Italian films in IFFI Goa

Two critically-acclaimed feature films which are set in Italy and in Italian language will be the opening and closing films at the 50th edition of International Film Festival of India beginning in Goa on November 20.

The Italian feature film ‘Despite the Fog’, which chronicles the story of a Muslim refugee child who loses his parents during his journey to Italy and finds shelter in an Italian couple’s home in a small province of Rome, will be the opening film.

The curtain will fall on the nine-day festival with the screening of ‘Marghe and Her Mother’ directed by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf considered as one of the leading torchbearers of the Iranian New Wave’s second generation.

‘Despite the Fog’ or ‘Nonostante La Nebbia’, directed by Goran Paskaljevic, one of Europe’s most respected filmmakers, will mark the Asia Premiere of the film. The film brings to the screen the story of Paolo, owner of a restaurant in a small town in the province of Rome, returning home after work on a rainy evening. 

Along the way, he sees a child huddled in the cold at a bus stop and decides to take him home. The child is called Mohammed and is a refugee, abandoned, who lost his parents during the trip to Italy on a rubber boat.

The presence of the child upsets Paolo’s wife Valeria who is hesitant to accept the child at the beginning but who eventually agrees to host him for the night. After a while she changes her mind and decides to keep Mohammed despite everybody’s opinion to the contrary.

Goran Paskaljevic is one of Europe's most respected independent directors. Born in Belgrade (Serbia), he studied at the famous Prague school of cinema (FAMU) and has made 30 documentaries and 18 feature films, shown and acclaimed at the most prestigious international festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian, to name a few.

The filmmaker has received numerous awards and honours for his acclaimed works. The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) in 2008 and the British Film Institute (London) in 2010 both presented a full retrospective of his feature films. He was awarded the title of Officier des Arts et des Lettres, the most important French decoration in the field of culture.

‘Marghe and Her Mother’ revolves around Marghe, a six-year-old girl who lives with her single mother Claudia who has been kicked out of her house because of payment difficulties, leaving Marghe to an old woman next door.

This is Makhmalbaf’s first film set in Italy and in Italian language, away from his regular backdrop of Iran. ‘Marghe and Her Mother’ has already earned critical acclaim with layered symbolism and certain innocence in its narrative flow which reflects the master filmmaker’s maturity over the years. The film has certain neo-realist and nouvelle vague as the Makhmalbaf pays a subtle tribute to two of the greatest film movements of the world.

The film marks remarkable shift from Makhmalbaf’s previous works which focused on issues of authoritarianism and revolution and the daily lives in the Middle East and instead deals with the issues of identity, social systems, moralities and other aspects of the younger generation.

The 50th year of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will showcase around 200 films from 76 countries, 26 feature films and 15 non-feature films.