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Pula under the stars

Summer in the Istrian city of Pula is in full swing. The cafes are brimming with people. The beaches are crowded with children delighted to dip into the brisk seas while their grandparents enjoy card games under the sun that seems to be working overtime this year.

Seaside clamour fills the air even away from the shore, spilling onto the cobblestone streets that fill up with eager souvenir shoppers even during the traditional siesta hours of high heat.

Pula is buzzing and a big part of the buzz is the 58th incarnation of the Pula Film Festival that has taken on the solemn responsibility to entertain these masses.  As every year, Croatia’s oldest film festival had lined up a nice selection for audiences of all ages and lovers of many genres.  There are children’s movies, dramas, erotic films and horrors on the diverse menu of its cinematic offerings.

But the Festival is a destination not only for cinephiles looking to experience the region’s novelties under the open skies, but anyone who is interested in a non-traditional beach holiday.

The city of Pula – a beautiful town on Istria’s coast where Roman ruins meet Austro-Hungarian legacies on display in lamentably little-maintained but nevertheless majestic architecture – takes on all the glamour of the pink carpet it rolls out during the Festival days. One can spot world-renowned actors like Rade Serbedzija (currently working with Angelina Jolie on a film about Bosnia), director Veljko Bulajic (known to American film connoisseurs as the director of Oscar-nominated “Battle of Neretva” or American greats like James Ivory, this year’s honoree.

The main programme takes place in the spectacular Roman amphitheatre (Arena), but films are also shown under the stars in the castle perched on top of the hill overlooking the town and in the main cinema, Kino Valli. Each screening is followed by various events around town.

If considering a vacation in Pula – and one really should – it would be worthwhile to line up the plans with next year’s festival. Pula is a unique Adriatic experience because it combines the small, coastal-town charm with the vibrancy of a larger city.  It is also the perfect headquarters for exploring the Istrian peninsula where storybook villages and pristine beaches abound.

Source:  www.croatiantimes.com