60 years on, Valley of Peace protagonists reunited in Cannes
Cannes, 19 May - Two child protagonists of a Slovenian film classic met in Cannes last night for their first reunion after shooting sixty years ago to watch a restored version of Dolina miru (Valley of Peace).
Cast as two orphans on a quest for a valley of peace after losing their parents in a WWII air raid, Tugo Štiglic and Eveline Wohlfeiler met again for the film's screening in the Cannes Classics section.
Directed by Tugo's father France Štiglic, Valley of Peace was in the running for the Palme d'Or award in Cannes in 1957 as the first ever Slovenian film to be included in the section.
US actor John Kitzmiller, who appeared in the lead as Sergeant Jim whose fighter plane is shot down by the Germans, took the accolade for best actor as the first black person to win the award at Cannes.
The kids cast as a nine-year-old Marko and a four-year-old Lotti were not brought along to Cannes at the time, so this was the first time for them to actually appear at the festival.
Tugo, who later followed in the footsteps of his father to become a director, was thrilled about the reunion and the audience's reaction to the film at the Bunuel theatre last night.
Talking to the STA over the phone, Štiglic, 69, said the black-and-white film was restored to perfection to revive a story that was still very topical today. "The film's central idea is to promote peace and I think Valley of Peace achieved the purpose it set out to achieve."
Wohlfeiler, who works as a film editor in Germany, was surprised to receive the invitation. "I wasn't going to come, but then I changed my mind because of my late mum, who brought me to film. She would be cross with me if I didn't come," Wohlfeiler was quoted by the Slovenian Film Centre.
The restored version of the film will be shown in Slovenia for the first time on 23 August at the launch of the open air cinema series in Ljubljana Congress Square.