A Good Vintage

in 50th Taormina Film Fest

by Marcel Martin

The Taormina Film Festival celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, which means that it claim to be the second oldest film festival in Italy after Venice. It has been directed for the last six years by the passionate film fan Felice Laudadio, who invited our Federation to establish a jury. The evening performances are organized in the grandiose Greek Theater, one of the main artistic treasures in Sicily.

The Festival included several sections in competition, among them First Features and a retrospective of the biggest successes shown here during the half a century. The competition was mainly European and American and the absence of films from Asia was certainly a handicap in this period of masterpieces coming from China, Korea and Thailand.

Our jury gave the prize to the Danish “Villa Paranoia” by Erik Clausen, a brilliant accomplishment both in comedy and satire within a psychological drama. An unemployed actress accepts to take care of an old man who no longer speaks, and succeeds with energy and sympathy to draw him out, making him able to reveal a big family secret. This humorous and captivating film won our prize over another success, the remarkable Irish production by John Furse “Blind Flight” about the true story of two Anglo – Saxons kept hostage by radical Islamists during the civil war in Lebanon twenty years ago. Brutalized and humiliated the Irish and the British will eventually sympathize with each other despite the violent fight at the same time between the two communities in Ireland.

Among the other films, one of the best was a kind of masterpiece in comparison to the rest of the selection, the latest Margarethe von Trotta, “Die andere Frau” (The Other Woman), which deals with the character of a Stasi spy (East Germany) who has forged for himself a double life with two wives at the same time. The French entry, “Ma Mere” (My Mother) by Christophe Honoré was not very well received by the public, probably because of its provocative, but at same time, out of fashion, eroticism.