My favourite film this year, the story of the Italian journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani. Born in Florence in 1938 he went on to study at Pisa University and eventually focused his journalistic skills on Eastern Asia. Terzani is one of the few journalist to cover both the fall of Saigon to the Vietcong’s and Phnom Pehn to the Khmer Rouge in the mid 70s. Terzani coverage of the Khmer Rouge, neglecting to report on the atrocities for ideological reasons, when he was a correspondent in Cambodia coursed much controversy in Italy and although he many years later apologised, he was never forgiven.
Terzani published many books about his life in Asia, working as a journalist and is published in many languages all over the world. The months prior to his death in Orsigna, Tuscany from stomach cancer in 2004 was spent with his son Folco, who recorded all their conversations, later to produce a book from the transcript in 2006. I so wish I had spent some time with my own father before his death, so many unanswered questions, information lost in history never to be recovered.
Jo Baiers decision not to have flashbacks during the film showing only father and son interacting, often walking in the Tuscan countryside was bold indeed; two men talking for 98 minutes could easily have equalled disaster.
Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best know for his part in Pane e tulipani, Bread and Tulips directed by Silvio Soldini – La banda Baader Meinhoff, The Baader Meinhof Complex directed by Uli Edel and The Reader directed by Stephen Daldry was brilliant and should win awards, Graz’s best performance to date, they also look uncannily similar. Elio Germano playing the part of Folco, just keeps getting better with every film. We are treated to Tuscany at its best with excellent cinematography, if you can decide where you want to die, surely this is the place.
Cast : Bruno Ganz, Elio Germano, Erika Pluhar, Andrea Osvalt, Nicolo Fitz-William Lay
Synobsis : We follow the last months of Tiziano Terzani’s life in conversation with his son who has returned from the US to be with his father. They take walks in the panoramicly beautiful Tuscany and Tiziano Terzani speaks of his life experiences in Asia, the first meeting with his wife together with his imminent death from stomach cancer. His wife always supporting in the background is played by Erika Pluhar, the last supper; a final family dinner, attended by his daughter and her family is touching never macabre. Terzani’s death is expected and planned, his final resting place would be mine, a stunning final shot.
Tiziano Terzan his last apperance :