“UNDERGROUND” by EMIR KUSTURICA to open the festival
OFFICIAL IMAGES of the festival by Hungarian photographer MARIETTA VARGA

21st-30th of January 2021
Online at MYmovies

The opening film of the 32nd Trieste Film Festival, taking place online at MYmovies between the 21st and the 30th of January 2021, will be UNDERGROUND by Emir Kusturica. Following previous editions dedicated to the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the film – which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 1995 – is another step towards the festival’s constant strive to keep the memory of the most important moments of Central Eastern European history alive through cinema.

“This spotlight on the thirtieth anniversary of the Balkan war (1991/2021) is a project which has been years in the making”, explain artistic directors Fabrizio Grosoli and Nicoletta Romeo. ‘The pandemic has forced us to postpone it, as many of the films we wish to screen only exist in 35mm, which is impossible to ‘project’ in an online format. We have therefore postponed the event (hopefully to be rescheduled for Spring 2021), because it seemed only fitting that such an important anniversary should be given a moment equally significant for its opening. The selection could only fall, therefore, on an iconic film: Underground: the surreal, anarchic fable which ‘reinvents’ the dissolution of Yugoslavia in Kusturica’s groundbreaking style.”

“As part of this occasion” continue Grosoli and Romeo, “we are pleased to present the Eastern Star Award 2021 to the unforgettable protagonist of the film, Miki Manojlović. The award was created to highlight a personality in the world of cinema whose career has built bridges between East and West. In the honour roll we have Irène Jacob, Monica Bellucci, Milcho Manchevski, Rade Šerbedžija and Kasia Smutniak. This year, the award goes to a great interpreter who won thanks to his collaboration with Kusturica (as well as Underground we commemorate When Father Was Away on Business and Black Cat, White Cat) which supersedes the borders of Yugoslavia, working with directors such as François Ozon (Criminal Lovers), Giuliano Montaldo (The Demons of Saint Petersburg) and Sam Garbarski (Irina Palm, which earned him a nomination for the European Film Award).”

Alongside this look to the past, the 32nd edition of the festival’s long-standing competitions (consisting of feature-length films, short films and documentaries, as well as the Art&Sound section and Corso Salani Award), together with special events, have come together to create a programme of over 50 titles, all of which will be available on MYmovies.


The two official images for the 2021 edition of the festival were shot by Hungarian photographer Marietta Varga. Max Mestroni from the creative agency Claimax explained: “What we want is to tell a story: during a time of forced isolation, the only possible contact we can have is that of celebrating our shared culture, as a way of bringing us closer together. In this way, with the festival, we intend to bring to life a sort of ‘cultural exhibition’, making #CulturalExposure this year’s focus. To express this concept, we chose the young Hungarian photographer Marietta Varga. The world depicted in her photography is linear, clean and unique, thanks to her careful use of colour and space. The geometry of the buildings elegantly fuses together figure and background, while also creating a somewhat surreal setting where humanity remains still at its core.”


Born on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Trieste Film Festival is the leading Italian festival on Central Eastern European cinema. For thirty years, it has offered the Italian, or more generally, Western public, a special insight into a world of cinematography and creators otherwise rarely (or never) explored.