The 20th edition of the Trieste Film Festival, 15-22 January 2009

    From Madonna to James Joyce: TRIESTE FILM FESTIVAL celebrates the 20TH edition- from 15TH to 22ND January- with a packed programme.



    Press release


    With about 150 films - many of which receiving their international and national premieres here - and including feature films and documentaries in competition, retrospectives, homages, new sections dedicated to specific national schools of cinema from Central and Eastern Europe, thematic evenings and concerts, Alpe Adria Cinema offers its annual appointment with Trieste Film Festival, which this year will run from 15th to 22nd January 2009, as usual under the artistic directorship of Annamaria Percavassi. The most wide-ranging and richest Italian event expressly dedicated to the film industries of Central and Eastern Europe this year reaches its 20th edition. This anniversary coincides with an epoch-making event in our recent history: the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that has marked the new balances of Europe and of the whole world; years packed with transformations and closely observed by the Trieste Film Festival itself, providing an ideal framework for a meeting between East and West, and a fruitful venue for exchanges and meetings in hard, dramatic years, such as those of the war-years in the former Yugoslavia.

    A long evening will be dedicated to the fall of the Wall, with films, period documents and an exceptional protagonist who will talk of ‘his' Berlin, repeating a voyage undertaken in 1981 to a city submitted to division. MASSIMO ZAMBONI - who after his trip would form a punk rock group from Emilia called CCCP with Giovanni Lindo Feretti - returns to the Festival with an intense reading and concert and with an exceptional gift: the composition of the original theme music for the 2009 edition.

    Among the new features this year is EASTWEEK - new talents, great masters, a project involving the film academies from the CEI zone and foreseeing the arrival of many young creators from Central and Eastern Europe to participate in the public masterclasses on techniques of directing, acting and script-writing given in Trieste by major film-makers of the zone. The well-known Polish actor and director, Jerzy Stuhr, will hold a masterclass entitled "The making of an art film" (Friday 16th January), while on Saturday 17th, Andrzej Zulawski returns to the festival after his retrospective of 2003 with "Conversations with cinemai", and the celebrated Hungarian director, Marta Meszaros, speaks of of "Directors from Eastern Europe" (Sunday 18th). To conclude the three days, there will be a screening on Monday 19th January of the diploma films of Roman Polanski, Wim Wenders and Martin Scorsese, in a meeting held by Dinko Tucakovic "From film students to cult directors".


    This first film by Madonna was given its world premiere at the 2008 Venice Film Festival, but it has never been released in Italy. Madonna has never concealed her passion for cinema and in the wake of several experiences as actress, the singer decided to direct and produce a film of her own. It stars the front-man of the Gogol Bordello group, Eugene Hutz, who maintains his real Ukrainian origins in the film. A gypsy punk comedy, the film takes the vicissitudes of the three protagonists as its starting point as they struggle in 1980s London to make a name for themselves. It is full of ironic self-quotations and rich in fragmentary visions in which Madonna gives free rein to her passion for art with a highly personal taste for the absurd. With their stories, the characters tell their stories with sincerity, without false moralism and with bold irony. A.K. (Eugene Hutz, much admired by Madonna) especially stands out:a rebellious gypsy who is passionate about literature as well as music, he is not above satisfying, upon payment, the rather sick desires of luckless people who knock at his door to be whipped, beaten or simply maltreated.

    The three competitive sections of the festival will, as occurs every year, seek to document and interpret the most original trends from Central and Eastern Europe, indicating the new directions being adopted by the film industries of these areas. The International Feature Film Competition presents about a dozen fiction feature films as Italian premieres, chosen from the most significant new works of the past two years in countries from the areas explored by the Festival. As usual, the works in competition will come from a wide range of countries - Poland, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, Austria, Ukraine, Bosnia Herzegovina, France, Switzerland, Kazakhstan... - and feature the presence of numerous international co-productions.

    Among the many, it is worth mentioning the presence of TULPAN, the first work by Sergey Dvortsevoy of Kazakhstan, who won first prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 61st Cannes Film Festival, together with many other international prizes. The presence of this film at the Trieste Festival, the Italian premiere, anticipates its release in Italy by BIM by several months.

    Another film shortly to be released in Italian cinemas, following its Italian premiere at the Festival, is WOLKE 9 (Cloud nine): the East German director, Andreas Dresen, returns with a film that has already been much praised by public and critics in Germany, and which breaks the taboo of sex in old age, presenting scenes of couple of lovers who are over 70 that are initially very shocking and explicit. The feature film competition includes such leading film makers as Kornél Mundruczó, the Czech Petr Zelenka, considered one of the most interesting names in Czech cinema of the past ten years, the celebrated Austrian dramatist, Klaus Händl, the great polish director, Jerzy Skolimowski and another Polish director, Malgoska Szumowska.

    The International Short Film Competition this year again offers about 20 works in film, produced over the past two years, with films from 15 Central and Eastern European countries. Also present will be the International Documentaries Competition, reserved for the best documentaries covering the areas of traditional interest to the Festival, with particular attention also for recent Italian production; all the films screened appear as Italian premieres.

    It is also worth noting the varied Cinema Zones section, which aims to illustrate the relationship between cinema and the geographic area of the region in which the Festival is held. Among the events presented, note the world premiere of a documentary entitled MEDUSA. Storie di uomini sul fondo (Stories of men on the seabed), directed by Fredo Valla (remembered for his script for another film "Il vento fa il suo giro"), from an idea by Triestine journalist Pietro Spirito, author of the novel "Un corpo sul fondo" (Guanda, 2007). Medusa is the name of an Italian submarine of the Second World War torpedoed by the British submarine, Thorn on 30th January 1942, in the Adriatic Sea off Pula, Istria. 14 men survived and found themselves at a depth of 30 metres, imprisoned in the stern of the submarine. It was not possible to save them. Medusa is a highly unusual historical documentary that makes use of various genres: film shot at the time, archive film, propaganda film and animations in a style somewhere between ex votos, Karel Zeman and Liebig figurines. The section will also present extraordinary figures who left this region to seek their fortunes, as in the case of Il perdente gentiluomo (The Gentleman loser), Antonio Centa, who left his native Friuli to become a star in Rome; his adventure is told with an unmistakable and gentle touch by Gloria De Antoni and Oreste De Fornari.

    Another eagerly-awaited section is the presentation of films made with the help of the Film Commission of Friuli Venezia Giulia: to close the programme as a SPECIAL CLOSING EVENT will be a major co-production between east and west by the charismatic Miki Manojlovic (the famous Belgrade-born actor favoured by such directors as Paskaljevic and Kusturica, best European actor for his part in Irina Palm and one of the stars of The demons of Saint Petersburg) and his therapeutic journey across Europe with his young grandson, the final chapter of which takes place in Trieste. Stephan Komandarev's films (The World is big and Salvation lurks around the Corner) presented with success in numerous international festivals, arrives for its Italian premiere to close the Festival. Also on the last day of the Festival is the world premiere of Corso Salani's latest work, "Le vite possibili" ("Possible lives").


    Among the events of the 2009 edition is a comprehensive homage to JAMES JOYCE: for the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Volta Cinema in Dublin (which legend claims to have been the first in Ireland), a major event will be offered entitled 1909-2009: from Trieste to Dublin - J. Joyce and the Volta Cinema, curated by Elisabetta D'Erme, John McCourt and Erik Schneider, and dedicated to the pioneering enterprise of some bold Triestine businessmen and of the Irish writer. It will include an exhibition, a retrospective comprising films, a congress and a scriptwriting contest. Illustrious speakers for the congress, celebrated figures for the retrospective, reconstructions of settings and a musical accompaniment for the period screenings, unpublished documents to be discovered, a contest and prize for the best scripts inspired by a Joycian text; in short, the world of Joyce and the world of cinema combined to recreate and rediscover the atmosphere of a period of absolute innovative fervour.

    One hundred years ago, Trieste was full of cinemas: between 1905 and 1918 alone, 35 cinemas were opened. The cinema fever began with the itinerant projectors of films, who were already arriving in Trieste by 1896. The first permanent cinema in the city dates from 1905, and was much frequented by the young family of the Irish writer who had moved to Trieste in that year with his lover, Nora Barnacle. When Joyce realised, in 1909, that in contrast with Trieste, Dublin had no real cinema to offer, he hurried to propose Ireland as a market to a group of businessmen, offering his personal assistance and expertise in loco. The special event dedicated to Joyce takes its starting point from the anniversary of the opening in Dublin of what legend states to be the first cinema in Ireland: the Volta Cinema, opened on 20th December 1909 at 45, Mary Street. The enterprise was backed by funds made available to James Joyce by three Triestine businessmen who were already active in this field: Antonio Machnich, Giuseppe Caris and Giovanni Rebez.

    But the 20th edition of the Festival will also provide a unique opportunity to (re)discover Greek cinema of the past 10 years, painting a picture of a country undergoing profound transformation. These films reveal new problems associated with daily life and the recent waves of immigration from Albania and the former Soviet Union to the outlying areas of cities. These are the stories that this section deliberately examines, leaving aside the works of Panaiotopoulos, Voulgaris and above all Anghelopoulos, who remains a milestone in the Greek film industry but is for this reason able to overshadow the other film makers who work, experiment with and seek new languages and horizons in Greece.

    The GREEK CINEMA: FILMS FROM THE EDGE section presents eight feature films by established directors and eight shorts by young and promising new talent. The themes explored range from tales of great social impact (Giannaris, Ioannou, Ekonomides, Antoniou and Anastopoulos) to a mixture of folkloristic and mythological elements (Avdeliodis, Karkanevatos), and a nostalgic, intimate approach (Panayotopoulou). In demonstration of the vitality of Greek cinema, the Festival will also present, as part of the competition and in its Italian premiere, Thanos Anastopoulos' second film, Diorthosi (Correction), already presented at the Berlin Festival and selected to compete as best foreign film at the Academy Awards. This film is perhaps the surprise of 2008: a courageous independent production that fights against all stereotypes of national, family, relgious and cultural identity.

    A further stimulating section this year is offered by MURI DEL SUONO - sound(e)scapes of possibilities, a journey without destination offering penetrating, ironic and sometimes provocative glances into the way music is produced, used and lived outside the major media circuits. Starting with the now classic documentary by Lech Kowalski about a community of Polish punks who make army boots to get by (The Boot Factory), we move on to a gothic festival in Central Europe (Castle Party 2006, by Arthur Schmidt), with a crowd demonstrating - and singing - against the election of the Bielorussian president Lukashenko (Music Partisans, by Miroslaw Dembinski), and forwards and backwards in time to the first and historic disk by the Slovene punk band, (Pankrti - Dolgcajt, by Igor Zupe). The voyage continues through the sounds of Central and Eastern Europe of recent years, amidst a medley of heavy metal, hip hop, electronic music and much more.

    Finally, it is worth mentioning the completion and conclusion of the series started in the last edition dedicated to the discovery of the oeuvre of the great fim maker, Borowczyk, entitled ASSOCIAZIONI IMPREVEDIBILI. IL CINEMA DI WALERIAN BOROWCZYK (Unpredictable associations. The cinema of Walerian Borowczyk). The selection, curated by Alberto Pezzotta, regards the best cartoons by the Polish director adopted by France, rounded off with a few ‘real-life' films that are the most representative of the work of this craftsman of the desire and depiction of the body, and completed with a volume entirely dedicated to his work. This section offers not only many short cartoons but also the director's only feature-length cartoon, and represents a unique opportunity to dive into the cinematographic universe of this master of animation, who graduated from the Fine Arts Academy of Warsaw, started work drawing posters for the film industry and then, after moving to Paris, became famous in the 1970s for his erotic films.

    A further homage will this year take a look at GIACOMO GENTILOMO, the director who was for a long time forgotten and worked with the most varied genres in the Italian film industry, in a continuous cross-fertilisation of registers and stiles characterising all his work. Few know his name but many have seen his films: works such as ‘O sole mio and I fratelli Karamazoff, classics of parochial cinema like Macisti with its horror and psychedelic overtones, serials like La cieca di Sorrento (to mention just a few titles) are part of the collective imagination of generations of Italians. The Trieste Film Festival's homage constitutes a right and proper act of recognition on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, which took place in 1909 in Trieste.

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    Last modified on 19-01-2009