Home > News > 10/29(WED) “Ice Forest” from Competition Press Conference
News Index back
[Event Reports]
10/29(WED) “Ice Forest” from Competition Press Conference

[Report on Ice Forest press conference, Oct. 29]

©2014 TIFF

Audiences can almost feel the frostbite in Claudio Noce’s Ice Forest. Set high in the Dolomite Alps of eastern Italy on the border with Slovenia, where snow swirls and winds howl, where men with wooly beards and haunted stares move heavy equipment through the day and every night ends in a bar brawl, the sheer predominance of the looming mountains creates a vertiginous atmosphere. It is the perfect backdrop for this dizzyingly complex drama, part social-issues commentary, part revenge thriller, part police procedural.
The second feature film from the Italian director of Good Morning Aman, which won the FICE award for best upcoming filmmaker at the Venice Film Festival in 2009, Ice Forest is surprisingly easy to logline—A young technician is sent to repair a power plant in an Alpine village plagued by blackouts, where he discovers that all is not what it seems—but it is far more difficult to classify.
The screenplay, by Noce with Francesca Manieri and Elisa Amoruso, is purposely sketchy about the characters’ pasts, their relationships and their motivations. Several subplots that seem crucial for a time move out of focus; others take their place until they, too, run their course. Finally, the key pieces are in place, but the puzzle is not quite complete.
The mysteries of the bordertown village are as deep as its snow, and it will take the film’s entire running time to solve them. When the technician, Pietro (Domenico Diele), haunted by his past as a Bosnian refugee, arrives to begin his repairs at the dam high above the village, undercover cop Lana (Ksenia Rappoport) is already investigating the recent death of a young Libyan girl, under the guise of tracking bears (an apt metaphor). She is watched warily by brothers Lorenzo (Adriano Giannini) and Secondo (the great actor-director Emir Kusturica), who clearly harbor secrets—but what are they, exactly?
Why are there so many blackouts? Why does the cable car always halt midway to the top of the dam? Why do men in pickup trucks talk cryptically of “handoffs” and “deliveries?” When Lorenzo disappears on the very night he has promised to take Lana to the dam, her colleague tells her to step down, it’s too dangerous. “Something’s going on,” she tries to convince him, “But it all happens up there,” where no one can see it.
Writer-director Claudio Noce and actor Adriano Giannini appeared at a press conference for the TIFF Competition title, and were immediately asked about the film’s extraordinary setting. Said Noce: “The film was shot in Trentino, northern Italy, where the local film commission invested in it. But the story actually takes place further to the east, near Italy’s border with Slovenia.” The location explains much about Ice Forest’s illegal trafficking subplot: in 1994, when Pietro enters Italy, the immigrants were Bosnians fleeing the war; in 2014, it is Africans fleeing civil wars.
“This idea came from an emotion I had,” explained the director. “As a creator, I felt like I needed to open a new door. It took a long time to prep the film, partially in order to open that door for me. It took two years to write the script, and we shot it in five weeks. The budget was limited, but we had to shoot during the coldest season, so we had a limited time.”
Giannini heard about the project from Noce before the script was complete, and thought it sounded very interesting. “It’s a thriller set in the mountains. I found my character very attractive, a melancholic cowboy who dreams of living in Brazil. Even though I don’t look like a [mountain man], the intensely cold location helped me become the character, as well as the grappa.”
The filmmakers hired many extras from Trentino, whose dark, weathered visages and calloused hands mark them as mountain folk, to contribute an additional level of authenticity to the stunningly photographed film.
Noce was understandably nervous about working with Serbian legend Emir Kusturica (Oscar winner for When Father Was Away On Business, Palme d’Or winner for Underground), but “he treated me with respect and I was grateful for that. On the first day of the shoot, he kept insisting on looking at the monitor after each take, but as the afternoon wore on, he told the producer that he felt completely comfortable in my hands, and stopped watching his performance on the screen.”
Although the lead actors are all intense and laudable, it is Kusturica’s Secondo who stands out, forever striding silently, powerfully, through the snow, wrapped in a hooded bearskin coat. “Over the past 20 years,” says Noce, “Secondo has isolated himself on the mountain, almost like a bear in his own den, controlling his territory, trusting no one but his brother Lorenzo, after fleeing the Bosnian conflict. He became an animal when he killed Pietro’s brother.”
The success of Ice Forest will encourage Claudio Noce to keep opening doors, and audiences will eagerly follow him. But there is good news, too, for Kusturica fans: “One day,” Noce recounted, “Kusturica looked me in the eye and said, ‘I understand what you’re going through, and that’s why I haven’t made a movie in eight years. But someday, I’ll make another.’”

KINOSHITA GROUP Coca-Cola(Japan)Company, Limited Canon Inc. WOWOW INC. FIELDS CORPORATION Audi Japan kk Daiwa Securities Group Sony Corporation TASAKI & Co.,Ltd. Sony PCL Inc. Gurunavi, Inc. Culture Convenience Club Co.,Ltd. Shochiku Co.,Ltd TOHO Co.,Ltd. TOEI COMPANY, LTD. KADOKAWA CORPORATION NIKKATSU CORPORATION MORI BUILDING CO., LTD. TOHO CINEMAS LTD. CINEMA & STAGE CULTURE ASSOCIATION The Yomiuri Shimbun J-WAVE DWANGO Co.,Ltd. SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TV Asahi LINE Corporation BS Nihon Eiga Senmon channel SEIKO HOLDINGS CORPORATION airweave inc. MHD Moët Hennessy Diageo K.K. CineGrid Getty Images, Inc. CLARA ONLINE, Inc.
KEIRIN.JPThe 27th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
26th Tokyo International Film Festival(2013)