Trento Film Festival sets off again: Destination… Greenland

Published 03/03/2021

The immense arctic nation is the “guest country” at the 69th edition. Francesco Catarinolo’s “La casa rossa” will see its Italian premiere in the competition, in the presence of the well-known explorer and writer from Alto Adige featured in the film, Robert Peroni, who has chosen to live in the remote village of Tasiilaq. The journalist Sandro Orlando presents the history of climatology at a meeting, while a photography exhibition documents the past and present

When the Norse leader and seafarer Erik the Red landed on the coast of a north-westerly land he had only heard rumours of in legends, he decided to call it Grønland, “green land”, a name that today may seem bizarre, considering that 80% of the island is covered by ice. However, this was not the case around the year 1000, at the height of the Medieval Climate Optimum – the relatively warm climatic phase characterising the High Middle Ages – when Greenland truly was a greener land.
Recently, the largest island in the world has taken on increasingly greater international significance, due to the climate emergency and the relative environmental, economic and geopolitical consequences: the special programme Destination… Greenland at Trento Film Festival 2021 (30 April – 9 May) is thus an invitation to explore this extraordinary and little known place.

«It is indeed climate change that demands a new and different relationship between man and the environment, one that should characterise the fresh economic and social start after the pandemic, as a sign of real change», underlines Mauro Leveghi, President of Trento Film Festival. «For years the Festival has dealt with these issues through the language of film, and the boundless arctic lands have always been one of the most fascinating horizons for explorers from all over the world. Hence Greenland is well qualified to become the eleventh guest country of Trento Film Festival at the 69th edition, which returns to its traditional springtime slot – after the shift to the summer last year – trusting that the cinemas will reopen, for the good of the Festival and the whole film industry», Mauro Leveghi emphasises.

After a decade of success, Destination… kicks off again, focusing on two issues that have always been at the heart of the Festival, namely climate change and social transformations involving the most remote areas of the planet and their inhabitants. The section will see the best of recent Greenlandic and international film production dedicated to the country (in collaboration with the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen), along with a series of events.

The spotlight will already be turned on the arctic nation in the context of the Festival’s most prestigious showcase, the Competition, with the Italian premier of the new Italo-German documentary La casa rossa (2021), supported by the IDM Film Fund & Commission of Alto Adige, Turin Piemonte Film Commission and Mibact. Directed by Francesco Catarinolo, the film deals with the life and work of Robert Peroni, a well-known explorer and writer from South Tyrol, who after several expeditions to Greenland, chose to live in the remote village of Tasiilaq, where he has opened a reception centre for tourists, also becoming a resource and point of reference for the local community.

«Making La casa rossa», the director Catarinolo recounts «was a unique experience that changed my life forever. I worked on the project for five years, and we left for Tasiilaq at the end of February 2020. After a few weeks of filming, Covid-19 caused panic among the natives: everyone was afraid of us! We had to use all our physical and mental resources to find a way to complete the documentary, despite the difficulties. The result was unexpected, a collective effort with moving stories, focusing on the charismatic figure of Peroni, and the magnificent landscapes of Greenland». Robert Peroni will come to Trento for the premiere of La casa rossa and will be present at the Festival for an event dedicated to his experiences and arctic explorations.

Several other events dedicated to Greenland will take place in addition to the selection of films, presented both in the presence of the public – respecting the regulations in force during the period of the Festival – and with streaming of events.
Another eagerly awaited event concerns the history of climatology, with some of the most important discoveries being made precisely in Greenland in the second half of the 20th century. The encounter will feature the journalist and writer from the RCS group Sandro Orlando, who will talk about the results of a scientific expedition in which he participated – the subject of his next book, to be published this summer by Laterza. Photographs of this expedition will be on display in an open-air exhibition in Piazza Fiera, offering a fascinating parallel with those taken in 1934 by Leonardo Bonzi during the first Italian expedition to Greenland.

A literary encounter dedicated to Leggende groenlandesi (Greenlandic Legends, published by Iperborea) will bring the editor of the book, Bruno Berni, to Trento. Collected a century ago by the great explorer and anthropologist Knud Rasmussen and written down in Danish, these stories indeed provide us with a unadulterated account of the age-old confrontation between the people of the ice with a hostile natural world, a battle marked by fear but also with a wealth of original imagery to overcome it.
One appointment not to be missed is In viaggio con papà, with Ella and Fabio Pasini: Greenland is a utopian dream for the father Fabio, who has visited the country for twenty years, organising family holidays to the village of Isortoq, on the eastern coast. The last trip planned, with their third child, their daughter Ella, was cancelled due to Covid, so the couple rummage through their notes, film footage and photographs of previous trips with the older children Zeno and Brenno, to recount a different kind of “normality”, where people go hunting for bears, seals and whales in order to survive.

Destination…Greenland has received the patronage of the Danish Embassy in Italy.

Find out more about the film programme for the section.

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