In this issue, we have dedicated a special section to “TIR”, directed by Alberto Fasulo and selected in Competition at the 8th Rome International Film Festival.
“TIR” is a unique film, starting with its complex financial structure: the journey of truck driver Branko through a new Europe also reflects the road travelled by Fasulo and Nadia Trevisan, his partner at Nefertiti Film, to finance the film.
Fasulo first entered into a co-production with Irena Markovic of Croatia’s Focus Film, before receiving financing from a regional fund, four film commissions and the Italian and Croatian Ministries of Culture, alongside a current partnership with RAI Cinema.
Contrary to the Latin saying “pecunia non olet” (“money doesn’t stink”), in this case the money smacks of five years of work; work that seamlessly blends artistic talent with a producer’s creativity, which we try and capture in the following pages.
In fact, I believe that those Italian films that are essentially European films can find elements of growth in films such as “TIR”.
“TIR” is one of three Italian Competition titles at the Festival, along with two sophomore films: Guido Lombardi’s “Take Five” and “Foreign Bodies” by Filippo Locatelli.
Of the 18 films in Competition, 10 are first and second-time films. Italian cinema rounds out its presence at the Festival out of competition, with Davide Ferrario’s “45th Parallel”, “Song’è Napule” by the Manetti brothers, and Marco Simon Puccioni’s “Like the Wind”.
The Festival will open November 8 with Giovanni Veronesi’s comedy “L’ultima ruota del carro”, and close on November 17 with the Hong Kong crime thriller, “The White Storm”.
All of this is part of the “controlled schizophrenia” of artistic director Marco Müller’s second time at the helm.
When presenting this year’s program, Müller jokingly played with the names Fest (the event’s original title) and Festival (as it was redubbed during the Rondi/De Tassis years), without choosing between the two. Müller’s revival of the “Toronto model” was additionally disorienting.
The Toronto Film Festival, it should be noted, is unique for its canny ability to weave the festival-market within the city fabric.
This is the same model that the Fest that Walter Veltroni so wanted (and which Cinema & Video International has backed since its first edition) should have followed with determination and constancy. Today, after seven contradictory editions, everything has become more complicated.
Once again, the Rome Film Festival (like the Venice Film Festival) will be an opportunity to take the pulse of Italian cinema. What’s more, recaps of the roundtables held at the National Film Conference organized by Culture Minister Massimo Bray will be made public during the event.
It’s difficult to speak of the future of Italian cinema at a time when, in Italy, it’s difficult to speak of a future tout court.
The state of affairs is captured well by columnist Frank Bruni, who closed his recent New York Times piece “Italy Breaks Your Heart” with:
“For Italy’s lack of direction, I encountered a metaphor almost too easy and convenient: road signs that could no longer be read, because untended, untrimmed grasses and branches obscured them. I was zipping past wonders, zooming through splendor. But I hadn’t a clue if I was actually getting anywhere”.
Perhaps, to grasp where we’re going, we can search for answers in the journey organized by Alberto Fasulo in “TIR”.