By Alessia Podeschi

From 5 to 14 November, Rome will host the 27th edition of MedFilm Festival, the first Italian festival dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of Mediterranean cinema.

The 27th edition of MedFilm Festival: mediterranean cinema in Rome
The 27th edition of MedFilm Festival

The MedFilm Festival will be hosted by the Savoy and Aquila theaters, the Macro Museum, the “Casa delle Letterature” (House of Literatures) and the “Biblioteca Europea” (European Library). This year’s selection includes over 86 films and short films illustrating the roots, the traditions but also the conflicts that characterize Mediterranean culture. The Festival will also be accessible online through the website.

“Our festival is a showcase for the countries of the Mediterranean area. We are here to tear down the walls of prejudices and clichés that prevent the distribution of these films”, says Ginella Vocca, the president of Medfilm Festival.

The event is organized with the support of the European Commission and the European Parliament, the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Lazio Region, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) and the embassies of Morocco and Slovenia, the two guests of honour of this edition.

MedFilm Festival: Casablanca Beats by Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch
Casablanca Beats by Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch

Nine movies representing 8 countries will take part in the official competition – Premio Amore & Psiche. Among them is A Tale Of Love And Desire by Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid, which tells the story of the dazzling love between the shy Ahmed and the explosive Farah. Bouzid’s movie perfectly embodies the message of this edition “which is focused on the encounter with the other through eroticism and sexuality, also as a way to introduce a discussion on political issues“, the artistic director of the event, Giulio Casadei, explained.

The competition includes movies from the two guest countries, such as Casablanca Beats by Moroccan author Nabil Ayouch, which tells the story of a group of teenager from Casablanca who free themselves from the weight of traditions through their passion for hip hop culture, and Sanremo by Slovenian director Miroslav Mandic, which tells the story of two patients of a nursing home suffering from dementia, Bruno and Duša, who start a bittersweet love story, destined to begin and end over and over again because of their constant loss of memory.

Ginella Vocca, President of MedFilm Festival
Ginella Vocca, President of MedFilm Festival

Another protagonist of this year’s edition is Commitment Hasan, an entertaining comedy which marks the return of Turkish author Semih Kaplanoglu to MedFilm Festival.

Among the movies included in the section Le Perle, dedicated to Italian cinema, we should mentioned Europe, by Italian-Iraqi director Haider Rashid. The film approaches the painful theme of the Balkan route of migrants, depicting the story of a strenuous struggle for freedom and life.

“Medfilm Festival – explains Ms. Vocca – makes it possible to see the point of view of the authors without mediation. We must look at them if we want to understand that reality is much more complex, much more articulated and certainly different from the stereotypes to which we are accustomed”.

The out-of-competition category exceptionally includes Return to Kandahar by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, which 20 years after its realization, will be screened during  the Festival as a tribute to the Afghan people. The film will be screened on 12 November to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of Amnesty International, in order to stimulate a debate on the current situation in Afghanistan.

MedFilm Festival: Igiaba Scego, winner of the Koinè Prize
Igiaba Scego, winner of the Koinè Prize

In addition to the appointments mentioned above the Festival also include: the short film competition; the Focus section dedicated to the two guest countries; the Koinè Prize that will be awarded to writer Igiaba Scego; Lux Film Days, a section created in collaboration with the Italian Office of the European Parliament; the Voci dal carcere selection, featuring movies shot within imprisonment facilities, such as the movie Rebibbia Lockdown, the brainchild of vice president of Luiss University and former Italian Justice Minister Paola Severino.

The new features of the 2021 edition include the institution of the Valentina Pedicini Award, dedicated to late Italian director Valentina Pedicini, who passed away last year, and a collaboration with WWF Italy.