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VENICE 2008 Horizons

The noble intentions of PA-RA-DA


The noble intentions of PA-RA-DA

It will not suffice to appease the controversy sparked by German daily ‘Der Spiegel’ (which in the last few days has accused the Venice Film Festival of protectionism), but the figure is nonetheless significant: Venice is screening at least three Italian titles (excluding documentaries) filmed in a foreign language, and thus destined to be released on the local market in their “non-original”, dubbed version.

The first of these, PA-RA-DA [+see also:
film profile
, today opened the Horizons section. The film is directed by Marco Pontecorvo (son of Gillo, legendary director of The Battle of Algiers), the acclaimed DoP known for his work with masters Francesco Rosi (The Truce) and Michelangelo Antonioni (Eros).

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Shot during nine weeks in Bucharest – with a spell in Paris, in the shadow of Beaubourg – the film retraces the human (and humanitarian) adventure of Franco-Algerian clown Miloud Oukili. In the early 1990s, the latter – who was 20 at the time – devoted himself to saving children and street urchins in the Romanian capital from a life of drugs and prostitution.

Miloud – in attendance at the festival and thus showing his approval of the biopic – is played by French actor Jalil Lespert, who is no stranger to socially-engaged roles. The performer commented: “Ours is an extraordinary profession when we are able to make viewers reflect on important issues”.

Lensed in 16mm by Vincenzo Carpineta (“in order to get closer to the young protagonists and with greater freedom, but without the invasiveness of digital and preserving the magic of cinema”, explained the director), the film made an impression on yesterday’s audience of journalists and critics. This was probably down to the film’s noble intentions rather than the quality of its screenplay, which glorifies the characters rather too much, or the often television-style pace of its direction.

Nevertheless, the title won’t fail to move viewers, thus echoing the words of Pontecorvo, who has always believed in “the commercial appeal of the film, which – owing to its humanity – will attract audiences”.

Produced by Panorama Films in co-production with Rai Cinema and with backing from MiBAC, PA-RA-DA was made on a budget of €2.4m (including a 20% investment from France’s Yalla Films and 10% from Romania’s Domino Film). The film will be released in Italian theatres (in the dubbed version) by 01 on September 19. International sales are being handled by Beta Film.

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(Translated from Italian)

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