Goodbye Pula, Hello Sarajevo

Yesterday we arrived in Sarajevo after three very relaxing nights in Pula, Croatia, where my friend Tanja Milicic runs the fantastic PULA FILM FESTIVAL, which provided us with the unique experience of seeing the latest HARRY POTTER film under the stars in a Roman Arena with about 8,000 people. But it was a strictly pleasure, not business trip, and the serious work begins in Sarajevo, where my friends Francesco, Ruta an I are the CICAE Jury members for the SARAJEVO FILM FESTIVAL.

CICAE, faithful readers will recall, is the international network of arthouse cinemas to which the Dukes belongs and who organised the Venice training I attended in 2009. Our job is to give the award to a film that will then be promoted by the network, and help its chances of reaching more cinemas. We're the 'junior' jury if you like, and live below the main festival jury, which is headed by filmmkaer Ari Folman (WALTZ WITH BASHIR).

After an 11 hour train journey from Zagreb, we rolled in just in time for opening night film, Aki Kaurismaki's LE HAVRE. The film was essential Kaurismaki, with his unique way of staging performances and delivering deadpan laughs while saying a lot about the human condition, and immigration politics too. We were then whisked to the opening night party, where we brushed with Wim Wenders (in town for a 3D panel discussion) and the American ambassador (?).

More posts to follow as the days go - on top of the competition films, I am really looking forward to seeing Von Trier's MELANCHOLIA, Tarr's TURIN HORSE, Moretti's WE HAVE A POPE and other surprises I am sure we'll encounter.