Opium War and Resolution 819 top winners

Article published on Nov. 3, 2008
Article published on Nov. 3, 2008
Two of the biggest tragedies of recent history, the Afghan war and the Balkan war, are at the heart of the two films that won top honours at the Rome International Film Festival.

The jury composed of critics (Edoardo Bruno, Michel Ciment, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Emanuel Levy and Roman Gutek) gave the Golden Marc’Aurelio Award to Siddiq Barman’s Opium War, an excellent film with surreal and ironic overtones, co-produced by Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea and France’s Haut et Court (for 30% of the film’s $600,000 budget), while audiences, voting through an electronic system at the end of screenings, chose Résolution 819 by Italy’s Giacomo Battiato, produced by France (Breakout Films in collaboration with Canal +), Poland and Italy.

Battiato cited Andrei Tarkovsky in speaking of his film on the Srebrenica massacre of 1985: "A film’s value come from the motives that inspired the director to make it. Style is not important" (see news).

The Golden Marc'Aurelio Award for Best Actor went to Poland’s Bodhan Stupka for Krzysztof Zanussi’s film With a Warm Heart (see news) while Best Actress went to Donatella Finocchiaro for Edoardo Winspeare’s I Galantuomini [trailer] (see news).

The international jury handed out two Special Mentions, to Joao Botelho for Northern Land (see news) and François Dupeyron for With a Little Help From Myself [trailer], awarding a second French production the same weekend that marked the opening in Florence (perhaps, unfortunately, for the last time) the wonderful showcase directed by Aldo Tassone, France Cinéma.

Two features won prizes from the Alice in the City sidebar. Best Film (ages 8-12) was won by Philippe Muyl’s Magique! [trailer] and Best Film (ages 13-17) went to Kenneth Glenaan’s Summer (see news).

The festival ended on a positive balance. There were slightly fewer films and screenings but an increase in box office, admissions and accreditations.