Turin Film Festival - Day 1 - 4 -www.girl.com.au/turin-film-festival-day1to4.htm
Turin Film Festival - Day 5 and Day 6
Started the day with a stroll around the city. Visited the Holy Shroud, which was brought to Torino in 1578. It was last put on public display in 1998 and 2000, the next public showing is scheduled for 2025. However if you want to visit before 2025, theres a photographic copy of display inside the cathedral. The good thing with visiting the city in winter is that the queues to see the Shroud do not snake aroundthe block.
The best film of the festival so far has to be Larsand the Real Girl, starring Ryan Gosling and directedby Aussie Craig Gillespie. Its a gorgeously offbeattale about a young man (Gosling) who introduces hisbrother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his sister-in-lawKarin (Emily Mortimer) to his new friend Bianca, whohe met on the internet. Their immediate response isone of shock and despair. Has the sweet, sociallychallenged introvert gone completely mad? You seeBianca is a anatomically correct, custom made siliconedoll, but Lars sees a friend. How will they explainthis to the residents of the sleepy mid-Western town? Now while the idea of a young man having arelationship with a blow up doll sounds like the stuffexploitation films are made of, this is nothing of thekind. Written by Six Feed Under vet Nancy Oliver,this is a tender and charming little tale brought tolife by the performances. Gosling is rumoured to beup for an Oscar nomination. While that seems like along shot, not because of his performance which isbrilliantly understated and should be applaudedbecause he continues to choose the most unexpectedmaterial, but because the Academy tends to reward'weighty' dramas, although there was Little MissSunshine. Lars is an endearing film and is slightlyreminiscent of Capra in that Gillespie balances thepathos and the humour, the morality and the whimsy.
10 Items or Less, which is screening in the Premierssection was a surprise find today. Starring MorganFreeman and Paz Vega (a Penelope Cruz lookalike), itsanother engaging little off beat drama about an ageingactor (Freeman) who has not made a film for four yearsand has agreed to consider doing an indie film about amanager in a low rent supermarket. He asks to bedropped off at the market in Carson, (a suburb ofL.A.) so he can research his character. He becomesfascinated by one of the checkers, Scarlet a youngwoman from Spain stuck at the ten items or less lane. The actor chats her up and when her shift ends he asksfor a ride and helps her prepare for a job interview. A most unexpected relationship blooms.
"I wrote this just before I headed off to make LemonySnickets A Series of Unfortunate Events," saysdirector Brad Siberling in the press notes. "And afterthat film where I was in a soundstage environment fortwo years, I started watching a lot of ItalianNeo-realist movies for mental therapy - and I realisedI had written a gift for myself where I could just goout with two great actors on the street and shootaway." The film is no deep and complex philosophicalrumination on life, but it is an enjoyable piece ofentertainment and besides, most films that Morgan arein are worth seeing for him alone.
After all that, I was in need of some fresh air sowent off to check out the Cathedral of San GiovanniBattista. This is the only remaining example ofRenaissance church architecture in Torino. The belltower was built in 1470 and completed in the 1700s byFilippo Juvarra. Also in the centre of Torino arethe remains of an ancient Roman theatre dating back tothe first century AD. The tiers of seats, orchestrapit and some of the external columns can all still beseen. The theatre was only discovered in the 19thCentury.
Caught some of John Cassavetes Johnny Staccato TVseries today the celebrated police series whichstarred Cassavetes and wooed American audiences in thelate 50s and early 60s. Cassavetes not only starredin the series but also had a hand in directing it aswell. One of the joys of attending the Cassavetesretrospective in Torino, besides getting to watchthese classic films up on a big screen, is listeningto Seymour Cassell and Al Ruban remember the old days. Heres what Cassell had to say about Johnny Staccato.
"I wasnt working with John when Johnny Staccato cameout. When John came back to New York he made Shadows.One night we were in a bar and Shadows was to bescreened in London. So he says to me, why dont wetake a few days off and go to Ireland? It was 4.30am.We caught a plane at 7. After a few days in Ireland hesaid he wanted to go to Paris with Gena, and Iinsisted on going with them. I had a ball in Paris.When John told me it was time to head back to theStates I said I wanted to stay in France - I could geta job in a café. True, I didnt speak a word ofFrench. I ended up going to London. As soon as I gotthere, the director of the BFI called me, the next daythey were supposed to show Shadows. She thought I hada copy of the film. I told her I had nothing to dowith it and called John in New York. Wheres the copyof the film, I asked him. He replied, Im not sure,but I think it might be somewhere in my garage. Thatsthe way we were."
Turin Film Festival - Day 7 and Day 8
Today was Irish day. Caught two Irish films, Once andGarage (which is In Competition) and both werefantastic. Once won the world cinema dramatic audienceaward at Sundance this year and is the tale of a youngDublin busker Glen Hansard, (former member of theIrish group The Frames) who dreams of recording hissongs and making his first album. Marketa Irgiova, ayoung Czech musician (who was only 17 when makingOnce) is working as a cleaner but would like to playthe piano like she did in her country. They meet bychance on the streets of Dublin and immediately bondover their shared love of music. They fall in loveand decide to start a band. Writer director JohnCarney wanted to make an "original film almost like avisual album, but with a realistic modern love storyat its heart." He has, and you cant help but fall inlove with this tender tale that is all the morecharming because the lead performers are musiciansrather than actors. Theres a guileless quality towhat they do and its endearing to watch. This is nota typical musical in any shape or form. A typicalmusical is over the top numbers where the bounds ofreality are dissolved completely. Here Carney doesstretch reality at times, but hes opted for anunderstated and modest approach, which works. Theresan easy charm to this film that will win you over.
Garage, by Lenny Abrahamson (Adam & Paul) has also wona prize prior to Torino. It took out the CICAE Art andEssai Cinema Prize at Cannes this year. The storyrevolves around the sweet and harmless Josie (PatShortt), who manages a gas station in a little town inthe Irish countryside. The rest of the townspeopletreat him like a village idiot but hes actually asimple man, solitary, irreparably optimistic and happyin his own way. His simple life changes when a youngapprentice arrives at the garage. Naively convinced ofhaving found a friend, Josie shares with him some ofhis adult habits (alcohol, porn) without knowing thathes committing a crime, which would make him lose hisjob.
"The film is about the transformation in the Irishcountryside," says Abrahamson. "That have made peoplelike Josie become uprooted beggars. What I findinteresting about Josie, like the real peopleencountered in the film, is that you need some time tounderstand what goes on in their head. And I thinkthis is the films purpose, understanding." Theappeal of the film is Shortt who delivers aheartbreakingly sweet performance as the slightlyfeeble and befuddled Josie.
I have to mention one of the star attractions of thecity, and a very apt one seeing were here for thefilm festival, and that is the Museo Nazionale delCinema. Now seven years old and built in a convertedJewish temple, this is a must see if you visit Torino. The building, which is referred to as the symbol ofTorino dominates the city with its 1675 metres heightand until recently was one of the highest masonrystructures in Europe. The tower was designed in 1863by Alessandro Antonelli. Its the only museum of itskind in Italy and one of the most important in theworld. The museum covers five floors, and everywhereyou look there is something to see. There is moviememorabilia, sections dedicated to the historicalorigins of film-making, from the early shadow puppetspeople use to play in their living rooms withlanterns, right through to masters like Fellini.
The detail and thought that have gone into creatingthis is staggering. When you walk inside the buildingyou find yourself in the Temple Hall where a colossalidol from the film Cabiria (1814) dominatesproceedings. Its also an interactive museum, and youcan take animated tours. In the middle of thisimpressive space is a "naked" elevator, which takesyou up to observation deck. Posters of famousfilmmakers and stars line the walls, movie sets havebeen recreated and classic films are screened all daylong onto the walls of the museum, which you can viewfrom specially designed lounge chairs, with speakersbuilt into the headrests. Then when youve finishedyou can take the lift up to the Mole Antonellina, toenjoy a birds eye panoramic view of the city, 85metres up.
Turin Film Festival - Day 9
And the winners are......TORINO 25 / FEATURE FILMS COMPETITION
The Jury of Torino 25 / International Feature Films
Competition of the 25th Torino Film Festival, chaired
by Piers Handling (Canada) and composed of Robert
Guédiguian (France), Aki Kaurismäki (Finland), Carlo
Mazzacurati (Italy), Laura Pariani (Italy), André
Téchiné (France), Jasmine Trinca (Italy), awards thefollowing prizes:
Best Film (euros 25.000) to: GARAGE by LennyAbrahamson (Ireland, 2007)
Special Jury Prize (euros 10.000) to: THE ELEPHANTAND THE SEA by Woo Ming Jin (Malaysia-Netherlands,2007)
Best Actress Award to: JOAN CHEN for the film THEHOME SONG STORIES by Tony Ayres (Australia, 2007)
Best Actor Award to: KIM KANG-WOO for the filmGYEONGUI SEON / THE RAILROAD by Park Heung-sik (SouthKorea, 2006)ITALIANA.DOC
Best Italian Documentary, in collaboration with Persol(euros 10.000) to: LA NACIÓN MAPUCE by FaustaQuattrini (Switzerland/Italy/Argentina, 2007)
Special Jury Prize (euros 5.000) to: L_ESAME DI XHODIby Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio (Italy, 2007)
Special Mention to: BIÙTIFUL CAUNTRI by EsmeraldaCalabria, Giuseppe Ruggiero and Andrea DAmbrosio(Italy, 2007)ITALIANA.CORTI
Best Italian Short-length Film, in collaboration withLancia (euros 10.000) to:
GIGANTI by Fabio Mollo (Italy, 2007, Super16 mm, 24)
Special Jury Prize _Kodak Award (euros 3.000 in motionpicture film) to: PRIMOGENITO COMPLESSO by LaviniaChianello and Tomás Creus (Italy-Brazil, 2007, anim.,11)
Special Mention to: IL RESTO DI UNA STORIA by AntonioPrata (Italy-Switzerland, 2007, DVcam, 30)REGIONAL COMPETITION / SPAZIO TORINO
The Jury of the Regional Competition awards thefollowing prize:
Best Short-length Film (euros 2.600 in laboratoryservices offered by Blue Gold, Milan; euros 5.000 intechnical services offered by Unistudio, Torino) to:
IL LAVORO di Lorenzo De Nicola (Italy, 2007, Digibeta,16)CIPPUTI AWARD
The Torino Film Festival, in collaboration with theMinistry of Labor and Social Policy, awards the 2007Cipputi Award prize:
Best Film About the Working World (euros 5.000) to: INFABBRICA by Francesca Comencini (Italy, 2007) FIPRESCI AWARD
The Jury of the Fipresci Award awards the followingprize: Torino 25 / Feature Films Competition: BestFilm to:
GYEONGUI SEON / THE RAILROAD by Park Heung-sik (SouthKorea, 2007)AUDIENCE AWARD
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL / By Craig Gillespie (USA,2007)