Rome IFF: Two period films from the UK

Article published on Oct. 29, 2008
community published
Article published on Oct. 29, 2008
"It is an intimate confession, not typical for Hemingway. I was lucky to have been able to film it,” said British director John Irvin, who adapted The Garden of Eden – a Special Event at the Rome International Film Festival - from the eponymously and posthumously published novel by the author or For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Like the book, the film is also set in 1920s Europe (the costumes are by Oscar winner Alexandra Byrne). Newlyweds David and Catherine Bourne – a successful writer and his uninhibited wife – meet Italian heiress Marita and begin an erotic game that will forever change their lives.

"The secret to a film’s success lies above all in the casting", said Irvin, who immediately thought of Jack Huston and Mena Suvari for the couple and former Bond girl Caterina Murino for the role of the temptress.

"It’s important that a bond is created between myself and the cast, and that we share a common goal", added the filmmaker, who also enjoyed a prestigious supporting cast: from Almodovar regular Carmen Maura (in her first English-language film) and Matthew Modine.

Produced by Lorne Thyssen, The Garden of Eden received funding from the UK’s Devonshire Productions, Berwick Street Productions and Freeform Spain. Worldwide sales are being managed by Tranquil Seas.

Another English title seen yesterday at the festival, this time in Competition was Vicente Amorin’s Good. It begins with a Kafka-esque apologue, with professor John Halder (Viggo Mortensen), an author of a novel about euthanasia, who wanders nervously through the halls of power of the Third Reich.

Based on a play by Cecil Philip Taylor, the film wants to show that the Nazism included cultured and innocuous men who did not understand (until it was to late) the effect of Hitlerian madness. But the loss of innocence of the German people is an overly complex subject for this simplistic and often confused work. While the film has the advantage of being short (just under 90 minutes, an unusually contained running time given the subject) the same cannot be said of its premise.

Produced by Good Films in collaboration with Laurin Entertainment and Miromar Entertainment, Good is being sold by Odd Lot International.

Gabriele Barcaro