The Wonderful World of Childhood By José Vieira Mendes

in 21th Troia FesTroia - International Film Festival

by José Vieira Mendes

Turtles Can Fly was the Best Film and Gold Dolphin at the 21º Festroia, and has much in common with other films presented in the Official Selection and Competition. These films all featured child non-actors and the stories were about childhood. Turtles Can Fly is the third feature from internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi (A Time for Drunken Horses), and features local children. The film was shot in Ghobadi’s native Kurdistan on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq. The devastation of this land by the war and the poverty in the refugee’s camp is revealed from the children’s perspective, especially ‘Satellite’ (Soran Ebrahim), the sad faced orphan (Avaz Latif) and his brother Henkov (Hirsh Feyssal), a clairvoyant boy. There is violence and tragedy in the camp, but at the same time, it shows the strength and humour of the children and the undeniable force to survive in a hostile world.

Machuca (Special Jury Prize) directed by Andrées Wood looks at the swirl of events in Chile in 1973, leading up to the fall of the Socialist President Salvador Allende during General Pinochet’s coup d’état. It is seen through the eyes of a privileged young boy Gonzalo Infante (Matias Quer) and the poor Indian boy (Ariel Mateluna), who lives in the suburbs around Santiago do Chile.

Day and Night by Simon Staho, the story of a sour-faced businessman Thomas (Mikael Persbrandt, Best Actor) who wants to die, begins while he is driving to a soccer practice of his pre-teen son, when he realises his feelings towards the boy.

Mettalic Blues, by Danny Varese is a very touching road movie about two Israeli car dealers Shmuel (Avi Kushnir) and Siso (Moshe Igvy), who risk all in a search for a better life by investing in a vintage 1985 Lincoln Continental Limousine which they plan to sell in Germany for a profit. The story is also a pretext to reveal the continuing impact of the holocaust on the children who survived.

Hawaii, Oslo, by Erik Poppe (Best Director) contains five interconnected stories, five parallel storylines which all begin with a road acident. It centres around the Hawaii bar in the centre of Oslo. This is the place where all the characters can realise their dreams: Leon (John Gunnar) anxiously hopes to find the girl of his first love on the day of his 25th birthday; Frode (Stig Henrik Hoff) and Mila (Silije Torp Faeravaag) are having their first child, who they are told will not live long and who they want save no matter what.

Different views of the family were also in The Wedding (Best Cinematography and Audience Award) by Wotjtek Smarzowski, an amazing comedy with a very special Polish humor, and in Dallas, Pshamende, by Robert Adrian Pejo, a Hungarian tragic-comedy inspired by Kusturica’s world of gypsies for which Dorka Gryllus won the Silver Dolphin for Best Actress. It also involves a child in a tragic situation. Dog Nail Clipper, by Markku Polonen, was a story of a idealistic man, Mertsi (Peter Franzen), a simple-minded hero, who lives like a child in the unhappy world of adults.