Louis Hanquet’s “Un pasteur” wins the Golden Gentian for Best Film at the 72nd Trento Film Festival

Published 04/05/2024

The French director’s film tells the story of a young shepherd and his life isolated from the world, battling against solitude and an invisible adversary.

The Cai Award Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain people and life in the mountains goes to “Le fils du chasseur” by the Swiss director Juliette Riccaboni, with special mention for “Marmolada – Madre Roccia”. The “City of Bolzano” Award Golden Gentian for the best film on exploration or adventure goes to Michael Dillon’s “The Great White Whale”. Silver Gentians are awarded to Henna Taylor’s short animated film “Body of a Line” for best technical-artistic contribution, and “Postcards from the Verge” by Natalia Koniarz as best short film, with special mention for Nicolas Piret’s “Silent Panorama”.
The Jury Prize goes to “Diciassette” by the Swiss filmmaker Thomas Horat.

A life suspended in time in an inaccessible world, battling with solitude and an invisible adversary: the story of Félix, a young, melancholy and reserved shepherd, surprised and moved the international jury at the 72nd Trento Film Festival, which has thus awarded Louis Hanquet’s film Un pasteur (France/2024/71′) the Golden Gentian for Best Film – Grand Prix “City of Trento”. “The film offered us a mesmerizing portrait of a young man choosing a life that left us all in admiration. The director captures moments of Felix’s life surrounded by animals, let it be dogs or sheep, he cares about with a most sensitive glance. In the grander scheme of things, Un pasteur calls for respect and humility in front of a community of animals, humans and nature living together in harmony”: this is the motivation given by the jury. Félix lives alone, working with his father to rear the family’s flock: from autumn to spring he takes care of his animals, feeding and protecting them in the thick holm oak forests in the foothills of the French Alps. In summer he leaves his father and travels over two hundred kilometres on foot to take the flock to mountain pastures in the Ubaye valley, in the Alps of Upper Provence. He lives there for months on end, far away from everything and everyone, in a world made up of rock, where an invisible being lurks: the wolf.

“It is a victory for mountains that are authentic, genuine and at the same time very topical; ‘harsh’ mountains marked by their ruggedness and isolation”, the President of Trento Film Festival, Mauro Leveghi commented. “Difficult life choices, once faced out of necessity and now perhaps with greater awareness and conviction, but in some ways even more difficult to put into practice, given the need to fight against insidious enemies such as social conventions and stereotypes, as powerful as the effects of climate change, and as silent and invisible as the wolf.”

The Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain people and life in the mountains – the Club Alpino Italiano Award – goes to Le fils du chasseur by Juliette Riccaboni (Switzerland/2023/54′), a film that “presents the life of a young Swiss-Moroccan with heart-warming effect as he aims to reconnect with his Caucasian father. His search leads him to encounter moments of truth about the lives of his dad and old buddy Charlot, in ways that connect the audience to those left behind in society”. Special mention was also given to Marmolada – Madre Roccia by Matteo Maggi and Cristiana Pecci (Italy/2024/76’).

The Golden Gentian for the best film on exploration or adventure – “City of Bolzano” Award goes to The Great White Whale by Michael Dillon (Australia/2023/104′) “For the courage, the resourcefulness of the crew, the climate of camaraderie that shines through from the stories of the protagonists and the skilful use of the archives. The great white whale is not only the first successful attempt to climb the BIG BEN peak. It also is the metaphorical value of a distant horizon to be followed collectively, taking advantage of the experiences of those who preceded us in the same challenges. It reminds us that there is nothing riskier than doing nothing and what we will regret when we are too tired and old are the possibilities we didn’t take.”

“Henna Taylor’s new stylish animated documentary adventure is about Madaleine Sorkin’s Dunn-Westboy Direct on Longs Peak, over a “No Falls”-day accomplishment. It is described with a heartful narration across her ongoing attempts to achieve this goal. To paraphrase Madaleine, ‘It Feels Like Symphony in Our Body’”. With this motivation, the Silver Gentian for best technical–artistic contribution has been awarded to Body of a Line by Henna Taylor (USA/2023/10′).

The Silver Gentian for best short film goes instead to Postcards from the Verge by Natalia Koniarz (Poland/2023/40′): “An intimate story of two young travellers/filmmakers. While journeying through the Andes, they experience many unforeseen difficulties, ranging from the Covid pandemic to border crossings. In uncertain times, their relationship matures as they encounter the hardship of local residents’ lives.” Special mention has been given to Nicolas Piret’s Silent Panorama (Belgium/2024/5′).

Lastly, the Jury Prize has been awarded to Thomas Horat’s Diciassette (Switzerland/2023/17′), giving the following motivation: “The stories of men and women and memories of places combine harmoniously in Antonietta’s words. Her recollections take us back to the time when it was necessary to make a choice in Italy. Seventeen recounts how a young partisan woman fighting against Fascism consciously contributed to the freedom of generations that were to follow.”

“There is a central thread linking the jury’s choices, a thread winding its way through the psychological narration of the protagonists and their relationship with places: not just backdrops, but rather a driving force for intimate and complex journeys”, said the Festival Director, Luana Bisesti. “As usual, the choices are original and not predictable, a worthy conclusion to an edition highlighting the Festival’s ability to renew itself, revitalising its 72-year history in a contemporary context.”

“I am doubly pleased the Golden Gentian for Best Film – Grand Prix ‘City of Trento’ has been awarded to Louis Hanquet’s Un pasteur, firstly because it is an important film recounting the radical choice of a young man living in the mountains with his flock and dogs, far away from everyone, but without ever being really alone; and secondly because it is Hanquet’s debut as a director”, concluded Mauro Gervasini, in charge of the film programme. “This is also what festivals are for. Revealing talent and discovering tomorrow’s filmmakers is the greatest ambition of anyone organising a selection.”