SHORT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL recognises its most intense moments, as often happens when a stream becomes a sea and then an ocean. The inclement weather we’ve experienced this summer will go down in records for its peculiarity, and to avoid it we would suggest spending the evening in the quiet and comfortable screening room of the Teatro Miela.
The opening speech that follows is one to add to the history books of the film festival. Presented by Chiara Valenti Omero and Maurizio di Rienzo, we welcomed to the stage the likeable and creative talent that is Matteo Rovere. An already established director and a friend of Trieste, he collects the award for ‘Cinema of the Present 2018’. Then a twenty minute interview on all things cinematic and the perceptions of an artist who is still very young but who has his finger on the pulse of the industry’s current artistic dynamics. 15-year-old Sharon Caroccia is simply a disarming talent and a film star in the making; her collaboration with director Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino in IL CRATERE is exquisite. There in person in the room, the co-director Silvia Luzi doesn’t hide her sincere emotional response. A general greeting and then the lights dim to their bewitching darkness for the next three short films – the original screenings of these works scheduled on Thursday evening were disrupted due to the unsettled weather outside. Figuratively very strong and clearly inspired by Stanly Kubrick’s prologue to 2001: A Space Odyssey, the German short film SOG from Jonatan Schwenk has multiple points of interest. Some characters (that could be moles) live in a cave and are witness to a particularly deadly fish epidemic; animation with a subtly disturbing ecological subtext. It is Greek mythology, which at one time inspired columns bearing Eros and Thanatos, that draws Estonian filmmaker Laura Raud in her modern day adaptation of PYRAMUS & THISBE. A boy and a girl are the protagonists of a very sweet love story, however their surroundings cultivate a terrain of incandescent danger under their feet. The talented Italian director Alessandro Rizzo combines fairy-tale elements with those of dream-like horror, as well as hard-line narrative direction. TWINKY DOO’S MAGIC WORLD tells of distant childhood events that the present cannot seem to leave behind. As refined as a chilled glass of champagne, next we have the beautiful black and white vision of IDENTITY PARADE from Spanish director Gerard Freixes Ribera. An homage to the good old days of Hollywood in black and white, thanks to skilled editing work we are able to witness a masked ball with a variety of fascinating artistic features and faces. BISMALLAH directed by Alessandro Grande tells of the sudden strong stomach pains of a Tunisian teenager, his sister’s alarmed shows of affection and the subsequent emotional and existential development she goes through as a result of seemingly insignificant events. When you’re ugly, you’re ugly! The poor cat protagonist of UGLY from filmmaker Nikita Diakur knows something about it; a clearly unattractive kitty who has to coexist in a harshly inhospitable environment. Salvation presents itself in the form of a symbolic spiritual figure. Egypt, a land of tension and assorted munitions, is the setting for AGAINST MY WALL by Ahmed Fouad, also significant thanks to an anti-rhetorical approach. Italian talent on screen once again with A CHRISTMAS CAROL from Luca Vecchi, in which an extraordinary and rugged performance from Giorgio Colangeli reinvents the sociological gangster genre; a Christmas story where the baubles are unmistakably blood red…RETOUR by Pang-Chuan Huang uses the metaphor of a journey to tell a story that continuously intersperses past reminisces with current ones; this east Asian work contains remarkable narrative research that perfectly captures the transient nature of human existence. There have never been so many horror entries as seen in this edition of the festival, and there is nothing that pleases us more. Have you ever laughed until you ached in front of a real bloodbath? It’s possible in the hands of filmmakers Pintó and Casas, and all thanks to the Junoesque and murderous wife protagonist in RIP. A despicable and caustic short film, simply brilliant in desecrating traditional funeral rites. THURSDAY NIGHT arrives from Portugal directed by Goncalo Almeida. A moving parable about the animal world seen through the experiences of two dogs that manage to wordlessly tell a story as soft as a feather bed and yet so vivid in its existential horizons. A fundamental cog in the machine of cinema is the soundtrack; there are true masters of this art whose background pulses and rhythm provide the spectator with visionary and auditory fluidity. AWASARN SOUND MAN from Sorayos Prapapan hails from Thailand and also contains many different sincere moments. We conclude well after midnight with 9 PASOS, a collaboration from Crespo Abril and Pérez. Dario Argento has often spoken of the inherent terror of corridors, particularly in the home; the paranoia that something awaits us ‘on the other side’ can often play with our minds. The father and the child protagonists of the film in question play the part of the horrified witness, with the viewer also along for the ride. Outside of the Teatro Miela the air is fresh but not cold and we are satiated after so many screenings. Soon it is time to make our farewells.
We meet again Saturday evening for the usual ritual of awards and cinematic adventures!