Diary – 11 July 2020

Stan Lee, unforgotten deity of Marvel Comics, whose not inconsiderable merit was to bring us characters such as Spiderman and The Fantastic Four, said that the real reader of comics is a distillation of child and adult.

We mention comics as they are important in people’s lives, and the International ShorTS Festival also takes this into account with its events aimed at the younger generation.

Belonging to the world of healthier fantasy, that which makes us stay with our eyes open, is also Simone Massi, old school yet young cartoonist who we’ve got to know better thanks to an unmissable streamed event.

As the city is drenched by repeated rainfall, here we have the Maremetraggio section, to be explored voraciously.

Who knows whether the pair of filmmakers Chin and Zacharevic have met the Italian band Nuova Dissonanza; the soundtrack to their film REWILD appears as an open tribute to that dodecaphonic ensemble who also worked with Ennio Morricone. A film with a social idiom, a strong warning against deforestation, it takes us to Sumatra and its green paradise wounded by humans.

A social environment with degradation at its margins, prostitution and characters from court records, everything seems to converge into an unattractive side of life in LA BELLEZZA IMPERFETTA by Davide Vigore.

Yet the protagonist, no longer young and with his incredibly interesting face, regains his innocence thanks to a meeting that is to change his life, with a splendid girl at the centre of the intrigue.

PORTRAITIST by Cyrus Neshvad is from Luxembourg and is above all a sad pictorial fairy tale where the flowers and trees drawn become a bridge between a man and his family.

A truly bizarre story is told by LAY THEM STRAIGHT by Robert Deleskie.

A teenage girl has a decidedly ritualistic relationship with numbers which makes it difficult to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Effective dramatic tension carries the film towards an enigmatic finale.

SATURDAY’S APARTMENTS by Jeon Seungbae is structured as an ode to working together, in a strange apartment block inhabited by irritated animation puppets. Everything seems to go wrong but fairy tales, as we know, must inevitably end well…

THE STRANGE HOUSE IN THE MIST by Guilherme Daniel brings us to a strange house on the cliffs with a sinister atmosphere. The meeting between a penitent and his mysterious host are to provide the subject matter for psychological analysis.

This evening, summer is taking a break and we can expect a cool night after so much humidity.

Your collective attention is drawn to the exciting awards ceremony.

Diary – 10 July 2020

Some birthdays just have to be celebrated. Ringo Starr, the very likable Beatles drummer with prominent nose, a massive sort of international and popular icon, is 80 years old.

All best wishes to dear Richard Starkey, his real name, and thank you for the thousand thrills you’ve brought us, starting with the unforgettable, out-of-tune vocal rendition that goes by the name of Yellow Submarine.

Once again the Maremetraggio section awaits us, with its visual trains and its delightfully deconstructed tracks.

It opens with WE SOUND by David Carrizales. With a black and white animation film medium it explains to us that we are all noisy human particles, from early childhood to the end of our days.

“Solitude is a strange companion”, sang Antonello Venditti in a praiseworthy yet forgotten song from 1979, Stai con me. Something that’s all too familiar to the elderly protagonist of TERESA by Gabriele Ciances, in which a widower tries to get his wife back in an unusual move, with a touching dance scene. Loss as told from an original viewpoint.

THE LITTLE SOUL by Barbara Rupik, an animated short, tells of a soul’s journey. It relates emotionally to the visual teaching of Hieronymus Bosch and leaves the viewer with an unsettled feeling.

Played out in the confined visual space of a video call, THE TEST by Philipp Christopher has a decidedly cleverly devised surprise in store for the audience…

The agony of sport is shown to us by Qiu Yang in her SHE RUNS. The existential turmoil of a young girl struggling with pain and fatigue. Almost an unconventional backstage view, the hidden veil behind the applause and sequins.

We continue with RAIN RAIN RUN AWAY by Clémentine Carrié, reminiscent in parts of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in which a society totally governed by children was swallowed up by its own rituals. This short, focusing on childhood, tells of a voluntary exile from the adult world in search of a new Eden to be built.

This evening’s screenings end with the film by Pham Thien An STAY AWAKE, BE READY which offers us a cross section of life in Saigon among various levels of humanity. An accident provides food for thought and the title of the film. With numerous references to the frenetic pace of modern life.

Even a deserted street can offer unusual angles, and an unforgettable Donna Summer sings on the radio the emotional Down Deep Inside, the theme from the soundtrack of the film The Deep from 1977 or thereabouts.

A wonderful song, as we celebrate with our eyes closed the summer and the sea, everything that restores vital and vibrant sensations.

The date is for Saturday evening.

Diary – 9 July 2020

Martian Chronicles is a great novel by Ray Bradbury which puts forward the possibility of aliens and humans living together in peace, in a sugar-sweet context where hugs and mutual understanding are deep-rooted values.

This year we’re all a bit extra-terrestrial, like the human occupants of an electronic wood which we’re learning to cultivate.

An afternoon masterclass dedicated to a very ambitious young man with already several successes under his belt – Saverio Costanzo, always a pleasure to listen to.

The Maremetraggio section is always full of surprises and reveals various parallel universes to us once we’re connected.

Starting with WHY SLUGS HAVE NO LEGS directed by Aline Hochli, an enjoyable animation short centred on the adventures of a group of slugs. On the one hand the professional trials of those not known for their fast pace, and on the other a tale intended for a young audience, a double and highly convincing narrative outcome.

The next work, by Rosario Capozzolo, is Italian – IL PRIMO GIORNO DI SCUOLA DI MATILDE. A father who appears to be suffering from mysterious remorse and anxiety assails his daughter with disproportionate advice in front of the school gates. The finale is dramatic and emotional.

Instead from Singapore we have a rough outline of childhood in ADAM directed by Shoki Lin. Once again a story of alienation, abandon and in this case with a tin of powdered milk guiding the narrative.

MONOLOGUE by the duo Landi, Mellony takes a stand on the issue of hearing impairment and illustrates to us how hearing imbalances can upset the lives of any individual.

Director Luca Zuberbühler presents us his EXIST, structured as a sophisticated theatrical metaphor of life and death. The death of a young workman may be a misadventure involving ghosts and among the ruins of a crumbling stage a story filled with pathos unfurls.

A COLLOQUIO CON ROSSELLA by a dear old friend of our festival, Andrea Andolina, features the voice of Ariella Reggio and well-known actors such as Sara Cechet Woodcock and Raffaele Sincovich.

A woman’s life told from an unusual perspective – her answering machine messages.

The latest news churned out by news reports is always marked by a now chronic pessimism, so that when images appear on the screen of some wonderful films scored by Ennio Morricone such as Mission or Once Upon A Time in the West we realise even to a greater extent how brighter emotional moments and positive thinking can only come from an enlightened artistic partnership.

A wonderful song by Bruce Spingsteen goes by the name of Girls in Their Summer Clothes. This too in our opinion is a major indication of renewal, given all the beauties from Trieste and elsewhere who bring colour to the streets and squares.

The date is for Friday evening.

Diary – 8 July 2020

Pretend you’re at the helm of an interstellar spaceship travelling along hitherto unknown sidereal paths.

Snapshots are seemingly the legacy of a life lived elsewhere with always that same sensation of having already been there, of having a sort of inner awareness that tells us “it’s already happened somewhere”.

Shorts International Film Festival is a ship too, sailing across oceans populated with emotive patterns and visions.

During these event-filled days there has been a series of moments of pure emotion, plausible also thanks to the technological medium.

Beatrice Fiorentino has, for example, curated with the customary care the section Nuove Impronte. The reports bring us encouraging details of the feedback from the films she selected.

We should mention IL GRANDE PASSO by Antonio Padovan, with an outstanding Giuseppe Battiston; but will give a report on all the feature films included in the days to come.

As always, wide open creative spaces for the younger generation, sweet and visionary young things who meet the world with great expectations. The event at the Teatro Miela involved videos by students from the Deledda-Fabiani college. An event held a few days ago, it should be remembered, entitled SCIENCE FOR SUBURBS.

Wednesday evening was specifically dedicated to works in the Maremetraggio section, an international vision always full of surprises.

Carolina Crescentini is a very beautiful and talented Italian actress who in time has gained in confidence. We see her starring in FULMINI E SAETTE, by Daniele Lince. The film is an enjoyable parody of Marvel Comics based on superheroes, in which Carolina plays the part of a heroine in tights who has much more success in public than in private.

In a brief video presentation of his work the Czech director Jan Vejnar appears as a nice young man with hipster beard, yet the subject matter of his short FIGURANT is hard-hitting and abrasive. Role changes and emotional upsets reminiscent of certain Fassbender-style stormy atmospheres.

We’ve already remarked how a female narrative vision records very different emotional harmonies and dissonances from the male dimension. VERONICA NON SA FUMARE by Chiara Marotta opts for adolescence as a descriptive foundation rich in nuances.

What passes through the mind of artists during their efforts? Strong emotions ingrained in such a sensitive spirit can also smash the glass vase of creativity, as in EGGSHELL by Case Jernigan.

European cinema, by that we mean far from Hollywood excesses and immune to the enticements of unbridled luxury and wealth, has always stored up film excellences. I’m thinking of a director like István Szabó, who in films such as Mephisto or 25 Fireman’s Street narrated the fringes of life, in pain and with sadly simple dreams. ANNA by Dekel Berenson, with its lead character, is a rightful part of this category. See it to believe it.

The evening finale is provided by Spanish cinema, presented by Lluís Margarit with his CALVARY whose title pokes fun effectively at hair loss and broken relationships.

Looking out of the window has become an unconscious mind mechanism. Children’s smiles, cats curled up in the sun and the sound of unknown footsteps in semi-deserted streets are still basically our links in the chain of life.

When all this is over and the deafening silence everyone is talking about is just a memory, we will try to understand whether this cleansing of the soul has made us better or just the same as before.

The date is for Thursday evening.

Diary – 7 July 2020

There was a time when Italian discos and nightclubs had exotic, alluring names – CAPRICCIO ROSA, NUOVO AMNESIA, BANDIERA GIALLA, just to mention the most celebrated.

These were places lit up by splendid strobe lights, where people in brightly coloured clothes enjoyed the pleasure of being together. It’s like talking about a prehistoric age now that we’re confined to the four walls of home and the few opportunities for meeting up are referred to as “gatherings”.

CASTLES by Stefano Bertelli is a compelling animation short on the actual meaning our lives. Hand in hand, a couple in shadow form pass through houses in trees. With glimpses of the sky, delicate installations of a lyrical, idealised world where we’d all like to live.

Breath-taking suspense in RED WINE by Santiago Menghini. At a charity event someone takes revenge by adding poison to a glass of wine, the film revealing the various movements of this glass.

SUCH A BEAUTIFUL TOWN by Marta Koch shows the surreal night-time route taken by an anguished young woman. Animated short which explores sexual and existential impulses. Note the producers, the same film school in Lodz, Poland, where Roman Polanski studied.

DEAF LOVE – VOLER ESSERE FELICI AD OGNI COSTO by Michele Bertini Malgarini has the tone of a comedy road film with touches of humour brought by the primitive southern Italian language, yet it also contains a universal message of love that goes beyond the barriers of deafness and disability in general.

THE VAN by Erenik Begiri carries us into a callous world, impervious to human feelings, where people are beaten senseless for money and where human contact crumbles under the weight of oppression.

Played rather than declaimed, DIALOGUE by Souvik Chakraborty is a psychedelic journey in India, highly reminiscent of videoclips from the 80s.

PAOLA MAKES A WISH by Zhannat Alshanova is a film recommended for men, the intriguing dialogue right up there with “Sex and the City”.

One of the things that enforced isolation hasn’t taken away from us is the amazing ability to move through the maelstrom of film images, assimilating them through our own personal vision.

Carry on with this. It’s the cheapest protection out there.

The date is for Wednesday evening.

Diary – 6 July 2020

For Italy and the world in general Ennio Morricone was much more than a composer of soundtracks.

His scores flew in a life of their own, in tandem, their impact on film making them a separate creative entity, instantly recognisable.

Hearing about his death was a terrible blow. We will miss the person more than the personality, meek and mild and a discreet standard bearer for understatement.

July has pulled a strange rabbit out of its hat, with assorted downpours and blasts of unbearable heat.

International Shorts Festival 2020 is continuing its virtual journey with works from three female directors. But first things first.

EXAM by Sonia K. Hadad is a strongly dramatic narrative of the school nightmare of a young Arab girl. In the dangerous role of drugs courier, she has to face up to the consequences.

Viewing continues with IL NOSTRO TEMPO by Veronica Spedicati, in a play on narrative and drama which would have met with the favour of a fine connoisseur of childhood such as Gianni Amelio. A difficult relationship between father and daughter is played out through the slow, sleepy summer afternoons in the splendid region of Puglia. There is perhaps the spectre of the father’s illness, yet the smiles strengthen the relationship between two figures so distant from one another.

El LIBRE by Francesca Català portrays a redhaired bookseller tackling a disobedient book up to the final, surprising revelation.

SONG SPARROW by Farzaneh Omidvarnia is a work of animation that tells of the journey by a group of refugees. The dramatic shades of the concept fade away in the unexpected finale of anticipation.

GUY PROPOSES TO HIS GIRLFREND ON A MOUNTAIN by Bernhard Wenger takes us on a wonderful holiday among snow-capped mountains. Care is needed though, as Cupid is calling the shots…. Special applause should go to the overall originality, an Austrian production against the thunder and lightning of a disco.

The final screening is that of COMMUNITY GARDENS from Lithuanian director Vytautas Katcus. A fire breaks out in this bucolic setting, the environmental event marking out the divide between the protagonist and his homeland.

June is a month of anniversaries and of memories. Vittorio Gassman and Alberto Sordi are so close to audiences’ hearts as to rise to become preferred icons of a cinema that possibly no longer exists. We feel it is right to remember them, seeing as they too contributed to building strong emotions in celluloid.

The date is for Tuesday evening.

Diary – 5 July 2020

The scent of summer, of the sun and the sea, of dried salt on skin.

Public life bursts forth anew, after a spring sacrificed on the grim altar of fear, eyes desperately seeking emotion, that which pours out powerfully like a life force, goes against the flow and conquers all.

A hot evening, the TV screens at home showing pictures of everyone’s friend, a great man who’s fighting a great battle, Alex Zanardi.

Our Festival continues its narrative through the Science & Society section, in collaboration with ESOF 2020, an invaluable opportunity for discussing our relationship with technology and its demands that rise and fall each day.

Almost all the shorts are animated, starting with AVARYA by Gokalp Gölen. An elderly, fragile human being faces up to a robot. The stakes are very high – a planet for living on.

Continuing with CLACK, by the duo Martinoni/Peretti, a fun yet knowingly dystopian satire on the risks of technology, on which we all depend.

Ever onwards with the women’s film project directed by Beatrice Aliné, ABSENCE OF LIGHT, an aesthetic and meditative reflection on the nature of light energy, the dark and its opposite.

This is followed by DEJEUNER SUR L’HERBE, by the Bourges/Charles/Harbonn ViaudpRougemont collective, picturing a comical scientist grappling with work and life problems.

Right from the first sequences HOME AWAY 3000, by the duo Pétel/Baranzini, makes us supportive of the likable lead cosmonaut character. Bald, moustachioed and agé and with a problem to solve.

FRAMES by Farhad Pakdel reminded us of a masterpiece of Italian science fiction from the 70s, Le Orme by Luigi Bazzoni (1975): the same atmosphere of a compressed capsule, a motionless temperature-controlled environment…

Like it or not, we are increasingly victims of a voyeuristic syndrome, as witnessed by STORY by Jola Bańkowska.

More than a resource, the element of water is a necessity, but what would happen if the public were not to notice that it’s missing? A small gem of eco science fiction entitled THE WATER, by Andrea Dargenio, tackles this problem.

From shorts to feature films with the Nuove Impronte section, to which we will return in greater detail later.

LOS FANTASMAS by Sebastián Lojo depicts life at the margins of society, male prostitution and a corrupt milieu, narrating all this in a grey, godforsaken setting.

Despite everything, we have managed to stay together even at a distance, laying down a metaphorical bridge from one bank to the other. Stay tuned for Monday evening.

Diary – 4 July 2020

Fate at times has some really surprise jokes in store for the human race.

It takes away the comfort blanket of our daily lives and rases our routine and false sense of security to the ground.

It reinvents our little world, adjusting it to totally new existential solutions.

Faced with all this, Art cannot and must not stop. It may be that everything will change and the great storm will never be calmed completely, but the creativity and inventiveness we all possess will resist being swallowed up.

This year our Festival has opted to use new ways of seeing and, almost as if a challenge, it’s always great images that keep us company.

Virginia Raffaele, talented and beautiful performer, and not just comic, of more recent theatre and TV seasons, gave an account some time ago of her experience as a child growing up in a family of fairground workers, where certain shared experiences and lifestyles are different from how we imagine them to be.

INVERNO by Giulio Mastromauro is based on the same theme and told through the eyes of Timo, a young Greek carny struggling with pain and loss.

A pleasing narrative structure for a short which has met with unanimous consensus and awards.

LOST AND FOUND by Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe is the moving and touching love story of two yarn puppets, a fox and a dinosaur, in a Japanese home, a parable of love and sacrifice filled with true lyricism.

PINA COLADA by David Grove Draad puts the ne’er-do-well lead character through a few nasty moments. An unexpected, alcoholic, mix turns the situation around. Grotesque and devastating.

MARS OMAN by Vanessa del Campo Gatell is a documentary that chooses a clear contrast as narrative structure.

On the one hand spartan desert life and rural rhythms, on the other hand exploration of Mars.

Discussing holidays this year is definitely risky and so it becomes even more interesting to find out what Wiep Teeuwisse has to say on the subject.

Against the most orange of orange backgrounds, INTERMISSION EXPEDITION shows us tourists with funny hats who move around as one in an unsettling context where nature changes constantly.

LIMBO by Dani Viqueria Carballal will send shivers down your spine despite the heat. Clear references to the best in slasher cinema, à la West Craven or Tobe Hooper. In the film’s sinister drama, the menacing peril of a collective fit of murderous rage shapes up.

Lucid control of spaces and the fragmented passage between beautiful natural landscapes and urban lighting are the marks of I CREATED MEMORIES by Sammy Gadboys.

A sympathetic vision of various life scenarios in the hope of capturing the out-of-reach meaning of memories.

During these months of enforced isolation, the inherent resource and meaning of the film idiom have appeared blatantly obvious to us and this time the journey around the world takes place on an equal footing, each one in front of their screen, safeguarding inner feelings.

We believe we said this a few years ago: Vasco Pratolini used to repeat that the journey of knowledge towards the world starts from your own garden. We have been forced to stay in our personal garden in recent months, like it or not.

Now, in the words of a wonderful song by Stadio dedicated to Marco Pantani, we’re standing on the pedals for a new road ahead.

The journey continues…