Biograffilm Festival Bologna

16th edition, June 5-15, with Finnish Leena Pasanen as the new director for a festival that has the subtitle ”International Celebration of Lives”. There is an international competition with 12 films (with films like Danish „It Takes a Family” by Susanne Kovács, ”Sing me a Song” by Thomas Balmes, ”The Earth is Blue as an Orange” by Iryna Tsilyk from Ukraine – and two Italian films that I have seen:

”Faith” by Valentina Pedicini, the opening film, a strong card to play by the new director; the film won the main award at DocsBarcelona, I saw it at IDFA and remembered ”the former Zelig student, who actually prepared the film, when she was in the school in Bolzano. She made a short film at that time, 11 years ago. “I was young at that time, 11 years later I felt mature enough to go deeper, stay longer at the place-“. And she did together with cameraperson Bastian Esser and his assistent Lucia Alessi – both of them also Zelig students…”. And I – teaching at the school – remember the three talents very well.

The other Italian film in competition is Francesco Cannavà’s “Because of my Body”, first film, produced by experienced Raffaele Brunetti, a film made with respect and care with two amazing characters. No need to give an annotation, as the one from the festival website is precise: “Because of a serious motor disability, Claudia cannot move without being helped by her mother. At the age of 20 she is still a virgin and wonders what sexual pleasure could possibly be like. But one day Marco, a Love Giver, comes into her life. Marco has just attended the first course to help disabled people to discover their own bodies and sexuality, an unprecedented event, on the margins of legality. Supported by a team of specialists, Claudia and Marco embark on a series of meetings which become ever more intimate. However, the project is subject to protocol which includes a rule that is difficult to enforce: never fall in love.” 

Yes, the meetings become “ever more intimate”, sometimes challenging my modesty but it’s never flat, it is gentle and beautiful – show me my clitoris, one scene, painting the body, blue for what you don’t find appealing, another scene, red for sexually appealing, she drives her car in a fantastic scene that conveys her joy on her way to Marco, who more and more becomes “the one and only”. It’s not easy – the mother suffers, Claudia suffers as does Marco in a film full of life and fine moments.

There are 8 more Italian films being presented – in an Italian competition. I will be back with comments on a couple more.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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