International film festival gets reel

The third annual Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival, Faces of Realism, began with a bang on Thursday, Feb. 26, with the showing of Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo. The creator of the festival, Jolanta Lion, a special faculty member at the Humanities Center, put together a group of lauded films that interpret their own version of realism through the medium of film.

This collection of cinema, which has been given prizes from such prestigious festivals as the Cannes, deserves all the recognition it can receive. The directors and films may not sound too familiar to the mainstream film industry in America, but this festival gives students the opportunity to see many notable international films from this year.

Il Divo is the gripping story of seven-time Italian Prime Minister Gulio Andreotti. During the opening night, Tony Buba, an internationally acclaimed director from Braddock, Pa. (a suburb of Pittsburgh) introduced the movie by claiming that “it was the movie Oliver Stone wishes he could make, if he had Paulo Sorrentino’s talent.” Sorrentino weaves many characters together and paints the character of Andreotti with a masterstroke. This suspenseful tale is visually gritty and instantly appealing, and the heavy dose of wit and humorous remarks provided by Andreotti only heighten the many precarious thoughts over the man’s innocence or guilt. As the film’s climax occurs, the director masterfully leaves the viewer without a definitive answer, with the intention of letting the audience members decide for themselves. The film won the Jury Prize and received a Golden Palm nomination in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.

The festival continues through this week with intriguing movies that are definitely worth a watch and a second screening of Il Divo at the SouthSide Works Saturday March 7.

The Mother (March 4, McConomy Auditorium):
Antoine Cattin’s and Pavel Kostomarov’s movie chronicles a woman, Liubuv, in her rural, farming community. The directors spent three years chronicling Liubuv’s life, attempting to weave a complicated yet realistic expression of her story.

It’s a Free World (March 5, SouthSide Works):
Ken Loach’s film is wonderfully thought-provoking and describes the life of a woman who is fed up with being used. The film received the 2007 Golden Osella Best Screenplay and a 2008 BAFTA TV Nomination for Best Actress. The film also won awards from the 2008 Sevilla Festival de Cine Europeo and the 2008 Festival Internacional de Cine.

Momma’s Man (March 6, SouthSide Works):
With awards from the 2007 Vienna Film Festival, 2008 Off Camera Film Festival, and the 2008 Independent Film Festival, Momma’s Man needs no further encouragement to watch the film. However, as an added bonus, Lion was able to schedule an appearance of the director at the screening of the film.

Marcela (March 8, SouthSide Works):
The festival finishes with Helena Trestikova’s Marcela. This movie is a true story, and follows a woman, Marcela, through her engagement, life with her in-laws, her failed marriage, and the subsequent erosion of her life. The film does not take a hands-off approach as it attempts to confront the conventional director roles and the function of the audience. The film won the Best European Documentary at the 2007 Seville Film Festival, and the Best Czech Documentary at the 2007 Finale Plzen Film Festival.