Dazed Digital

Rome / Italiano

Rome International Film Festival

November 14, 2011

Strong female leads, social commentary and art - the first report from the 7th edition of the Rome Film Festival

  • Text by Flavia Ferrucci

The seventh edition of the Rome International Film Festival had strong female characters as absolute protagonists. As pointed out by the artistic director Piera Detassis during the opening night, it wasn't a coincidence that a movie such as "The Lady" was the one to launch the festival. Luc Besson's wonderful film, that draws an intimate portrayal of Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi (impeccably played by Michelle Yeoh), was warmly received by both the audience and the critics alike. A solemn launch for the festival who has seen many stories about and narrated by women, through documentaries, dramas and comedies.

The first of these films to be presented has been "Hysteria", from young American director Tanya Wexler. An enjoyable comedy that shows the events that led to the invention of the vibrator. The little Norwegian jewel "Turn Me On, Goddammit" from director Jannicke Systad Jacobsen, is yet another all-female film, that arrived in Rome after having been praised in various international festivals. It's a delicate and genuine portrait of a disappointed teenager from a small town grappling with her first sexual troubles.

Far from the world of narrative cinema with its protagonists and heroines, the winner of first prize in the Extra section "Model Girl", a documentary directed by Ashley Sabin and David Redmond, takes into a merciless portrayal of the women condition in parts of our society. One of the most interesting films of the festival, the film investigates with a critical and detached eye the exploitation of young girls aged 13 - 17, carried as 'cattle' from the poorest ares of Russia to Japan, thanks to the mirage of a rich life as a supermodel. Humiliation, loneliness and disillusionment accompany this painful journey that follows 13-year-old Nadya from her native Siberian village - from which she is taken by a former model, now recruiter - up to Tokyo.

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