Archive for the ‘Torino Film Festival’ Category

Rodeo (2022) Jury Award + Best Actress | Turin International Film Festival 2022 |

Dir.: Lola Quivoron; Cast: Julie Ledrou, Antonia Buresi, Yannis Lafki, Ahmed Hamdi, Dave Nsaman Okebwan, Loius Sutton; France 2022, 104 min.

Lola Quivoron made her Cannes debut with a provocative tour-de-force of daring motorcycle stunts and a heroine, who behind her tough facade, is a feminist fighter in a world of macho men.

Rodeo has much the same striking visual allure as Julia Docournau’s Palme d’Or winner Titane, particularly in the cold blue and green aesthetic; both directors graduated from La Fémis. Titane daringly explored obsession between a woman and her car, Rodeo has a more humane angle but Quivoron’s heroine often falls too easily onto her feet given the difficult path she has chosen .

A shouty opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the feature: We briefly meet Julia (Ledru) before she disappears, obviously homeless. On an illegal racecourse in the countryside, she embarks on a vain attempt to kick start motorbike stunt racing with a gang of macho ‘dirt riders’. But disaster strikes early when one of the guys Abra (Okebwan) has an accident and later dies in the hospital -“they pulled the plug on him” comments one of his friends.

Julia is able to connect with the big boss Domino, who operates a ‘swiping’ ring involving expensive motor cycles from the seclusion of his prison cell. She persuades him to let her sleep in the garage, where the gang’s top of the range machines are housed. For this, Julia has to swipe on order a motor cycle the boss has his eye on. Julia will fill her bag with small stones, telling the owner of the motor cycle she will just have a quick go on one of the bikes, leaving him her bag “with my keys, identity and credit cards”. Julia will repeat this modus-operandi successfully throughout the film. The guys in the garage, among them Kais (Lafki), Mous (Hamdi), and Ben (Sutton), are not sure how to take Julia.  there’s definite frisson with Kais, but the chemistry fizzles with her and Domino’s long-suffering wife Ophélie (Buresi) and Domino soon cottons on to the situation. Rodeo culminates with a high octane robbery – re allong that famous scene in Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines – with a massive trailer of glossy motorcycles, unfolding like a ballet sequence, using quad bikes. But Quivoron has a dramatic yet poetic ending in store for her heroine Julia.

Rodeo is a rollercoaster ride, but Julia’s temper tantrums often show her vulnerability. She cannot allow herself any feelings for the opposite sex, hiding behind her men-eating persona. But her desired liaison with Ophélie is doomed. Somehow we see a perverse Cinderella motive: Julia wants to be invited to the ball of motorbikes and mayhem – but because of her gender she is reduced to the villain of the piece. The daring stunts provide the cut and thrust of Quivoron’s lesbian themed arthouse drama but, the heart and soul is Julia’s search for an identity not determined by gender.AS

JURY AWARD + BEST ACTRESS AWARD – JULIE LEDROU | TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022

It was a Sunday evening in November (2022) Turin International Film Festival 2022

Dir: Lina Wertmüller | Doc, TV 120′

It went almost unnoticed outside Italy that earthquake that struck the southern Irpinia region on a Sunday evening in November 1981.

But filmmaker Lina Wertmüller, who blazed a trail through Italian cinema during the Seventies with hits like Swept Away, was there with her camera recording human tragedy in a nation continually rocked by seismic disaster. And this was just another incident that would go down in history. More lives lost. A government repeating that lessons would be learnt. But they never were.

Just a year after her death Italian Television pays tribute to the pioneering director with a restoration of the made for TV documentary: È una domenica sera di novembre which aired a year later on RAI TV2 and during Turin International Film Festival 2022

The Roman-born filmmaker said at the time: “This poor South captivates me, stimulates me, land of wolves and kings, where I feel planted perhaps because of an Irpinian grandmother. This deep South, the part with the least, left behind. Alone, that always feels at disadvantage from the others. This unknown South that everybody think they know, and therefore feel entitled to define, judge, maybe condemn and when a catastrophe like the earthquake brings it up again, you realise that you know nothing at all about that South, that it is a continent as distant as the Third World, but with the space and nature of other third worlds”.

As the cameras roll over the scene of total devastation during that tragic Sunday night, a woman’s voice echoes from deep in a crater, another pitiful old lady talks of five such earthquakes in her lifetime alone. Mangled bodies are pulled from the wreckage and wrapped in white shrouds amid tangled debris, broken glass and exposed masonry. A helicopter glides over the region giving us a bird’s eye view of the area involved: churches and buildings lie in ruins most look almost beyond repair.

The South has always been forgotten and marginalised in the scheme of things. The regions of Campania, Apulia, Abruzzo, Basilicata, Molise, Calabria and Sicilia seem like a different country from the industrial powerhouse of the wealthier northern regions. There are clearly parallels here with the recent floods in the southern states of America – the voyeuristic TV cameras are there to offer an armchair view of human misery, but the government seems largely to have turned its back, although prime minister of the time Amintore Fanfani makes a sheepish appearance in dark glasses, and is then driven away in his limousine. Public support from the richer industrial north of the country was certainly offered, but coordination was clearly lacking and politicians’ empty words fell on deaf ears.

What starts as a reportage of the unfolding catastrophe and the subsequent proposals for reparations soon broadens out into an in-depth ethnographical portrait of local traditions, folklore, religious devotion and time-honoured customs. All this is interwoven with Wertmüller and Piera degli Esposti’s readings of the comments on the South made by literary luminaries Alberto Moravia, Carlo Levi, Furio Colombo, Alberto Ronchey, Giampaolo Pansa and enriched with passages taken from the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Pliny the Younger, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Giacomo Leopardi. The documentary ends with a final interview with Martin Scorsese who is still very active in promoting the wider cinema world beyond his own focus on Italian American features.

With this glowing digital restoration, Lina Wertmüller’s documentary does what it set out to do: bear witness to an ongoing Italian tragedy: “It is my dream that everyone should be made aware of what’s happening in Italy. No just today, when the events are unfolding, but for posterity. In short, let us remember that the future is ancient”.

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | 25 November – 3 December 2022

Lina Wertmuller courtesy of Torino International Film Festival

 

 

Man and Dog (2022) Turin International Film Festival 2022

Dir: Stefan Constantinescu | Drama, 100′

The Covid epidemic changed the world forever and wreaked havoc on lives. People found themselves trapped at home or forced to stay abroad, away from their loved ones. Jealousy and paranoia disrupted relationships. Romania’s Stefan Constantinescu’s subtle yet compelling arthouse drama shows how one man’s obsession nearly destroyed his family in his desperate search for the truth. He also acknowledges the important role pets played in supporting our emotional wellbeing during the pandemic.

After a mysterious text message from an unknown number, Doru (Bogdan Dumitrache) leaves a job in Göteborg for his hometown in Romania. The message suggests his wife Nico (Ofelia Popii) is having an affair and – despite evidence to the contrary – Doru’s imagination goes into overdrive as the tension slowly builds.

In the countryside near the port of Constantia Constantinescu establishes the milieu: a relaxed and summery setting where a close knit community of friends and family – and his eager pet mastiff Amza – welcome Doru back but also wonder how he has breached covid restrictions with the city shortly to go back into lockdown. Romania is shown as a male-dominated society where women rely on their feminine whiles despite being financially self-sufficient. Doru spends the days mentally sifting through a list of likely suspects with the help of his close female friend Georgi. She dismisses a wealthy Turkish widow Dan as a contender:- “he likes young babes” and “can get whoever he wants”. But Doru stops at nothing in his desperation to find a culprit and tracking down the origin of the suspicious text. 

Doru and Nico, a therapist who works from home, make a really natural couple. But although their marriage appears to be solid, the film shows how easily doubt can undermine even the closest human bonds. She has made a positive go of her life in his absence and is certainly not the little wife waiting at home. But Doru’s suspicion clouds even his sense of self in the family hierarchy – clearly Nico and their daughter can manage well without him and this further diminishes his male ego, as it slowly implodes. His faithful dog Amza is on the receiving end of his anxiety – and he even tries to abandon the dog in the nearby woods in a scene which strikes an odd note. Man and Dog is not a whodunnit but a taut, well-crafted study of delicate family dynamics in the time of crisis. MT

IN COMPETITION | TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | 25 NOV – 3 DEC 2022

Nobody’s Hero (2022) Turin International Film Festival 2022

Dir: Alain Guiraudie | France, Drama 105’

Alain Guiraudie burst onto the international scene with his intriguing thriller Stranger by the Lake. His latest effort Nobody’s Hero (Viens je t’emmène), takes us back to his earlier comedies King of Escape and Staying Vertical. Absurdist, satirical and occasionally sexually explicit it centres on a sympathetic loner caught between his desires and the reality of life in a modern-day France mired in terrorism, social and economic crisis. Some may find it offensive but its dead pan humour and political incorrectness is a bracing punch in the teeth in our woke times, and never takes itself too seriously.   

Médéric (Jean-Charles Clichet), a kindly computer coder, has fallen hopelessly on love with much older married prostitute Isadora (Noémie Lvovsky) but their latest tryst, in a tacky hotel, is interrupted by news of a terrorist attack in their hometown of Clermont-Ferrand (shot in sink estate realist style by Hélène Louvart)

Everyone is caught up in the mayhem, not least Mederic’s neighbours, a motley crew of old-timers who jump to their guns – quite literally in one case – preparing for another one of the devastating incidents that has rocked France in recent years.

Sélim (Illiès Kadri), a young Arab, enters the fray looking for shelter and Médéric is naturally sceptical – but his sense of human decency prevails. Selim comes in out of the rain and eventually into Mederic’s apartment where he makes himself at home, refusing to leave. Médéric’s neighbours all react differently. One elderly resident, who has taken to wearing a hijab, actively takes pity on the boy, another tries to chase him away with a stick. The police are ever present but powerless. Meanwhile, Médéric is still chasing after the cartoonish nymphomaniac Isadora, their love affair providing the ludicrous link between reality and slapstick surreality with her abusive businessman husband Gérard (Renaud Rutten) constantly dragging her away from the clutches of the mild mannered Mederic even when their noisy love-making retreats to the confessional of the local church.

Nobody’s Hero can be hilarious at times if you suspend disbelief and get carried away with the rest of the audience. But it slightly overstays its welcome in the confusion of the finale that explodes amid gunfire and gratuitous orgasms.

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022

Unrest (2022) Turin International Film Festival 2022

Wri/Dir: Cyril Schäublin | Swiss Drama 90’

The minimalist elegance and precision of Swiss watchmaking embues this dour and distinctive drama from Cyril Schäublin who was inspired by the ideas of the revolutionary Russian political thinker and essayist Pyotr Kropotkin to look at how workers in a small leafy village in the Swiss Jura in 1877 are assembled and crushed by the larger industrial system that controls them, just like tiny components in the timepieces they painstakingly put together.

Coming from a family of watchmakers Schäublin understands the craft and the endless care that goes into each tiny mechanism. A watch is like a human body. Compact, precisely constructed and carefully calibrated to continue functioning for the rest of its life. There may be chaos all around, as the first rumblings of revolution make their way into this discreet and charming summer setting, but the watch must keep working. Time is of the essence. And time is set according to four different schemes: the watch factory timetable is eight minutes ahead of the municipal one, which is set by the local post office.

Pyotr Kropotkin, a cartographer from Russia,  arrives in the village to make sure the maps of the region carry their appropriate names. He is caught up in the undercurrent of subversion and this tension slowly builds but hardly breaks the serene summer ambience as the workers continue their methodic process, delicately and discretely voicing their concerns but aware that any change could seriously disrupt timekeeping, or the mechanisms themselves. And there are orders to deliver. They must clock in and clock out with gruelling regularity. The overloads and the police puts their cases and conditions forward sternly and formally but they are never aggressive or authoritarian. Social change is in the air but it is an egalitarian gentlemanly affair.

Schäublin directs with care and confidence capturing the time-honoured craft at the core of his narrative. 150 years after the Russian revolution the workers plight has not changed although now it has reached a mounting, pervasive, all-encompassing collective hysteria. MT

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | BEST DIRECTOR AWARD | Berlinale Encounters 2022

Westerns are Back in Town | Turin International Film Festival 2022

Turin Film Festival has long been synonymous with westerns. A favourite genre of artistic director Steve Della Casa, the tradition goes back to the turn of the 21st century when the festival paid tribute to those venerable veterans of the Wild West: Howard Hawks, Budd Boetticher, Anthony Mann and John Ford.

 

Terror in a Texas Town

 

Steve Della Casa has spent the past two decades focusing on a fistful of lesser known films from the era. Delving into the archives of the more niche directors like Ray Enright, Lesley Selander, Randolph Scott and Sterling Hayden, he has presented a clutch of cult classics championed by critics and western lovers like Bertrand Tavernier or Phil Hardy, films that celebrate an eclectic variety of characters, tones and styles – and some curios such as Sam Newfield’s 1938 outing THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN, starring dwarf actor Billy Curtis, and his 1937 hit HARLEM IN THE PRAIRIE with its African-American cast. Wacky, eccentric characters are the name of the game in FOUR GUNS TO THE BORDER (1954), actor Richard Carlson’s first film as director, adapted from Louis L’Amour’s novel, showcasing the simmering sensuality of its leading star Colleen Miller.

The Terror of Tiny Town

 

TERROR IN A TEXAS TOWN (1958) was one of four acclaimed B-movies that brought Joseph H. Lewis’ cinematographic career to a close, a dynamic duel between the black-clad gunslinger and striking sailor Sterling Hayden, armed with just a whaler’s harpoon – is one of the most memorable scenes in western history. The American Civil War made its mark on the lives of western heroes, staging scenarios that were as divisive and irreconcilable as the war itself – and reverberate even today.

Four Faces West

 

In Roy Rowland’s 1947 outing THE ROMANCE OF ROSY RIDGE (1947) these conflicts take on a poetic and lyrical tone. FOUR FACES WEST (1948) is, by contrast, peaceable by western standards with hardly a shot fired – ironically it was a box office flop – and SHOTGUN (1955), the jewel in the crown of Lesley Selander’s prodigious 100-feature output – is a taut revenge western, filmed in blazing Technicolor. Worth a mention is also CORONER CREEK (1948) which was shot in the more economical Cinecolor by Ray Enright, a film that would lead Randolph Scott – one of western’s most popular stars – to his long and fruitful collaboration with Budd Boetticher.

The Romance of Rosy Ridge

 

And where would be without a psychological western, a sub-genre very much in vogue from the late 1940s onwards: the choice fell on Harry Keller’s SEVEN WAYS FROM SUNDOWN from 1960 (it is the most recent of the eight films in the review), featuring another western pioneer, and hero of the World War II: Audie Murphy. Sometimes these Hollywood classics give a nod to more successful models, occasionally they anticipate them. See them all on the big screen at this year’s Turin Film Festival. MT

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | 25 NOVEMBER – 2 DECEMBER 2022

Turin International Film Festival headlines with The Beatles

Celebrating its 40th year anniversary, The Torino Film Festival – Italy’s second largest after Venice – looks sets to be a really glitzy affair with a musical and visual extravaganza showcasing two of the world’s best known bands – the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Themed on their links with film legends Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Jean-Luc Godard and scouser Malcolm MacDowell – who remembers the Liverpool band when they were still the Silver Beatles back in their ‘Cavern’ days – this year’s festival comprises an international Competion and two retrospectives amongst other events – and takes place from 25 November until 3 December 2022.

‘Help’ courtesy of Torino Film Festival

 

On the opening night of 25th November, Turin’s historic Teatro Regio will play host to a musical and cinematic evening that captures the imagination of the Swinging Sixties, divised by the festival’s artistic director and critic Steve Della Casa, and broadcast nationwide. Most people know Turin as the headquarters of the famous FIAT motor company; this year’s 40th Anniversary celebrates the city’s baroque credentials with the initiative Casa Festival a film ‘citadel’ set in Turin’s World Heritage Site the ‘Cavallerizza Reale’ (Royal Horsewoman) a baroque 1740 building designed by the First Royal architect Benedetto Alfieri to carry out equestrian activities.

Malcolm McDowell courtesy of Torino Film Festival

 

The 40th Anniversary line-up presents films from well-established directors and exciting new talent. Expect to see 81 world premieres along with award-winning releases from this year’s festival circuit, cult classics and sophomore features. Charlotte Le Bon’s coming-of-age drama Falcon Lake, Nicaraguan filmmaker Laura Baumeister’s magic realist tale Daughter of Rage Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s fantasy thriller Pamfir and Lola Quivoron’s provocative revenge thriller Rodeo about a feminist motorcyclist in a world of macho man.

Also in the programme are Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO, Aleksandr Sokurov’s Fairytale  Hlynur Pálmason’s Godland and Lav Diaz’s latest epic look back at his nation’s chequered history A Tale of Filipino Violence.

There will be also be a chance to meet the talent in platform masterclasses with world famous Italian stars and directors Mario Martone, Paolo Sorrentino, and Toni Servillo.

TURIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL | 25 NOVEMBER-3 DECEMBER 2022

 

Where is this Street? (2022) Turin International Film Festival 2022

Dir.: Joao Pedro Rodriguez, Joao Rui Guerra Da Mata; Cast: Isabel Ruth; Portugal/France 2022; 88 min.

Portuguese filmmakers Joao Pedro Rodriguez and Joao Guerra Da Mata – best known for their memorable titles The Last Time I saw Macao and The Ornithologist – one again join forces to research locations for Paulo Rocha’s The Green Years which heralded Portugal’s Cinema Novo in the early 1960s.

After a promising start the directors lose their audience – to a certain degree – by assuming that everyone has an in-depth knowledge of the Rocha film and the intricacies of Lisbon’s geography and history, both prerequisites for really appreciating their latest offering.

Isabel Ruth, who played the female lead of Illda in Rocha’s 1963 drama, returns to the locations with the same passionate energy, singing and dancing throughout. The director’s grandfather designed the modernist home where Da Mata and Rodriguez reflect on Rocha shooting scenes with Julio and Illda holding hands for the first time in the rolling landscape of a nearby park which provides the setting for this languorous if reductive love letter to Lisbon.

DoPs Rui Pocas and Lisa Persson capture the essence of the place with lingering long shots. Time has moved on but the derelict buildings, now fallen into disrepair, are redolent of the glory days. Shot between 2019 and 2021 and spilling into the pandemic; public radio announcements warn of the dangers requiring the wearing of masks.

Breath-taking images of an iron bridge and a tower are certainly impressive – and we wait, in vain, for connections to the Rocha film. Instead, we get shots of deserted offices and flats. To drive the message home a placard No 215 bills the Green Years, but then no action follows for No 171 of the current documentary. At the end, Ruth dashes on to the street, singing and dancing, four cars encircling her like as if closing in on their prey. Overall, for any outsider, Where is this Street feels  rather disappointing. A tempting taste of the past that could have offered so much more. AS

SPECIAL JURY AWARD | INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY STRAND  | Turin International Film Festival 2022

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