Pardo per la miglior interpretazione femminile: Irena Ivanova – GODLESS
At the heart of the magnificently dour Godless lies an oddly yet deeply affecting performance by Irena Ivanova, whose darkly humane turn as Gana dominates Ralitza Petrova’s chilling depiction of a Bulgaria where the elderly are mercilessly exploited for profit. Gana works as a caregiver, watching over senior citizens who can no longer take care of themselves, and makes a living on the side by stealing and selling their ID cards, which are then used to carry out various scams. Ivanova’s face, marked by a strange mixture of empathy, deceit and regret, is the prism through which the viewer is invited on a journey to a very vivid Hell on Earth, where any kind of higher power, as suggested by the film’s bluntly effective title, is long gone. While potentially irredeemable on paper, Gana remains a fascinating and riveting presence throughout, and Ivanova’s carefully nuanced work doesn’t go by unnoticed, as confirmed both by the audience’s reaction at the film’s premiere screening and the jury’s decision to bestow upon her the award for Best Actress. It’s a fitting achievement for one of the true breakthrough performances of the Concorso internazionale, and the 69th edition of the Festival del film Locarno in general. There may be no God on the mountains shown in the film, but the Swiss landscape has undoubtedly enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with a strikingly talented actress, whose presence made the last few days of the Festival even more memorable than anticipated.