Cosima Spender: Palio

Taken from the site of the Magnificent7 festival in Belgrade (http://www.magnificent7festival.org/en/) this text is written by festival directors Svetlana and Zoran Popovic about the film to be shown tonight at the Sava Center in Belgrade:

For centuries, one of the most beautiful old city-republics in Italy, Siena, two times a year becomes divided with conflicts, when all residents, from the youngest to the elderly live for Palio – one of the oldest horse races in the world. It is a specific time machine that magically revives Renaissance costumes, flags, coats of arms and trumpets, ceases everything with its primordial force and completely enchants both observers and participants. This is a real battle for prestige turned into a symbolic competition of horses and riders held in a surprising place – in the very center of Siena, on the largest city square. Old ritual lives its intense life even today with never reduced passions without scruples – turbulent Mediterranean mentality and dark tradition of political intrigues of the past times haunt freely, like a ghost, all the citizens, and no one is spared, not even the players or horses.

The director of the film, Cosima Spender, who grew up in Siena, develops this visually attractive, lavish spectacle, showing us Palio from the perspective of four generations of the best, most important race winners; from those who made the most brilliant recent history to the newest and youngest one who is preparing for a relentless battle to realize his biggest dream. The author of “Palio” conceived and developed a real exciting, cinematic film, with extraordinary photography, carefully interwoven dramaturgical flows, which achieves its dramatic climax in the events that really take your breath away! Exceptionally credited with the most attractive moments in the film, especially during the racing scenes, is the brilliant editor Valerio Bonelli, awarded for his superb work at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

“Palio” is a great and memorable cinematic feast!

Director’s Word: I grew up with the Palio so I was uniquely placed to gain the trust of everyone involved in the film and our narrator character was able to open doors which are normally closed to outsiders. Yet as a foreigner (I work out of London and my parentage is Anglo-American), I shared the jockeys’ ambiguous relationship with Siena, and that is what I wanted to capture in this film.

us.thepalio.com/film 

Review on Filmkommentaren by Sara Thelle: link

Great Britain, 2015, 92 mins.

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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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