26th Torino Film Festival

Italy, November 21 - November 29 2008

The jury

Ronald Bergan (UK), Sergey Anashkin (Russia), Christian Monggaard (Denmark), Mahrez Karoui (Tunisia), Gabriele Barrera (Italy)

Awarded films

The 26th Torino Film Festival kicked off its second year under the direction of Nanni Moretti, perhaps the most well-known of all festival directors. He was also extremely accessible and visible throughout the festival, giving press conferences and introducing all the films in competition. And he got all the films to start on time!

Whether coincidental or not, many of the competition films carried the theme of loss within a family, echoing The Son’s Room (La stanza del figlio), Moretti’s 2001 Palme d’Or winner. Being mostly first films by young directors — a long-term policy of the festival — the quality was variable. However, of the 15 films in competition, there were only five that could be considered really mediocre.

More interesting were the excellent comprehensive retrospectives of Jean-Pierre Melville (though frustrating for non-French or non-Italian speakers, because the majority had no English subtitles), Roman Polanski (who was present) and the most innovative, British Renaissance: 40 British films made mostly in the 1980s, in the England of Margaret Thatcher. The Torino Festival organisors need to be congratulated, especially on the latter section, which should travel to other festivals or cinémathèques.

Torino, of course, is a cinema city, with its celebrated film museum at its centre. The audiences were mainly young and enthusiastic, and there was also a sort of talent campus in which young critics wrote daily reviews. It’s a pity that they didn’t approach our Fipresci jury for a meeting. (Ronald Bergan)