monicelli & terence davis, face to face    Apart from the glamour, the freeloading quasiguests with a neck like a jockey’s, and all the usual nonsense to keep the assembled media happy, the International Donostia Film Festival should give people the chance to view and investigate films and work they cannot find elsewhere. This year’s edition of the film festival sees it bring two completely different types of filmmaker face to face. I didn’t discover Monicceli as a director until his work appeared in the “Boom Italian style” offering in the 1999 Zinemaldi (the previous year it had also made space for postwar Italian cinema in the cycle titled “Bread, love and fantasy”). I saw one of those screenings and a film by Mario Monicceli really left a lasting impression on me. “Amici miei”, better-known here as “Los Cuatro”. It’s not his best film, nor is it his best-known one, but some of the scenes in the film are absolutely priceless. The film tells of the pranks that a few adult rascals get up to. This is the secret of the film’s success. Grownups who really should be more serious get together to act like spotty teenage hormonedemented jerks. Underneath the humour in the film, each individual case carries a more profound dramatic charge that I didn’t see in my childhood. I caught it the second time I saw it and it made me love it all the more. Well, you can certainly imagine what kind of impact the film had on me because I’ve hardly got around to mentioning his other films and work and I’ve already used up all the space I have for him... but is that not the most beautiful thing that can happen to a film director? For his work to leave a bigger impact than his name.
Filmmaker Terence Davis is virtually unknown here. This Liverpool-born director has also worked as a writer, a scriptwriter and as an actor. His vision works with the other senses. Rather than sentiments, he reaches for sensations. In his films, his characters hold on to the emotion. His stories reflect the influence of religions and their dogmas on society and how these have affected individual members of society. Homosexuality is another reference point in his work. His stories have the backbone of a symphony. It’s extremely difficult to see his films in cinemas here. A small few know his work. His films are those of an author and craftsman.
Terence Davis hasn’t got that many films to his name. He’s the type of director who have a special attitude and rhythm when it comes to working. Amongst the films he has made are “The Neon Bible” (1995) – an adoption of John Kennedy Toole’s “other” novel – , “The House of Mirth” (2000) and the documentary he premiered at this year’s Cannes Festival titled “Of time and The City”. In it, Liverpool, his native city, is centrepiece as he speaks with pain and irony over old bits of film of the city accompanied by contemporary music. The International Donostia Film Festival is probably the only place where you’ll get the chance to see these films.