BERLINALE 2008/A Good Show for the Italians

The 58th edition of the Berlinale opens on February 7th with a rock theme.
It will, in fact, be hosting the world premiere of “Shine a Light”, Martin Scorsese’s docu-film about the Rolling Stones, who will also be attending the event along with the director.
The festival will continue on a pop theme with Madonna‘s special screening of her “Filth and Wisdom” in the Panorama section.


Amidst the crowd-pulling music and titles (which include “There will be blood” by Paul Thomas Anderson, “S.O.P. Standard operating procedures” by Errol Morris, “In Love we Trust” by Wang Xiaoushuai and “Kirschbluten” by Doris Dorrie), there is a very respectable Italian presence which is undoubtedly superior to last year.


There are two titles in competition, “Caos Calmo” by Antonello Grimaldi, and “Hearth of Fire” by Luigi Falorni, both based on novels of the same name (written, respectively, by Sandro Veronesi and Senait Mehari).


Grimaldi, who already participated in the Berlin Festival in 1996 with “Il Cielo è sempre più blu”, tells the story of the relationship between a father and daughter going through a difficult mourning process, starring Nanni Moretti, Alessandro Gassmann, Isabella Ferrari and Valeria Golino. The movie, to be released in Italy on February 8th, distributed by 01, is produced by Fandango, in collaboration with Rai Cinema, Portobello Pictures and Phoenix Film Investment.


After missing out on an Oscar for “La Storia del Cammello che piange”, Falorni enters the competition with “Hearth of Fire”.
The movie describes the shocking childhood in a training camp run by Eritrean Liberation Front rebels of Senait Mehari, the German singer of Eritrean origin.
Last year this movie had a kind of “Berlin baptism” as, being an Austrian-German co-production, it was one of the projects in the co-production market.


This year, the market directed by Sonja Heinen, will include another Italian movie looking for partners, “Le ragazze di Albuquerque” by Anna Di Francisca.


After 46 years (in 1962 he won the Silver Bear for “Salvatore Giuliano”), Francesco Rosi returns to Berlin where, on the evening of February 14th, he will be awarded the Golden Bear for lifetime achievement.
In the course of the event, 13 of the director’s movies will be screened, “classics of politically engaged cinema”, as Dieter Kosslich, the Berlinale’s director, has described them.


There are also politically and socially engaged movies to be found amongst the three Italian proposals for the Panorama section.


A journey through homophobic Italy, amidst the debates, opinions and demonstrations generated by the Senate’s general discussion on civil partnerships led to the realization of “Improvvisamente l’inverno scorso”, an autobiographical documentary by Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi, a couple both in real life and on the set.


“Corazones de mujer” is another joint journey by K. Kosoof, the collective stage name of directors and producers Davide Sordella and Pablo Benedetti.
The movie, filmed using a hand held camera, tells the true story of a Moroccan tailor in disguise and an Arabian bride to be who has to recover her lost virginity and for whom the tailor has to make a wedding dress.
The story follows the journey they take from Italy to Morocco, along with the directors, looking for their true selves, moving beyond the outward semblances that hide sexuality in the Arab world.
The movie is co-produced by 011Films.


A trend appears to be emerging amongst younger film-makers towards the abandonment (to a certain extent) of experimental cinema in favor of more classical narrative and, in certain cases, illustrative forms.
One example of this is “Sonetaula” by Salvatore Mereu: the story of a Sardinian boy who decides to become a bandit as a form of rebellion. Set between the late 1930s and the 1950s, this movie, based on the novel by Giuseppe Fiori, will be released by Lucky Red on March 7th, and will also be broadcast on Raiuno in two parts (there is a longer TV version).


“La terramadre”, the debut movie by Nello La Marca, which tells the parallel stories of an Italian and an illegal migrant, will be presented in the Forum section, whilst the shorts section will include “Giganti” by Fabio Mollo, “Impermanent” by Mario Rizzi and “Teat Beat of Sex”, the animation by Signe Baumane.


Finally, Italy will be represented by Elio Germano in the “Shooting Stars” ceremony dedicated to the best of Europe’s young acting talent.


The international jury will be headed by Greek-French director Costa Gavras.

Nella sezione: Focus on italy