Nicolo Donato in Conversation - Italian Premiere of Brotherhood (Fratellanza)

Whilst the fifth edition of the International Rome Film Festival may still be some four months away, Danish film director Nicolo Donato, who scooped the 2009 festival's Golden Marc'Aurelio Jury Award for Best Film for Brotherskab (Brotherhood) was back in the Eternal City yesterday evening for the premiere of the movie's Italian release  - Fratellanza. At a time when homophobic attacks are rife in Italy and the country lags woefully behind its European neighbours in terms of equal rights and the possibility of civil partnerships for its gay citizens, it was rewarding to see a film which deals so beautifully with the emotionally complex issues of a gay love story between members of a neo-Nazi group playing to a sold-out Sala Petrassi at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, with most of the audience staying behind after the film for the encounter with the director.

This was, of course, something of a hero's return for Donato who won Rome's top prize with his debut full length film, but the director, who was joined on stage by Alessandra De Luca, came across as extremely modest and still genuinely delighted by the positive reception the film has received after the initial difficulties in finding the funds to even make the film in the first place. During the discussion Donato explained how the idea for the film came to him after he had seen a German documentary Men, Heroes and Gay Nazis by Rosa von Praunheim, but was keen to stress that the film was, in essence, a love story. He said he did not believe that people are born evil and instead said that he had wanted to try and seek out the person, the humanity, in the midst of evil. In reply to a question from the audience about the sense of fear many of the characters feel in Brotherhood and whether he was afraid of his next film, he laughed, and said yes, and then revealed that it will be called August, and will explore the themes of depression and loss.

Fratellanza (Brotherhood) opens in Italy on 2 July, 2010 and is distributed by Lucky Red.

A must see – highly recommended!

Watch an original language trailer for Brotherhood with English subtitles below or click here to watch on YouTube