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Berlinale Film In Focus : Suddenly, Last Winter

One of the more provocative films in this year's Panorama section of the Berlinale is certainly the Italian film SUDDENLY, LAST WINTER, which has its World Premiere today. The film, a collaboration between co-directors Gustav Hofer and Luca Ragazzi, is set in the winter of last year, when the Italian government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi was defeated in the upper chamber on a vote officially concerned with the renewal of the budget for the Italian mission in Afghanistan. However, it became clear that the real reason for this debacle was a missing vote of honorary Senator Giulio Andreotti, known for being the most influential and closest ally to the Vatican in Parliament. He would then confess on the following day that he could not sustain a government that attempted to pass a law for gay and lesbian couples.

On the more personal side, SUDDENLY, LAST WINTER is the story of the film's co-directors, Gustav and Luca. Their life changes when the Italian government presents a draft law that would give rights to unmarried and gay couples, prompting a wave of homophobia in Italy. The Vatican and conservatives fight against it, preaching that the end of morality and the family are at stake if the legalisation on civil unions is not blocked. Together for over eight years, Luca and Gustav want to understand the different positions and undertake a journey into a country they did not know before and did not expect to find: their own.
The Panorama section of the Festival has always been the hospitable home for films dealing with gay and lesbian topics. It also sponsors the Teddy Awards, given to the best films and performances of gay and lesbian films in all sections of the Festival. The Teddy Awards party, to be held this coming weekend, is one of the highlights of the Berlinale night scene. This thought provoking film that pits religious orthodoxy against the rights of gay couples is sure to be a contender.
Sandy Mandelberger, Berlin FF Dailies Editor

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