Imagine reading a book (a good book, naturally) and arriving at page 16. We are, therefore, still at the beginning of the adventure, when the vase on the windowsill of life must produce better flowers. Sixteen is the number of this year’s ShorTS International Film Festival, and it’s breathing young air, very young air, as we will see. Classicism and modernity were already working together during the press conference in the luxurious rooms of Teatro Verdi. Then, it was still reasonably cool, but now on the first of July, the temperature is making our thermometers crack. And so we abandon ourselves to watching short films on the big screen.
After the customary presentation by Chiara Valenti Omero – who rightly underlined the difficulties experienced when putting together any event, together with all the energy required – and after the always agreeable presence of Zita Fusco, there was only really space for pictures.
A dramatic impact was made by the Italian short Child K from the De Feo, Palumbo duo: starting off with a verbal disagreement between two young people on the eve of the birth of their first child; shortly afterwards the story turned into a harsh critique of the horrors and abuse of human beings perpetrated by Nazis; such a captivating work that it left the audience in silence.
Equally drammatic was the English-Irish coproduction Here by C. Eastwood, which revolved around the insuppressable need to have closure on the past, although blood and guilt were seen in the public accusations; undoubtedly the author recalls the subtle atmosphere loved by the likes of Peter Wier.
Giovanni Macelli with Juan y la nube chose to tell a gripping story and in his own surreal way benefits from using cartoons as a figurative mirror; undoubtedly the young Juan has taken his place amongst little heroes. The first clouds contrasted with a sky that, on the other hand, seemed to uphold the proverb “red sky at night…”, however, not much time had passed before it began to rain. Chiara Valenti Omero was not afraid to tell the audience to stay put and in fact, the weather listened to her.
The evening advanced with the agitated Neko Od Nas by Anja Kavic, where verbal, and then physical, weapons gleamed threateningly: an excellent close pyschological examination of the characters.
Then we arrived at a director who knows very well the difficult art of joining cinematic entertainment with historical context, reproducing a summer in the 60s, what happened, what was hidden… credit goes to The Landing by Josh Tainer.
It would have been difficult not to have be struck with the enthusiasm of human fondness, when faced with two young brothers, aspiring businessmen, at the doors of an adult world, featuring both clients and police investigators. In the final moments, the smaller of the two brothers, showed that perhaps he had indeed learnt some commendable entreprenurial skills. And so went Tormus by Sari Bisharat.
Our Francesco Calabrese, however, played with the technicolour apartments and settings in Beverly Hills, for the grotesque ‘pochade’ The Shift; almost a throwback tribute to the feminine world and warning of when women transformed themselves from sex kittens to viragos.
Ex.Amen by Yury Sukhodolskiy, did not follow an expected path, thanks to an extraordinary male character that continually went back and forth between his own past and present; almost citing Fellini and his “Otto e mezzo”, where Marcello Mastroianni embraced a girlfriend sporting his mother’s face… a danse macabre with the Nordic weather, like Ibsen or Strindberg.
Luckily, film still moves us, as we shed sincere tears, we can only declare: Hurrah to the art of cinema! All of this to honour the beautiful Cuerdas by P.S. Garcia, where an adorable, animated girl, took care of boy much less fortunate than herself; a beautiful parable of friendship, and of support given without reserve.
The most ‘musical’ amongst you will remember the surreal videoclip of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Two Tribes, where two figures dressed as the presidents of the USA and USSR beat eachother up; nothing compared to what happens in Berlin Trokia by A. Gontcharov, where constrictions within the political world, descend into an explosive scene.
Particularly tasty was the colourful situation put forward by Hu Wei with La lampe au beurre de yak: an endless photography session with nomadic tibetan characters or assorted ages, always with different backgrounds, a guise to conduct a bitting analysis of the world of pictures.
The rich evening closed with Polish director M. Wojciechowski’s Under_Construction, reminding us through the tricks of film animation, of our daily relationship with time: almost a waltz of the synchronicity of human days.
It’s still hot, very hot, and maybe even the stars tonight have had a shower: that’s what happens when you go to the cinema with ShorTS. Until Friday evening.