Turin fest honors Serra, Rohal


ROME -- Albert Serra's "Don Quixote" adaptation "Honor de Cavelleria" and "The Guatemalan Handshake" from U.S. director Todd Rohal were the stars of the 24th Turin Film Festival, with "Cavelleria" taking home best film, Rohal selected as best director and the two films sharing the special jury prize for acting excellence.

Both films were feature film debuts for their directors, par for the course for the Turin event, which ended Saturday. The festival only allows first, second, and third full-length efforts from directors to compete in competition.

Serra's 102-minute film -- which was entirely shot at dawn and dusk -- was the biggest winner, garnering €20,500 ($26,350) for the Lancia best film prize.

"Handshake" also won the Scuola Holden sidebar competition for best screenplay, with "Cavelleria" selected as an honorable mention along with French-Algerian effort "Bled Number One" from Rabah Ameur and Kazakhstan director Zhanabek Zhetyruv's "Zapiski Putevogo Obkhodchika" ("Notes by a Trackman").

Zhetyruv's "Zapiski Putevogo Obkhodchika" also won the audience prize for the most popular film among the general public that attended the festival.

The best short film prize went to "Chronicles of Impeccable Sportsmanship" from Erika Tasini, and the Italian short film prize was given to "Suicidio di un Paraplegico" ("Suicide of a Paraplegic") from Francesco Guttuso.

The Turin Festival kicked off Nov. 10 with the Italian premiere of Clint Eastwood's "Flags of Our Fathers" and also boasted the first Italian screenings of Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" and Jared Hess' comedy "Nacho Libre."

Another highlight was the world premiere of the 17th-century period film "Le Fiamme del Paradiso" ("The Flame of Paradise") from venerable Italian director Luciano Emmer. The film, which is acted entirely in the regional Italian dialect from Trentino, is the 55th full length film from the 88-year-old director, who won the 1952 Golden Globe for "Pictura."

The festival featured strong evidence of genre films, including horror, Western and adult films. And it was heavy on retrospectives and tributes, including one dedicated to famed director Robert Aldrich.