4 Film: Bolzano hosts borderlands near and far
by Gabriele Barcaro
07/06/2010 - “Promoting peace and understanding among different peoples” is the noble objective of the 4 Film Festival, which not coincidentally takes place in the border city Bolzano. For five editions now the festival (running June 23-26) has been presenting works that document the lives and problems of populations or individuals who live in borderlands around the world.
One such example is Stefano Savona’s Cast Lead (which picked up a prize at Locarno but was inexplicably excluded from the David di Donatello nominations). The documentary is a look “from within” – the only one made by a Westerner – at the living conditions of the residents of the Gaza Strip inhabitants during the Israeli army’s Operation Cast Lead (in December 2008 – January 2009). Also taking place in the Gaza Strip, Simone Bitton’s investigative Rachel [trailer] throws light on the death of young American pacifist Rachel Corrie, who was crushed by a bulldozer by an Israeli soldier while trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home.
The festival programme is divided into four sections – perhaps better described as horizons. One is “Italian Borders”, which includes titles such as Caterina Carone’s Valentina Postika in Attesa di Partire, a story about the difficult relationship between 80-year-old Carlo, a former Resistance fighter from Pesaro, and his Moldavian caretaker; and Sergio Basso’s Giallo a Milano, a mosaic about various characters living in Milan’s Chinatown (one of the oldest in Europe) that finally, says the director, “gives the Chinese a chance to express their hopes and fears, and not just the sociologists, anthropologists and sinologists that usually crowd TV debates”.
These border territories are closer than we can imagine, though the festival does also offer faraway, largely unknown stories. Such as Petr Lom’s Letters to the President, in which thousands of people in rural Iran await the visit of President Ahmadinejad to hand him their requests for help; and Andrzej Fidyk’s controversial musical Yodok Stories, which has traveled festivals worldwide, in which the few prisoners who have managed to escape from North Korean concentration camps for Seoul speak of their reclusive lives.
(Translated from Italian)