The latest edition of the Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival took place this past week in Monaco. The festival that has been annually welcomed to Monaco since 2001 is the first and only worldwide manifestation dedicated entirely to the wondrous world of comedy. Creators Ezio Greggio, famous Italian comedian best known for his role as presenter on the satirical news show Striscia La Notizia, and Mario Monicelli, one of the most famous and admired Italian directors of our time, came together to honour their passion for comedy.
The festival was born in November 2001 during a period following the 9/11 attacks that proved to be very difficult for comedic films, and was created as a way to lift the publics’ spirit. As Greggio President of the Monte-Carlo Film Festival put it, “comedy remains the most loved cinematographic genre for an audience, who like never before deserves a message of hope and a smile on their face”.
The event introduces a variety of comedic films whose themes will open up a discussion, taboo topics such as immigration and sexuality, offering a smart critique of societal issues while portraying them in a light, satirical way. Those present at the press conference noted that far too often, comedy films are cast aside and not given the recognition they deserve. Certainly compared to other films of different genres, comedy films are not taken as seriously and preference is given to more dramatic portrayals of world issues. Comedy films are usually loved by the public but rarely by the critics.
The Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival gives comedy movies and producers the chance to shine, and the long-lasting effect that the festival has on the featured works is notable. Most of the winners end up having international success following the festival and the movies reach new levels of popularity soon after, proving that it is a veritable launch pad for many of the creations. For example last years Belgian comedy Je Me Tue à le Dire participated in more than 30 film festivals after its screening at the MCFF, while the Danish film Men and Chicken also encountered great commercial success.
The festival is a flurry of daily movie premieres, movies made by some of the best comedic producers featuring greatly celebrated actors, meetings with some of the biggest names in the comedy movie business, press conferences and talent workshops. The week long celebrations come to an end with the Grand Gala at the Grimaldi Forum, where the big winner of the featured films is announced and the entirety of the films on show are applauded in an elegant and jovial atmosphere.
The winners of the 14th edition were revealed at the glamorous Awards Gala last night where world-famous actors and movie producers were present to accept the prestigious awards. The Argentine-Spanish film The Distinguished Citizen, dramatic comedy that follows the adventures of a Nobel prize-winning writer who returns to his small Argentine home town after 40 years,was the proud winner of the Best Film Award. The directors of the unusual American film Swiss Army Man, Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, in which Daniel Radcliffe portrays a reanimated corpse, received the Best Director Award.
Had you attended last night’s Awards Gala at the Grimaldi Forum you would’ve seen some familiar, world-renown faces. Amongst the celebrities was Riccardo Scamarcio, actor that starred in many Italian hit movies. Monica Bellucci, Italian actress and fashion model, also made an appearance saying she was happy to be back “to receive the Career Award that acknowledges her cinematic journey”, stating that in her opinion “comedy is a well-established element of Italian tradition, with its capacity to tackle tragedies with irony”. Famous French actress Catherine Deneuve was also among the winners: she received the Best Actress award for her performance in the featured film The Midwife. Some of the top movie producers and directors were in attendance as well, including celebrity movie producer John Landis, who created classic movies like The Blues Brothers and an American Werewolf in London, Michael Radford who wrote and directed The Merchant of Venice and The Postman, as well as Costa Gavras, the Greek-French film director and producer known for his films that carry overt political themes.
Congratulations to the winners and long live comedy!