Taormina walks the Plank
by Boyd van Hoeij
20/06/2011 - The 57th edition of the Taormina Film Fest came to an end over the weekend in the eponymous resort town on the eastern coast of Sicily.
During the official closing gala in the town’s splendid Greek theatre, three of the four prizes for the main competitive strand, which focuses on films from the Mediterranean basin, went to the Moroccan feature On the Plank [trailer].
The film, which concerns four girls in Tangier who supplement their meagre factory-work income with petty crime, won the Golden Tauro for best film, as well as the awards for best director and best performance, which was shared by the four main actresses, Soufia Issami, Mouna Bahmad, Nouzha Akel and Sara Betioui.
A special jury award went to the French animated film The Rabbi’s Cat [trailer] by comic-book artist-turned-director Joann Sfar, which looks at the adventures of the feline of a rabbi in Algiers in the early 20th century.
A second competition, aptly titled Beyond the Mediterranean, showcases films from the rest of the world. A special audience award for best non-Mediterranean film, selected by a group of 40 audience members, went to the Dutch-German-South African film Black Butterflies [trailer] by Paula van der Oest, a biopic of the South African poetess Ingrid Jonker, played in the film by Dutch actress Carice van Houten.
The festival’s prestigious Taormina Arte Awards were handed out over the course of the festival during the nightly open-air screenings in the Greek theatre to Italian actress Monica Bellucci, U.S. director Oliver Stone and Tunesian producer Tarak Ben Amar.
The closing film was the Italian documentary Rosa’s Voice from director Nello Correale, about Sicilian singer Rosa Balistreri.