“Anche stanotte le mucche danzeranno sul tetto” by the Swiss director Aldo Gugolz wins the Golden Gentian for best film at the 69th Trento Film Festival

Published 08/05/2021

Set in the alpine pastures of Ticino, the winner of the “City of Trento” Grand Prix offers a profound reflection on the subject of family inheritance and possible emancipation from it.

 The CAI Award Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain life and mountain peoples goes to the Iranian film “Holy Bread”; the “City of Bolzano” Prize Golden Gentian for the best exploration or adventure movie goes to “Here I Am, Again”; the Silver Gentian for the best artistic – technical contribution goes to “Die letzten Österreicher” and the Silver Gentian for the best short film to the Chinese film “One Day”.

The Jury Prize has been awarded to the documentary “Chaddr – A River Between Us”, with Special Mention for “Icemeltland Park” and “The Magic Mountain”.

After the Andes and Caucasus, this year the Grand Prix stays in the Alps: the international jury has awarded the prestigious “City of Trento” Grand Prix Golden Gentian for Best Film to the film Anche stanotte le mucche danzeranno sul tetto by Aldo Gugolz (Svizzera/2020/82′), a portrait of alpine pastures in Ticino and their troubled owner, with the following motivation. «In that same nature where someone seeks resurrection, others find death. The director skillfully uses the frame of a crime story to transport the viewer with audiovisual expertise (photography and sound are valuable) into the high mountain environment and introduce him to Fabiano, a young man in search for a new self in the alleged idyllic peace of the mountain. Confused by existential doubts and feelings of guilt, it is in the new role of father that the protagonist tries to elaborate the relationship with his own, leading the film to reflect with awareness and depth on the thorny issue of family inheritance and the possible emancipation from it».

«Trento Festival has never been afraid to take risks » explains the President of Trento Film Festival, Mauro Leveghi «and it has always followed the path that is least simple and most demanding, but with a wealth of meaning and truth: a path leading to an understanding of the mountains, their culture and the life of their peoples, in a way that is neither banal or superficial, but rather explores and investigates, even at the cost of revealing profound contradictions. The film winning the Grand Prix this year has the same courage, recounting the mountains without resorting to simplistic or idealistic stereotypes, with all the related anguish, fears and, fragility, but without ever losing the hope of succeeding. This is how we all feel, in the second year of the pandemic, faced with the challenge of starting up again».

The Club Alpino Italiano Prize Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain life and mountain peoples goes to Rahim Zabihi’s Holy Bread (Iran/2020/54′), a documentary that follows the exhausting and perilous job of porters carrying clandestine goods across the mountains between Iran and Iraq. «Life in mountain communities is not easy; in many cases reality reflects inequalities and minimal subsistence conditions», the motivation reads «Holy Bread offers rough testimonies of how the Kulbars transport goods through mountain passes without the necessary technical equipment, facing dangers and extreme weather conditions, with the strong will to do whatever it takes to bring the holy bread to the family table».

«Bread that is the fruit of effort and sacrifice is always “Holy”, but bread that is earned while remaining rooted to one’s own mountains, in whatever country, defying all the climatic and logistical problems, is even more so. There is no point asking oneself about the secret reason behind an attachment that is often inexplicable: it is written into the bond that unites the mountains and those who carry them in their heart», affirmed the General President of CAI – Club Alpino Italiano, Vincenzo Torti.

The “City of Bolzano” Prize Golden Gentian for the best exploration or adventure movie goes to Here I Am, Again by Polly Guentcheva (Bulgaria/2021/102′), a multi-faceted portrait of the Bulgarian high mountain climber and zoologist Boyan Petrov, and the story of the unprecedented international rescue operation launched following his disappearance on the Shishapangma, one of the last “eight-thousanders” missing in his curriculum. This is the motivation of the Jury: «In Here I Am, Again we not only learn about Boyan Petrov’s incredible achievements, both as a climber and a zoologist, Director Polly Guentcheva shows us that there is much more to Boyan’s story than just a passion for climbing. He may be the very embodiment of courage, leading us to wonder whether a mountain can teach us to be fighters, and survivors, at any altitude».

The Silver Gentian for the best artistic-technical contribution goes to Die letzten Österreicher by Lukas Pitscheider (Austria, Ukraine/2020/85′), a documentary that focuses on the last members of a German-speaking community of Austrian origin in the mountains of Ukraine. The Jury’s motivation states «How many people does it take to become a community, a homeland? What is it that creates the feeling of national identity: the perpetuating of traditions, the language, the shared nostalgia? By sending us to Austrian wooden chalets in the middle of the Ukrainian Carapates, Lukas Pitscheider’s film The Last Austrians questions us about globalization, immigration, identity».

The Silver Gentian for best short film has been assigned to Jin Jiang’s One Day (China/2020/24′), which follows in the footsteps of an old Chinese man, along a route winding its way from morning to evening, through the four seasons, until his return home. «In a sense, life can be boiled down to two existential questions: Where are you? And where are you going? The winning short film of Trento International Film Festival succeeds with the simplest of narratives to keep us glued to the screen» the jury has written.

The Special Jury Prize has been awarded to Chaddr – A River Between Us by Minsu Park (Germany/2020/88′), a film recounting a girl’s last journey to her school, across the spectacular mountains of Kashmir, along a frozen river that will soon be impracticable. «Even in a mountain-themed film festival, sometimes it’s the most down-to-earth stories that capture our hearts» the Jury was keen to underline.

The Jury has also awarded a Special Mention to Icemeltland Park by Liliana Colombo (Italy, United Kingdom/2020/40′), a caustic and original look at global warming, offering an ironic view of our lack of awareness, and The Magic Mountain by Eitan Efrat and Daniel Mann (Belgium/2020/67′), an exploration of three places in Europe where caves, tunnels and quarries have opened up physical and symbolic communication with the power of the mountains and subsoil.

«By now we know how difficult it is to organise a major cultural event in the COVID-19 era, because the second edition has been conditioned by the limitations and uncertainty linked to the health emergency», the Festival Director, Luana Bisesti comments. «However, the response of the public, which has filled the cinemas and the virtual events streamed live, once again makes up for all the effort, and allows us to look to the future with hope. In June we will be back in the streets with MontagnaLibri, and in the theatre with lots of events linked to the history of mountaineering and mountain literature: the success of this “first half” comforts us and gives us the energy necessary to move forward with enthusiasm».

«Just a couple of weeks ago we were resigned to organising an event that was purely online, today we find ourselves taking stock of the first festival in Italia to have returned to cinemas», concludes Sergio Fant, responsible for the film programme. «And the result has been very positive, even better than expected. Despite the limits set on entry, the limited time available to communicate the reopening of cinemas and the absence of many university students from Trento, we have rediscovered an enthusiastic public keen to get back to the movies, with constant attendance at the screenings and tickets sold out for the most eagerly awaited films. In parallel, the streaming platform – which will remain active until 16 May – has confirmed itself as an instrument appreciated and adopted by spectators, in Trentino and the rest of Italy: we have reached almost 10 thousand registered users, and to date, i.e. with a week still to go, there have been around 30 thousand viewings online. At the cinema or on the web, we are happy to confirm that the desire for film has not been extinguished, and with a little pride we can say that Trento Film Festival proved itself to be ready, with new and high-quality content, along with the flexibility necessary in these times».

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