two special events not in competition: LOST IN BOSNIA – the first film produced by film.factory - the cinema school directed by the great Hungarian director Béla Tarr in Sarajevo, and realised by the school’s 11 directors/students; and LA RESTITUZIONE (The Restitution), a short film realised as part of the “Hall of Mirrors” project, which took place between Trieste and Momjan in Croatia, devised by Ivan Bormann and Fabio Toich from the association ‘Drop Out’.
There will also be a non-competitive selection of 11 animation shorts. We’d like to mention: Polish HIPOPOTAMY (Hippos) by Piotr Dumała, one of the most important animation directors; Italian LA VALIGIA (The Suitcase) by Pier Paolo Paganelli, featuring the voice of Roberto Herlitzka; and TRII MELODII (Three Melodies) by the great Russian director Garri Bardin, whose animation feature Gadkij Utenok (The Ugly Duckling) was shown at the 2011 TFF.
The International DOCUMENTARY Competition presents 9 works, from the countries that are traditionally represented at the TFF. These are all Italian premières, except INTERNAT by Maurilio Mangano – a Sicilian director who has relocated to Georgia – which will receive its international première at the TFF. INTERNAT is a reflection on the enforced loss of one’s places of origin, including the families of Georgian refugees, who fled the war in Abkhazia and are now living in an Internat (a college) - an occupied former school.
AL DOILEA JOC (The Second Game) is by Corneliu Porumboiu, a well-known Romanian director whose work has often been included in previous editions of the TFF. Presented at the Berlin Film Festival Forum last year, AL DOILEA JOC is about a football match, a derby between Bucharest’s two clubs - Steaua and Dinamo - which took place on 3rd December 1988. The director’s father was the referee. Together they watched the match again, 25 years later.
GOLI (Naked Island) by Croatian director Tiha K. Gudac is a quest built on the ruins of the past; a mosaic of clues, family pictures and intimate accounts of a group of people who were deported to the same place – a political prison in the former Yugoslavia, known as the “Island of desperate souls” and on the consequences that this has left on three generations.
The disturbing plot of KÁIN GYERMEKEI (Cain's Children) by Hungarian Marcell Gerő introduces us to three boys, three young killers, whose story had been told in a 1984 documentary which had been banned by the censors, and whom the director goes to find 30 years later to discover unmentionable secrets, to reveal a completely unknown side of Hungary.
CHICHO TONI, TRIMATA GLUPACI I DS (Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service) by Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova (Bulgaria) is a tale about an era of espionage and the remarkable animation director Antoni Trayanov; a scandalous case behind one of Socialism’s best-known exports – animation – revealing a heart-breaking human story. KULLAKETRAJAD (The Gold Spinners) by Kiur Aarma and Hardi Volmer (an Estonian/Finnish co-production) is about the birth, the golden years and the demise of the Eesti Reklaamfilm studios – the only company to produce commercials in the Soviet Union.
PĂDUREA (The Forest), a Romanian/Serbian co-production directed by Siniša Dragin, is a story of espionage stemming from a painting (The Leafless Forest) gifted to Tito by the Romanian Communist regime in 1947. In the Sixties an art critic intends to write a monograph, but will instead discover embarrassing secrets.
SOMETHING BETTER TO COME, by Hanna Polak, follows for 20 years the life of Yula, who lives in Europe’s biggest rubbish dump on the outskirts of Moscow.
Finally, ZAMATOVÍ TERORISTI (Velvet Terrorists) by Pavol Pekarčík, Ivan Ostrochovský and Peter Kerekes is the story of three men who engaged in the armed resistance against the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and who wanted to become heroes. ZAMATOVÍ TERORISTI, presented both at Karlovy Vary and Berlin, also features in the Born in Trieste section, where the Festival pays homage to the best films to have emerged from WEMW.
Among the documentaries, there are also 3 important events not in competition.
DEN’ POBEDY (Victory Day) by Alina Rudnickaja, is an important political statement, for being the first totally independent (and clandestine) film shot in Russia about the gay question. In 2013 the Duma approved a law against homosexuality: while on the streets a military parade marches on, the characters in their flats talk about how their lives have changed since the law came into being. “After the Jews and the homosexuals”, one of them says, “the only thing that’s missing is a law against witches”.
Worthy of mention is the dazzling collective work EVROMAIDAN. CHORNOVY MONTAZH (Euromaidan. Rough Cut) – a large group of young Ukrainian film-makers gave its material to director Roman Bondarchuk, who edited it into a collection of cinematic stories. The result is a powerful and detailed account about the Ukrainian uprising.
Slovenian ŽIVETI KAMEN (Living Stone) by Jurij Gruden is a profound and intimate story about the bond that exists between the people of the Karst and its characteristic stone.
The ART & SOUND section is organised in collaboration with SkyArte. The following works will be shown: KONTRAPUNKT (Counterpoint) by Andrzej Papuziński is about Polish artist Michał Batory, who has become famous in the field of artistic posters in France since the 1980s; MAGICKÝ HLAS REBELKY (The Magic Voice of a Rebel) by Olga Sommerová - one of the most important Czech documentary makers - is the story of Marta Kubišová, the singer who became the symbol of freedom in Communist Czechoslovakia; PEREKRESTOK (Crossroads), by Anastasija Mirošničenko centres on the life of a homeless artist who lives in a train station and who has been painting images for over 20 years around the streets of the city of Gomel, in Belarus; ROCKS IN MY POCKETS, by Latvian director Signe Baumane (currently living in New York), is an attempt to portray her personal story and that of the women in her family, and their battle with mental illness, in a funny way. The feature film is an original mix of traditional techniques and animation, and was shown at Karlovy Vary.
V TICHU (In Silence) by Zdeněk Jiráský is a reflection on the nightmare of Nazi rule in Slovakia and on the power of music. Consisting of real images, memories and fantasies, this is a docu-fiction on the lives of some Jewish musicians in Czechoslovakia and Germany, who were persecuted during the Holocaust. And finally ŽIVAN PRAVI PANK FESTIVAL (Živan Makes a Punk Festival), by Ognjen Glavonić, is a portrait of Živan, the organiser of a punk music festival in his small village in Serbia, always losing money in the process, yet never giving up.
Sky Arte HD, the first Italian TV channel entirely dedicated to Art in all its forms, which can be viewed in Italy on Sky channels 120 and 400, will be present at the TFF with two original productions which it will broadcast in January and February: PIERO CIAMPI-POETA, ANARCHICO, MUSICISTA (Pietro Ciampi – Poet, Anarchist and Musician) and PROG REVOLUTION.
The documentary PIERO CIAMPI-POETA, ANARCHICO, MUSICISTA is a portrait of the singer-songwriter from Livorno, thirty-five years since his death. It will be premièred on Sky Arte HD on Monday 19th January at 10.10pm and will be shown at the Festival on Friday 16th at 10.30pm at the Sala Tripcovich. Fellow Livornese singer-songwriter Bobo Rondelli narrates, creating an intimate portrait of Ciampi’s life. We see him walking the streets of Livorno, reading Ciampi’s interviews, his love letters, poems and various statements.
PROG REVOLUTION – an original Sky Arte production – traces the golden age of Italian Prog Rock through interviews with the protagonists of the era, and will be premièred on Sky Arte HD on Wednesday 18th February at 9.10pm (the Festival will show it on Tuesday 20th January at 8.15pm at the Teatro Miela). The protagonists of PROG REVOLUTION are the musicians, artists, photographers and record producers who have made Italian Prog Rock and who, through their creativity and their desire to be challenged, tried to change the world through music. Among them are composer and record producer Mauro Pagani, who collaborated for decades with Fabrizio De Andrè; the PFM band of Franz di Cioccio, Franco Mussida and Patrick Djivas; Paolo Tòfani, who followed an intense and uninterrupted spiritual journey after his experience with the AREA band; and Eugenio Finardi, a well-established musician and singer-songwriter who has always been happy to embrace innovation in his music from the very start of his career. These are just a few of the distinguished narrators in a documentary which tells an incredible story – that of Milan in the years when “everything seemed possible”.
The PFM band and Bobo Rondelli will be attending the Festival as guests.
The non-competitive section SORPRESE DI GENERE/GENRE SURPRISES aims at broadening the Festival’s interest towards new "popular" trends emerging from the cinema production of Central and Eastern Europe; films which turned into box-office hits in their countries are shown here to an international audience. Four titles are presented this year (all Italian premières). They are: SZABADESÉS (Free Fall) by Hungarian György Pálfi - six independent and grotesque stories (Special Jury Prize and Best Director at last year’s Karlovy Vary Festival); the comedy SPOMENIK MAJKLU DŽEKSONU (Monument to Michael Jackson) by Darko Lungulov, set in a decadent Serbian town in which an old monument of the Communist era is removed from the square and someone (for love) thinks of replacing it with one to Michael Jackson; DIE WÄLDER SIND NOCH GRÜN (The Woods Are Still Green) by Marko Naberšnik, an Austrian/Slovenian co-production set at the time and in the places (in Slovenia) of the First World War, seen through the eyes of Italy’s enemies (the final sequence was shot in the Museum in Caporetto, currently in Slovenia and known as Kobarid).
The last film in the SORPRESE DI GENERE/GENRE SURPRISES section will also be the Festival’s closing film - MIASTO 44 (Warsaw 44) by Jan Komasa (Poland) is the biggest Polish cinema production of 2014. A story of love, friendship and adventure during the brutal and bloody Warsaw uprising of 1944.
The LUX PRIZE ranks among the new features of the 2015 edition. The Festival will show the films connected with the prize.
The Lux Prize was launched in 2007, 50 years since the Treaty of Rome, and is awarded annually by the European Parliament to a film produced in Europe. The 87,000 euros awarded to the winning film are given so that it be subtitled in all 23 official languages of the EU and also to produce a copy for each member state.
Eight of the ten films selected by the prize panel will be shown at the Teatro Miela. These will include: LE MERAVIGLIE (The Wonders) by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy/Switzerland/Germany); TURIST (Force Majeure) by Ruben Östlund (Sweden/Denmark/France/Norway - shortlisted for the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film); BANDE DE FILLES (Girlhood) by Céline Sciamma (France); FEHER ISTEN (White God), by Kornél Mundruczó (Hungary/Germany/Sweden), which will be released in Italian cinemas (distributed by Bolero Film) from February; and IDA (Poland/Denmark) - the 2014 Lux Prize winner.
Set in the Sixties, Ida is the story of a young orphan girl and was directed by Paweł Pawlikowski (who has also co-authored the script with Rebecca Lenkiewicz). The film has scooped up a lot of prizes, including the European Film Award for Best Film, Best Director, Best Script and Best Cinematography (to Justine Wright) and the FIPRESCI Award at Toronto. Ida has been shortlisted for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes.