Bergamo Film Meeting 2016: Europe, now

Europe, Now! is the title of one of the sections of the programme for the 34th edition of the Bergamo Film Meeting (5-13 March), but actually, the entire festival, which is supported and promoted by the European Union through the MEDIA sub-programme of Creative Europe, is about Europe. Starting with the competition, reserved for new writers, in which feature films from 7 countries that have not been released in Italy will compete.

The Wall is the debut piece by Dariusz Glazer, which broaches the subject of class conflict in Poland through the story of a young ambitious man yearning for redemption. Home Care  (a co-production between the Czech Republic and Slovakia) by Slávek Horák, deals with illness and death in comedic tones, and centres around a live-in nurse in a small town in Moravia. 2 Nights Till Morning (Finland, Lithuania) by Mikko Kuparinen sees Canadian star Marie-Josée Croze, who was awarded at Cannes in 2003 for her performance in The Barbarian Invasions, in the role of a French architect on a business trip in Vilnius who meets a Finnish dj. Dust Cloth (Turkey, Germany, 2015) by Ahu Öztürk is another first work on class conflict: in this case the protagonists are two Kurdish cleaning ladies who live in the suburbs of Istanbul, on the Eastern bank of the city.

Enclave  (Serbia, Germany), by Goran Radovanović, observes Kosovo in 2004, five years after the war, through the eyes of a Serbian child, who goes to school accompanied by soldiers in a tank, and is the only child of his ethnicity at school, the others being Kosovan Albanians. Then there’s Parasol by Belgian director Valéry Rosier, his first feature film after receiving various awards for his short films: his film, which has been selected in competition, is a bitter comedy on loneliness set in the suspended space and time of Palma di Majorca. Thirst, finally, by Bulgarian filmmaker Svetla Tsotsorkova, is an intimate and autobiographical work about a family that makes ends meet by running a laundry service for hotels.

The aforementioned Europe, Now! section will instead be attended by three special guests: British director of cult fame Shane Meadows, who is most widely known for This Is England, and whose filmography will be shown by the Festival in full including rare short films he made when he was very young; Bosnian filmmaker Jasmila Žbanić, who will also be paid tribute to with short and feature films that made her one of the most symbolic voices of Balkan film, from Grbavica to her recent One Day in Sarajevo; and Petr Zelenka, one of the most highly-awarded Czech directors on the international scene, with his complete filmography including Lost in Munich, which was chosen as Best Film in 2015 by the Czech Film and TV Academy, on the 1938 Munich Conference, revisited in satire, a style typical of this writer.

Completing the programme of the Festival, which is directed by Angelo Signorelli, assisted by Chiara Boffelli and Fiammetta Girola (with a new president, director Davide Ferrario), is a retrospective on Miklós Jancsó, the Hungarian director that shocked the Cannes Film Festival in 1975 with Private Vices, Public Pleasures, and a tribute to Anna Karina that includes four films by Jean-Luc Godard, as well as those starring Luchino Visconti, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Jacques Rivette. Last but not least there’s the “Visti da vicino” section, dedicated to short, medium and feature films, featuring, among others, 15 documentaries chosen from among 300 entries, which this year will be competing for a prize that is awarded, as for the official competition, by the Festival’s audience.