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ITALIAN FILMMAKER FEDERICO FELLINI HONOURED WITH RETROSPECTIVE AT INTERNATIONAL EVENT IN TRENČIANSKE TEPLICE

Spa town to host Art Film Festival

"PAYING tribute to the great magician of cinema, Federico Fellini, is a dream of every festival," says Peter Hledík, director of the Trenčianske Teplice Art Film Festival. The event, now in its 11th year, will run from June 20th through June 28th in the spa town of Trenčianske Teplice. This year's retrospective will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Fellini's death, and will feature work by him and documentaries about him.
The Fellini section of the festival will feature one world premiere and one Slovak premiere. Directors Leo Aninozzi and Alessandro De Michele have granted an exclusive first screening of their documentary entitled Imago - The Imaginary World of Federico Fellini. And to be presented for the first time in Slovakia will be the director's final movie from 1990, La Voce della Luna (The Voice of the Moon) starring Roberto Benigni.
"Fellini is one of the two greatest filmmakers ever," says Vladimír Štric, programme director of the festival. "The other one is Charlie Chaplin. Both of them understood what the medium of film was all about."


CATHERINE Deneuve receiving her Actor's Mission award on the Bridge of Fame in 2000.
photo: Courtesy of Art Film

"PAYING tribute to the great magician of cinema, Federico Fellini, is a dream of every festival," says Peter Hledík, director of the Trenčianske Teplice Art Film Festival. The event, now in its 11th year, will run from June 20th through June 28th in the spa town of Trenčianske Teplice. This year's retrospective will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Fellini's death, and will feature work by him and documentaries about him.

The Fellini section of the festival will feature one world premiere and one Slovak premiere. Directors Leo Aninozzi and Alessandro De Michele have granted an exclusive first screening of their documentary entitled Imago - The Imaginary World of Federico Fellini. And to be presented for the first time in Slovakia will be the director's final movie from 1990, La Voce della Luna (The Voice of the Moon) starring Roberto Benigni.

"Fellini is one of the two greatest filmmakers ever," says Vladimír Štric, programme director of the festival. "The other one is Charlie Chaplin. Both of them understood what the medium of film was all about."

Štric, who has been working with the festival since its start, has seen all the 447 films submitted for participation. But he speaks with just as much enthusiasm about the short student documentaries included in the On the Road section as he does about the major personalities of the festival.

"Fellini is one of the greatest because his films are based on dreaminess, showing that a film actually is a dream. When you sit in a dark movie theatre, what you see on the screen are dreams. He filmed dreams all his life, because he filmed his memories, and his imagination. He is the filmmaker who best understood that film is an illusion," says Štric.

The other artist besides Fellini who is honoured with a separate section in the programme is the Armenian director Don Askarian. Born in 1949 in Nagorno Karabakh, in the former Soviet Union, Askarian studied history and art in Moscow, and worked as an assistant film director and film critic before being imprisoned in 1975. After emigrating to West Berlin in 1978, Askarian began his film career in exile.


THE LATE Federico Fellini.
photo: Courtesy of Art Film

"Askarian has a different way of thinking. It's a non-European approach, so his movies are not what we are used to. I don't want to say that his films reflect his ethnicity or culture, they are just different," says Štric.

"He works with very poignant images, and often covers serious themes. [Some of his] films are about genocide in Armenia, others are about the exodus of the Armenian people. Askarian is an example himself, as he left Armenia for Germany, and his work reflects both cultures."

One of the aims of the festival this year is to present the cinematography of EU candidate countries, including Slovakia, due to join the union next year. Films from central and eastern Europe are included in all the sections, but are given a particular focus in the category Closest from the Border. One of Štric's recommendations is the Hungarian movie Hukkle, written and directed by György Pálfi.

"Hukkle is fantastic - probably one of the best movies we're going to screen. It perfectly reflects the thinking of the new generation [of filmmakers]. The director knows no boundaries regarding both the themes and the genre. His film is a mixture of genres, he jumps from popular science to story telling, and he uses computer effects in a very intelligent way. Moreover, it is a very amusing movie, and very modern in its message," says Štric.

Films from the UK and Switzerland will be presented in special sections entitled Swiss Made and British Day. Movies by noted directors Danny Boyle and Ken Loach, as well as Peter Mullan's controversial movie The Magdalene Sisters, will be presented on June 23.

For moviegoers who cannot wait until internationally-awarded films arrive in Slovakia for general distribution, the film festival will offer a sneak preview of hit movies like Frida, Adaptation, Hero, and The Pianist in the Art Film Fest section.


FROM Hungarian film Hukkle.
photo: Courtesy of Art Film

For the sake of the international members of the festival's jury, as well as foreign visitors, all films will have both Slovak and English subtitles or simultaneous interpretation. The festival will also include a section called the Slovak Season, which will bring the best of recent Slovak film to the international audience.

Throughout its history, the film festival has not only gained a reputation for its selection of high-quality films but also for its tradition of honouring important figures in film. Every year the organizers hold a ceremony during which several people are honoured with the installation of plaques be aring their names on the Bridge of Fame. The actors who have received the award in the past have included Geraldine Chaplin, Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Catherine Deneuve.

In addition to the award ceremony, there are other events, like open-air screenings, a display of drawings and photographs by Federico Fellini, a seminar about his work, a presentation of film publications, live music, and an autograph session. Most importantly, this festival gives visitors the opportunity to live nine days in the world of motion pictures, with 120 films to choose from.

The Trenčianske Teplice Film Festival takes place from June 20 through June 28.

A day pass costs Sk50 and a weekly pass is available for Sk400. Both give visitors access to all films. For more information visit www.artfilm.sk

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