Angles on experience

Festival dei Popoli 2008 – November 14-21

Trevor Gori
November 13, 2008

Florence's Festival dei Popoli is a premier documentary film festival, famous for featuring works of social substance and intense quality from all over the world. This year, the 49th edition of the festival promises to continue the rich tradition.


Although the festival includes international competitions (for long and short films, as well as a freestyle competition, which focuses on experimental aspects of documentary filmmaking), this is not a festival about glamour and glitz.


A representative of the festival described the world of documentary filmmaking in terms of its preference for seriousness and empathy, rather than big names and stars, saying ‘it is about content and language and different perspectives.'


Running from November 14 through 21 and including films, speakers and discussions, the Festival dei Popoli's films and events explore different aspects of human nature, from country to country, from person to person. For example, Z32 is a documentary about the occupied territories in Palestine; Must Read After My Death, by the American director Morgan Drews, analyzes an American family during the 1960s. The festival organizers hope that in screening films from many countries they will reach an audience that is equally as diverse and ready to grapple with issues of humanity.


To encourage an international audience, the films, shown in their original language, will include English and Italian subtitles. In addition, each screening will include a Q&A session with the director.


A major feature of this year's festival is a retrospective on cinema of the Baltic region. Films from the past 50 years will illustrate the changes that have occurred in the region. Films from both before and after the fall of the U.S.S.R reveal the results of living in the different political systems. A representative of the festival defined the Baltic films as, ‘very great, very spiritual,' and commented that a ‘great jazz tradition' virtually unknown outside the region, complements the films.


A roundtable, called Nanook's Legacy, will feature a number of well-respected filmmakers and critics discussing the state of documentary filmmaking.


Tickets to the festival are priced from 5 to 7 euro per session, which are held in the afternoon and evening. All-inclusive passes allow access to all films and events. Student discounts will be available. Tickets will be available for purchase at any of the venues for the festival, including the Odeon Cinema in Piazza Strozzi, and the Stensen Cinema on Viale don Minzoni.






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