15th Festival of European Cinema, Lecce
Italy, April 28 - May 3 2014
The baroque city of Lecce in Southern Italy, one of the oldest in Europe, a gem full of churches and palaces in the South-Eastern Salento part of the Puglia region, is leading the race for becoming one of the European Capitals of Culture in 2019. The European Film Festival, one of the region’s highlights, is its best asset towards achieving the goal.
This year’s edition of the Lecce Film Festival presented 11 films in competition, alongside tributes to filmmakers and film icons, some of which honored the retrospectives with their presence.
As the recently appointed president of the Bologna Cinematheque — Cineteca di Bologna — Marco Bellocchio, who is currently honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was invited to the festival to present more than a dozen of his films, from his 1965 Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) to the 2012 Dormant Beauty (Bella Adormentata). This homage was accompanied by an exhibition of drawings by the director.
Claudia Cardinale’s presence, as one of the leading ladies of the Italian Cinema, was gentle and warm-hearted in her encounter with the audience. The festival offered a large retrospective of her films, showcasing excellent and admirable personal touch. Danis Tanovic was also there, representing the European Cinema Protagonists section, with screenings of all his feature films, from 2001 No Man’s Land to the recent 2013 An Episode in the Life Of an Iron Picker.
Another retrospective was dedicated to Mario Bava, the late master of horror, who delighted genre fans with classics such as the 1960 Black Sunday (La maschera del demonio). And a special program was dedicated to Palestinian cinema, including short films, feature films and documentaries screened over seven days.
The Lecce European Film Festival offers a number of prizes, apart from the international competition and FIPRESCI awards. The Mario Verdone Prize recognises young Italian filmmakers who have made ??two films at most. Its candidates are nominated by the National Union of Film Journalists. The Apulian Young Directors Short Film Competition awards young filmmakers from the southern Italian area. The Cineuropa Prize supports the European distribution of its awarded film. And last but not least, the Cinecibo, for the best short or feature film of the entire program, with a jury hosted by Michele Placido. (Margarita Chapatte)
Festival of European Cinema, Lecce: