Popoli doc fest starts in Florence

Article published on Nov. 17, 2008
community published
Article published on Nov. 17, 2008
The 49th Festival dei Popoli, one of the oldest and most prestigious documentary festivals, kicks off today in Florence and runs through November 21. “On the eve of its 50th anniversary,” says Artistic Director Luciano Barisone, “we have tried to make it appetizing not only to local and Italian audiences, but to the international market as well.
We have made the Tuscan capital and the entire region a territory ‘sensitive’ to the needs of filmmakers, producers, buyers and sales agents”.

To this end, the festival chose to optimise its resources, increasing the number of guests and prizes (including a new award, promoted by the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo, which will offer theatrical distribution to two films) and simultaneously streamlining the programme. The latter is made up of five sections for a total 163 titles, including 10 world, six international, two European and 28 Italian premieres.

The Official Selection offers two competitions, for shorts and features from throughout the world, and the non-competitive “Stile Libero” sidebar.

The three Italian features vying for the Popoli Award are Penelope Bortoluzzi’s Fondamenta delle Convertite, on the daily lives of the prisoners, children and guards of the women’s prison the island of Giudecca in Venice; Hair India by Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi, an original look at contemporary India; and Alberto Fasulo’s Rumore Bianco, shot along the Tagliamento River.

Also highly anticipated are Raymond Depardon’s La Vie moderne [trailer] and Fernand Melgar’s La Forteresse.

This year’s tribute is to French filmmaker of English origin Claire Simon, whose entire works will be shown – organised in collaboration with the Milano Filmmaker/Doc Festival – from the 1980s to her latest, God’s Offices [trailer].

Entitled “Una diagonale baltica”, this year’s retrospective shines a spotlight on the past 40 years of documentary filmmaking in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Guests include Herz Frank, Laila Pakalnina, Dainis Kļava, Andres Sööt, Mark Soosar, Arūnas Matelis and Audrius Stonys.

The programme is rounded out by a section on the theme “Faces of Power” (with works spanning from Jean Renoir’s The People of France to Manu Luksch’s Faceless) and the round table “The Legacy of Nanook”, which looks at the status of the contemporary documentary.

Gabriele Barcaro cineuropa.org