Trento & the Mountain Film Festival

Monday, 29 April 2013

I spent the weekend in Trento, an hour north of Verona and a jumping off point for the Dolomite mountains of the Alto Adige or South Tyrol region. I spend a week walking in the region back in 2002. I was speaking at the annual Trento Film Festival, it’s been going on for 61 years and features films generally with some sort of outdoor or mountain connection from all over the world. This year it runs from 25 April to 8 May in Trento and Bolzano.

Casa Cazuffi-Rella 542

Fontana di Nettuno 400▲ Trento itself features superb frescoes like these on the walls of the Renaissance era Casa Cazuffi-Rella houses, overlooking the Neptune Fountain (Fontana di Nettuno) in the centre of the Piazza del Duomo. Trento also has interesting underground reminders of its early Roman history as the city of Tridentum at La Città Sotterranea.

◄ The Neptune Fountain

I only caught two films during the weekend. In The Hunter (Daniel Nettheim) starring William Dafoe and Sam Neill the Dafoe hunter character is in pursuit of the last Tasmanian tiger, for no good purpose.

You come away with the impression that Tasmanians are all tree huggers, tree choppers, rednecks or hippies and that it rains (or sometimes snows) all the time. You’ll also be very impressed by the way the hunter packs 12 days supplies, all his gear, tent, sleeping bag, hunting traps, recording equipment and a very big gun into what looks like just a reasonably big daypack.

BaBa ZuLa plays Trento 542Enis Aldjelis is a silent film made in Istanbul in 1920, so it’s interesting for its scenes of the city nearly a century ago. Ahmet – the main character – is a dope and not very nice to poor Enis. Sound, when I saw it, was supplied by the excellent Turkish rock band BaBa ZuLa.

I didn’t see – but would have if they’d been showing it while I was in Trento – La Via del Lupo , ‘Way of the Wolf’ – about how wolves have spontaneously reappeared in the Italian mountains. Well that’s interesting, re-establishing gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park in the USA has been a major operation, how did the wolves do it themselves in crowded Europe?

I didn’t see Village at the End of the World either, but it certainly sounded interesting. Niaqornat is a coastal settlement in Greenland coping with all the problems of climate change, depopulation and assorted other challenges. The villagers feel that if the village population drops below 60 they’re in big trouble, when I visited Pitcairn Island in the Pacific back in 1998 their magic number was 40.

Finally another mountain film I saw a couple of weeks ago – so not at the film festival – was The Loneliest Planet, which treks through the wilderness of Georgia. With a title like that I clearly had to see it, but the film features wonderful scenery, lots of meaningful looks and meaningless conversation and rather too much tedium.