Roots of Love
29th Mons International Love Film Festival (Festival International du Film d’Amour de Mons), Belgium, 15 – 22 February 2013
This year the festival of cinema in Belgium attracted many film lovers who traditionally gather, expecting a celebration of cinema. The Official Jury, in the category of the International films, judged twelve selected films from around the world, while the jury Cinéfemme, made up exclusively of female jurors, also judged in the category of International film, providing a different point of view. The Jury of Young European Cinéphiles judged twelve European films presented for the first time. FEDEORA had the privilege of awarding a special prize in the category of first films.
Love is a timeless theme, and it offered a wide range of love stories, raising a rhetorical question as to whether a movie can avoid the theme of love at all. The diversity of the presented films reflected the reality of today, through many countries: the U.S.A, Canada, Argentina, Israel, Lebanon, India, Gabon, Tunisia, as well as films from the majority of European countries. This inevitably says a lot about the complexity of the organization which FIFA, without any doubt, successfully dealt with this year. In this context, it is interesting to refer to the statistical data, according to which 44% of films had been produced mostly as French co-productions.
Among the visitors were the Italian producer Renzo Rosselini, the Romanian director Radu Mihaileanu, the French director Thomas Pascal and Laura Morante, a celebrated actress who worked with many well-known directors, among them: Bernardo Bertolucci, Eduardo de Gregorio and John Malkovich, now venturing into directing her own film, which opened this year’s festival: The Cherry on the Cake (La cerise sur le gâteau), in which Morante played the main role of Amanda. It is a sentimental comedy, which tells of Amanda’s androphobic problem – the fear of men and sentimental attachment – because she systematically destroys every serious relationship. The film offers a contemporary discussion of gender issues, dispatching an active message of friendship as a powerful emotional relationship.
Italian movies which were shown Every Blessed Day (Tutti i santi giorni) directed by Paolo Virzì, It May Be Love But It Doesn’t Show (Anche se è amore non si vede) directed by Ficarra and Picone, Balancing Act / Acrobats (Gli equilibristi) by Ivano De Matteo, Me and You (Io e te) by Bernardo Bertolucci and Homeowners / The Landlords (I padroni di casa) by Edoardo Gabbriellini. Among them I would like to point out the tragicomic Acrobats. Not just because of the award for the best actor, which was awarded to Valerio Mastandrea, but because of the semantics of the title, which suggests great life skill. In this case impersonating both a man and a father in a dynamic period of establishing a new life after divorce. The drama begins after a consensual divorce when Giulio is forced to build a new path in life, but his evident lack of managing things results in the downfall of his living standards. However, he retains his dignity and self-esteem.
This year, FIFA paid special attention to Bulgarian cinema which covered a wide range of themes, from problems of adolescence and a compulsive liar in Avé directed by Konstantin Bojanov to The Island directed by Kamen Kalev which hides the truth about a childhood in an orphanage. Sofia’s Last Ambulance (Poslednata lineika na Sofia) by Ilian Metev is a documentary about a nurse tired of the frenetic life that poses the main problem of the Bulgarian capital, which has only thirteen ambulances at the disposition for two million people. I am You by Peter Popzlatev is a portrait of the relationship of two women, and Faith, Love and Whiskey by Kristina Nikolova, shows a woman who leaves the American dream behind and returns to her native Bulgaria, surrendering herself to an old love, regardless that she is still engaged to another man.
At this year’s festival, the use of popular music was noticeable. This was confirmed by a great number of films including popular songs like Lou Bega’s Baby Keep Smiling in Keep Smiling (Gaigimet) directed by Rusudan Chkonia from Georgia, Svetlio And The Legend’s Let Me Da Te Love You in Faith, Love and Whiskey and Vanina in the French film A Song for My Mother (Une chanson pour ma mère) directed by Joel Franka. Goran Paskaljevic, the director of Serbian / Croatian / French co-production film When Day Breaks (Kad svane dan) was exceptionally inspired by music. The film focuses on a retired professor of music from Belgrade who, by discovering a music sheet, reveals his Jewish roots, a long time repressed due to his family’s horrible experiences in the concentration camp.
We were invited back for the celebration of the 30th Mons International Love Film Festival that begins on Saint Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014 and will last until February 21, 2014. You can follow the countdown to the date when the city becomes the European Capital of Culture in 2015 on the website mons2015.eu/fr.
Ania Skrobonja, Croatia