‘Back to 1942’ is a no-holds-barred telling of one of modern China’s most grim times.
It is based in Henan province where the famine had forced millions to search for food. Even Fan the wealthy landowner had to join the escape to avoid starvation.
The film also features the real-life American journalist Theodore White who was shocked by what he saw there.
The actor who plays him, Adrien Brody, said:
“When you are able to create awareness of something as horrendous as mass starvation, and refugees that are not being attended to; Theodore White by his tenacity was able to put some pressure onto the Chinese government, by exposing this.”
It is directed by Feng Xiaogang, who received praise for the big scale of his depiction, but some criticism for over-labouring the message.
Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari
Russian director Alexey Fedorchenko showcased his work the ‘Celestial Wives of Meadow Mari’. It is centred on the Mari ethnic group living in the Ural mountains.
It is filmed in the traditional Mari language and was filmed in Mari villages 150 kilometers from Yekaterinburg.
All the characters appear to have names beginning with the letter O.
There is little plot to speak of, but the film follows 22 separate stories that interweave, many of them heavily focused on sex.
Fedorchenko said: “Eight years ago I read a book on the Mari by Denis Osokin and I liked it a lot. After I finished it I decided to make a film.”
The Rome Film Festival is in its seventh year. This year there are 59 premieres and films from 26 different countries.