Diario di Bordo – Day 8

Friday 08 july – Day 08

People who come, people who go; in these extremely hot summer days our festival is just a total snowballing of meetings and appointments.

Our location in Piazza Verdi, just a stones through from the see, combines the classic and grandiose aspects of the theatre from which it takes its name with the thousands of scintillating images brought to us by the big screen.

Specialists, workers, young collaborators and photographers are provide the colourful, lively confetti of a party that is also restarting.

We find ourselves once again with an old friend of our festival, director and screenwriter Stefano Viali, who presents his short Fatti osceni in luogo pubblico as an additional event.

In an almost sci-fi setting, in Trieste, we imagine a society in the not too distant future where non-EU nationals make up the majority of the population.

In this setting we focus on the private goings on of a woman whose apartment has been burgled. Stefano Viali constructs an atmosphere of constant tension which then flows into the poetic final message; a sort of affectionate warning in the face of a world that is constantly becoming more ethnically mixed.

The long trail of the Maremetraggio section then starts with Giulio Mastromauro’s Nuvola, in which two totally different constellations collide: an old man defeated by life and a tiny creature dropped off like a parcel.

In a story that prioritises silences over words, we discover how, even during the most withering parts of our lives, hope and a spark of existential purity can return.

We always think of marriage as a moment of spiritual and physical harmony, an orchid laden with petals ready to split in two. Unfortunately, in some countries of our strange world, weddings represent a tyrannical institution, an unacceptable violence, a true moral and physical slap in the face for free will. This is what Omid Khalid talks about in an anti-historical way in Dark to Dark.

We keep our shocked gaze on the world of female adolescence: a shell which opens up little by little, very often subjected to the standing freezer of the outside world.

Agata Wojcierowska’s Gownojady is not just the story of a scientist father and a daughter who isn’t able to accept his harshness; it is also a fantastical allegory filled with a lake-like smog. Like the crabs molesting the protagonist, the claws of life can represent an obstacle that is also very painful.

Here now we have the archetypical cartoon in Martinez Lara and Cano Méndez’s Alike, in which the curious and spindly characters muse over the meaning of life.

The paradigm of a rural environment required by Davide Minnella for Il potere dell’oro rosso is, however, completely Italian; a tasteful juxtaposition between the world of Puglia and the world below the equator. Naturally everything comes together in a pleasing comedy of manners.

Two totally different themes, sporting passion and the spectre of war, live side by side in Ursula Meier’s Tišina mujo, which precisely gathers the risks and counterbalances of the adolescent nest.

In Sous tes doigts, the feminine cinematic eye of French director Marie-Christine Courtès enables us to get to know the relationships of populations for from our own owing to struggle and memory. Very often this expressive search contains visual rhapsodies which talk about myth, fate and the eternal.

The following work, Richard Card’s Zawadi, again uses to precise narrative resources; a work for images which totally respect the land whence they come: Kenya.

A cinematographic work from four hands, Mangiasciutti and Loi’s Dove l’acqua con altra acqua si confonde, is a sort of elegy of swimming and of water as a protective element which is so descriptively convincing that we could concretely smell and taste the chlorine in the pool.

Adolescence once again returns to the fore, a thousand cinematographic mirrors that re-establish different backstories and life moments amongst themselves. Ziya Demirel’s Sali has moments of pure emotion and transports us to Turkey, to Istanbul, through the eyes of a beautiful and curious teenager.

As always when the evening becomes night, we don’t mind a few entertaining shorts which, besides, help us to digest what we have seen previously. Lawrence Rowell’s La colina only needs two minutes of narration to catapult us into its animated world, where the elderly of Barcelona life calmly and there’s no room for melancholy.

Much more demanding is the metropolitan metaphor of La Valse mécaniquem in which gangly and skeletal animated characters perambulate in anticipation of a perhaps imminent moral release.

We conclude with a totally feminine production: Thoranna Sigurdardottir’s Zelos. No-one other than a woman can tell the story of another woman, even if we are here in the surrounds of the sci-fi genre.

The tale of a female figure who purchases a clone of herself is truly worrying; a small domestic nightmare which at times reminds us of Ira Levin’s old fantasy novel, The Stepford Wives.

A conclusion, therefore, of an extremely high level, and it’s a great pleasure to catch up with the festival’s guests and spectators after the viewing, all of whom are fundamental building blocks for the event.

A glass of crème de menthe that’s greener than green is posed alone on a small table…it’s high summer, and ShorTS International Film Festival 2016 has run its course.

Riccardo Visintin

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