The 57th edition of the Valladolid Film Festival-SEMINCI opened on October 20th with the latest feature by Spanish director José Luis Cuerda All Is Silence (Todo es silencio),based on the novel by Spanish writer Manuel Rivas, and set in Noitia, a town on Galicia's Atlantic coast, during the late 1960s. This year, the festival screened 160 titles in just eight days of competition and welcomed the presence of major international filmmakers such as Goran Paskaljevic, Margarethe von Trotta, Deepa Metha, Luis Mandoki and Mika Kaurismaki.
The most important section, the Official Section, was plentiful with films that were preoccupied with the absolute role of recent history. The Serbian director Goran Paskaljevic, who has on three occasions been the recipient of the best prize here, the Espiga de oro, was competing this time with When Day Breaks, about a retired music professor who discovered his true origins in a Nazi concentration camp for the Jews of Belgrade during World War II. The memory of the concentration camp and the Jewish massacre is also remembered in the latest film by German director Margaretthe von Trotta which is dedicated to Hannah Arendt, the German philosopher who wrote a controversial book "A Report on the Banality of Evil". The Nazi wound is present again in the film Lore, the second feature of Australian director Cate Shortland, set at the close of the war in Germany in 1945, when a group of children, led by the eldest, Lore, undertake a journey that exposes them to the reality and consequences of their parent's actions.
Deepa Mehta returned to the Official Section by presenting her latest feature Midnight's Children, based on the book by the repudiated (and banned) writer Salman Rushdie, where India's and Pakistan recent and troubled history runs parallel to the story of the film's two protagonists. Italian director Daniele Vicari focuses on police brutality during the calculated frenzy of violence in repression of the youth movement in Genoa in 2001 during the G8 summit in Diaz-Don't Clean Up This Blood. The desolate communist past of Romania is represented by a fantastic tone and deliriousness in Same Place in Palilula, a small town lost somewhere on the country map during the 60's, when a young doctor arrives and the population is forever submerged in drunkenness and becomes isolated.
Mexico was the country of special focus at this year's festival and the Mexican cinema of the last twenty years was revisited in a special retrospective. The season of Mexican films scheduled for the 57th film week included long features by such well-known directors as Arturo Ripstein, Alfonso Cuarón and González Iñárritu.
A selection of films that show the other side of Indian cinema was exhibited in the section Another Bollywood Exists. Eight films shot over the last ten years served to exemplify a different side of India, a country whose cinema is normally associated with a series of very specific elements, particularly the big Bollywood productions about passionate love stories, choreographed to the hilt. (Joan Millaret Valls)
Valladolid International Film Festival: www.seminci.com