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VIFF 2010, Day 7: The Irresistible Pocket-Sized Female Heroine

Greta Zuccheri Montanari in The Man Who Will Come

Greta Zuccheri Montanari directed by Giorgio Diritti in The Man Who Will Come

Coming out of a screening of The Man From Nowhere late on Wednesday evening — that this was our second screening of the film should tell you how highly we regard Jeong-beom Lee's well-wrought South Korean film — J.B. 'Showbiz' Shayne commented that "The three best films we've seen at this year's Festival all involve young girls in the lead role." And so it is.

In today's posting we'll focus on the film that is at the top of our list of young distaff cinema, Italian director Giorgio Diritti's sophomore film ...

The Man Who Will Come: With pensive power, director Giorgio Diritti crafts a heartwrenching historical tragedy that places Greta Zuccheri Montanari, the eight-year-old girl who plays lead character, Martina, as the axis of the film's portrait of a rural Italian provincial life rattled by war, the feeling of danger and impending dread at odds with the bucolic lives lead by the people of the Bolognese rural commune in which she and her family reside. Bambini neorealist cinema (based on true events), we observe Martina wandering freely between civilians and warriors, partisans and invaders, in 1944 war torn Italy, even as the brutal struggle between Italian partisans and German soldiers takes place in the forest just outside her village.

We watch, too, as the film's pocket-sized heroine moves from passivity into desperate action, as marauding Nazi patrols pierce the commune's shield leading to the climactic massacre which claimed the lives of almost 800 Italian civilians, mostly women and children. That Martina is mute, not having spoken since the death of her little brother (in her arms), allows us to see the child's dawn-fresh perception of the world and the horrors descended upon it by war. Martina emerges as the film's rooting interest, as she gravely ponders her father's (Claudio Casadio) diligent toil, and her mother's (Maya Sansa) developing pregnancy. The Man Who Will Come is all the stronger for placing the pint-sized Ms. Montanari at its centre.

Given how natural, sympathetic and irresistible Ms. Montanari proves to be during the running time of the film, one cannot imagine how else helmsman Diritti could have as effectively portrayed the events the film depicts.

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The remaining two films which employ a young girl at their centre to tell their story are ...

Of Love and Other Demons: Hilda Hidalgo's adaptation of the Gabriel García Márquez's novel, Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons), set in colonial Colombia offers the unsettling story of 13-year-old noble, Sierva (Eliza Triana) and the rabid dog bite that changes her life forever. Thought to be possessed by demons 13-year-old Servia is destitute until a young priest, instead of terrorizing her like the nuns and priests before him, falls in love with her. We'll leave you to watch the trailer above to determine for yourself just how pivotal Ms. Triana's wrenching (and, yes, sensuous) performance is to the overall success of the film clip.

Kim Sae-Ron in The Man From Nowhere

A trailer for, and review of, The Man From Nowhere was published on October 5th. Click here to access that material. Kim Sae-ron (above) is absolutely central to the success of the film, her contribution immeasurable.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 7, 2010 1:37 AM in VIFF 2010


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