The 2023 Festa dei Popoli’s International Documentaries
Sat. 4 – Sun. 12: FESTIVAL DEI POPOLI. International Documentary Film Festival. Cinema La Compagnia (via Cavour 50/r) & Cinema Astra (piazza Beccaria).
Politics and society, battles and declarations, music and the environmentAt the festival’s 64th edition, 124 films will be shown. The organizers are proud to welcome a host of special guests, including Oscar-winning actress Liv Ullmann, the photographer and director Anton Corbijn in addition to the singer Pete Doherty, directors Pedro Costa and Ulrich Seidl, and Tatiana Huezo.
The films—shorts, medium-length and feature—shown during the festival are grouped into 11 different categories based on the documentary’s underlying theme. Eighteen documentary films of varying length from various places will compete for the international competition, displaying. In addition, seven Italian films are entered in the national competition, painting a portrait of Italian perspectives from all over the peninsula and even views about outside of Italy. The “Doc Highlights” section will be dedicated to the most important international documentaries being shown this year, including world premieres and works dedicated to protest.
A section titled, “Habitat” will be dedicated to the environmental and human rights emergencies around the world such as climate change, working in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In the section “Let the Music Play,” documentaries about musical artists and their lives will be shown in their full glory and grit without relinquishing details to preserve any hagiographical sanctity. “Diamonds are Forever” will cover the human body, the home of our growth—a place of confronting, mimicking, and transforming. Nine movies from some of Europe’s best film schools constitute the “Future Campus” section, where the “possible paths of realistic cinema” are imagined and created for the big screen. “Popoli for Kids and Teens” intends to show characters tackling their fears, putting in effort, and facing conflicts with a series of animated and documentary films. DIVE, or Diversity in Visual Essays, is the final section the festival has listed. The goal of DIVE is to show viewers strength in cultural plurality and dispel any fear of it. As the festival’s vast selection has made evident, a wide range of interests will be covered.
The section that kicks off the festival is “Diamonds are Forever.” The kickoff is a short film titled Popsicles by Gloria Camiruaga (11/4 – 3 pm) will be presented, followed by the outrageous 1971 political comedy GR – Mysteries of the Organism (11/4 – 3 pm) by Dusan Makavejev. A film set in Warsaw titled Piano (11/4 – 4:30 pm) by Jakub Piątek will follow, documenting one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world. Joan Baez, I am a Noise (11/4 – 8:30 pm), an American documentary covering the renowned singer-songwriter, covers her life and times as a symbol of counterculture while simultaneously being forced to confront family trauma.
The biopic Liv Ullmann: A Road Less Travelled will have its Italian premiere on Monday, November 6 (11/6 – 9 pm), presented the Norwegian actress who will lead a Q&A. November 8 brings Antartica Calling, Voyage to the South Pole (2023), a sequel to director Luc Jacquet’s Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins (2005), screening at Teatro della Compagnia at 8:30 pm. The last film to be shown at Festival dei Popoli will be Peter Doherty: Stranger in My Own Skin (11/12 – 9 pm), which, similar to the film on Joan Baez, covers the life of the English musician through his rise, fall, and musical resurrection.
Master classes will be hosted with free admission on varying days, all hosted by a number of highly acclaimed special guests who have offered to lend their expertise. Austrian film director and writer Ulrich Seidl will give a lesson in German with English translation, on November 6 at 10 am. Salvadoran and Mexican director Tatiana Huezo will deliver her lecture in Spanish interpreted in English on November 7 at 11:30 am. Lastly, esteemed Portuguese film director Pedro Costa, known for his artistic style of films, will be offering his masterclass on November 11 at 11 am. For those wishing to enter the industry of film or those just curious about what goes into the films they watch, these masterclasses are opportunities unlike most others.
More information about Festival dei Popoli, including the times and places of movies and events, may be found on their website at festivaldeipopoli.org. Tickets start at €7. (Daniel Capobianco)