Festival dei Popoli’s International Documentaries

A Scene from ‘Faces of November’

Screening an extensive program of films on subjects as varied as President John F. Kennedy, political corruption in countries including Germany, Brazil and Japan, and Beatlemania, the Festival dei Popoli will present its 59th annual showcase of international documentaries October 10 – 17 at the La Compagnia and Spazio Alfieri theatres.

The festival is traditionally a haven for cultural representation, echoed in this year’s theme “Domino Effect – Dreams and Nightmares of Contemporary Power,” focusing on the elements at work which often cause interrelated events and simultaneous movements worldwide. In today’s rapid changing, unpredictable political and social atmosphere, reflection on the past provides an opportunity to better understand the present.

The festival will open on the Oct. 10 with the film Dancer (La Compagnia, 9:30 pm) directed by Steven Cantor documenting Sergei Polunin and his steady rise from the youngest male dancer in the London Royal Ballet to becoming “The Bad Boy” of modern dance.

Apart from featuring documentaries from around the globe, Festival dei Popoli aims at bringing attention to students at many film schools all over Italy including Turin, Naples and Milan. Their efforts are part of the Doc at Work Section of the festival, which promote up and coming talents.

In this context, Sofia Salvatierra will debut her first film “Aquì Allà” (Oct. 12, Spazio Alfieri, 3 pm), a documentary on the 2016 presidential election in Peru.


A series dedicated to JFK on the 100th anniversary of his birth, begins with “Adventures on the New Frontier,” (Oct. 11, Spazio Alfieri, 10:30 pm) an inside look at his early days in office, which, thanks to television, was the first time in history that an audience was able to observe the job of the president up close. Following this, “Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment” (Oct. 15, Cinema la Compagnia, 10:15 pmis a demonstrative example of the culminating racial tensions during his tenure and the process Kennedy took to make important, country-altering decisions

“Faces of November” (Oct. 15, Cinema la Compagnia, 10:15 pm) focuses on the funeral and the aftermath of JFK’s assassination, while “Primary” (Oct. 15, Cinema la Compagnia, 5:30 pm) is a close lens on the elections process and the journey taken to create his presidential image, as well as the presence of Jackie Kennedy and her charismatic role in the process.

Other entries

Another film explores the world of heavy metal through the band X Japan, whose recordings have sold 30 million copies worldwide. Frontman Stephen Kijak will be present at the screening of “We are X” (October 14, 9 pm).

Always on a musical note is “The Beatles, Hippies and Hells Angels” (Oct. 15, Cinema la Compagnia, 8:30 pm) directed by Ben Lewis which follows the band’s investment in Apple Corps, a firm in the late sixties became a business powerhouse comprising Apple Records and supported by one of the most popular bands in the world. Highlighted is the company’s attempt at diversification with a launch into the retail world and products that reached millions, along with the founders’ commitment to spreading values intrinsic to counterculture.

“Death in the Terminal” (Oct 12, Spazio Alfieri, 10 pm) directed by Shemesh, Asaf Sudri covers the 2004 terrorist attacks in Beersheba, Israel with accounts from those present that day and security footage. Together they identify the distinct manner of how people remember times of crisis and loss.

Also being featured is “El pacto de Adriana” (Oct. 15, Cinema la Compagnia, 3 pm), a personal account directed by Lissette Orozco about her politically involved aunt accused of allegedly torturing political prisoners throughout the Pinochet regime in Chile.

Tickets are available as passes for the entire festival at €60 (reduced €40), while daily passes costs €10 (reduced €7) and single ticket from 3 – 8:30 pm ranges from € 5 to € 4.

For the full program, visit www.festivaldeipopoli.org. (rachel hinojosa)