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

Diario di bordo – Day 07

Thursday 07 july – Day 07

Snapshots of a festival. Many hands to shake, people to meet for the first time or see again after a long separation; a luna-park of sensations that are perhaps impossible to describe.

It’s very hot, perhaps even extremely hot, and appropriate refreshment can be provided by the evening’s screenings. Oh, the infinite seductive power of cinema!

A literal departure…with the car crash of professional ups and downs of the protagonist in Michael Binz’s Herman the German…comes from Germany and allows us to laugh humorously at the fears and idiosyncrasies that can be unleashed in the bizarre corridor of the human psyche.

The cinematographic colour of the evening veers decidedly towards pitch black with Yasir Kareem’s Kingdom of Garbage.

We are faced with a piercing series of events in which children are social martyrs and every right they have is ignored.

Tasty like a tortilla and inebriating like a glass of sangria, here a Mexico populated by singing animals comes to the screen in Los ases del corral.

Directed by the young pair of Sevilla and Báez and centred around a highly colourful jukebox, a singular, chilli flavoured tension unfolds.

Bringing with it the solemn cadence of a Greek tragedy is Russian director Taya Zubova’s Ryba Moya…before our eyes is an authentic visual symphony which talks about pregnancy, where water becomes the narrative modus operandi in a succession of beautiful images of multi-coloured nights without darkness and dances, right up until the final catharsis of a new birth.

Theatre – or rather one-room cinema – next in Chris Chalklen’s Draft Eight, where, in a bourgeois salon reminiscent of the style of Harold Pinter, a character confronts his own regrets, sustaining a captivating verbal architecture.

In Italy, this duplicity could have been brilliantly acted by our own best stage actors, such as Glauco Mauri and Roberto Sturno, in the desire of creating a small game of quotations.

An animated short, Siniša Mataić’s Penjači transports us into a world of adrenaline, where two young climbers on a constant search for thrills end up having to seriously reconsider their own existence.

We feel sincere affection when confronted by a sweet old lady who takes scrupulous care of a public toilet. In her little world of simple people, the sense that there is a magnificent granny trunk overflowing with precious objects persists. All of this is executed with aplomb in Laura Luchetti’s animated short, Bagni.

The atmosphere of a prison turns all kinds of conventions and habits on their heads, obliterating personal microcosms and forcing you to stay loyal with instances you had never previously considered.

With a wise helping of emotions, the French auteur Laurent Scheid tells the story of these expressive knots in Tout va bien.

Brando De Sica is notoriously a young son of art, but he already demonstrates an understanding of the narrative possibilities of the cinematographic medium. His short Non senza di me also has the merit of bringing us a good dramatic effort from Max Tortora, an actor generally known for his ironic works. The ending is truly unexpected in this truly saucy thriller.

Next to be shaken up is the theme of physical disability, and of the legitimate needs of this delicate portion of the population. Hole, by Canadian Martin Edralin, is a Swan Lake from uneven shores.

Desecrating political satire is proposed by Frenchman Aurélien Laplace in Une poignée de main historique. As always happens when the characters in question are very well known, the laughs come from observing how history can hold very witty gags, both small and large.

Quando a Roma nevica by Andrea Baroni brings us back to a wholly Italian context through a vibrantly violent series of events set in a less picture-postcard version of the Italian capital.

Scenes of brutal beatings and agitated cries with a message behind them: there is no interpersonal reality that doesn’t connect sooner or later to that community in an inexorable societal chain.

A light with beautiful purple hues illuminates a Piazza Verdi still brimming with filmgoers, whilst many other images have just been seen at Cinema Ariston; without doubt they will be talked about again.

Claude Chabrol, who is perhaps one of the best known directors from the French New Wave, said that sharing cinema as perfect as a cup of strawberries is demanding when it comes to having the correct portion of whipped cream.

We could not agree more and, at the same time, we too invite you to live the main part of ShorTS International Film Festival, Trieste, with us.

Let the screenings go on! Next stop: Friday night.

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di bordo – Day 6

Wednesday 06 july – Day 06

Whilst Italy’s footballing excitement provides a freeing catharsis, we have the pleasure of descending on a Piazza Verdi completely packed with spectators.

It’s always worth spending a couple of moments observing this colourful human garden, where people curiously flick through the festival’s publications whilst the children among us anxiously wait for the screening of animated cartoons.

We begin in a private, domestic setting with Y mañana navidad, where an ageing man choses a friendly lunch as the occasion to reveal his own partner’s betrayal. Director Héctor Rull only needs nine minutes to stigmatise a harsh interpersonal theme.

Have you ever thought about the suggestion that water is a living element in which we can lose ourselves; almost a redemptive oasis that helps us survive the cut thrust of every-day life? This is well and truly achieved in Sarah Van Den Boom’s Dans les eaux profondes, with a series of events which links homosexuality to the living pulpit present in the embryos of each of us.

One never expects the interpersonal relationships that develop between people outside of a nucleonic family. The maid in Clara Roquet’s El adiós understands, after a struggle, that her life inside of what seemed to be a protected nest will never be the same again.

Excuse us an outburst of Italian pride, but we must confess our unconditional love for the grand theatrical and cinematographic traditions of the Italian south; how could one not define the efforts of actor Gianfelice Imparato, already appreciated on the big screen in Il divo and Gomorra, as simply extraordinary.

As the protagonist of Emanuele Palamara’s La smorfia, the excellent Imparato plays the role of a celebrated Neapolitan opera singer who’s suffered a stroke; through his difficult day, the protagonists share the burning memories of a sweet artistic past and the intolerance that comes from being with an overly controlling wife.

Only at the end do we discover the true affection of our female protagonist. The public’s appreciation for this short is clear to see.

The omnipresence of the aquatic element again comes to the fore in a tale about the resourcefulness of humanity when faced with mortality; and accurate use of silence and sounds much more than acting, these factors allow Polish filmmaker Paulina Skibińska to overcome her own artistic challenge, entitled Obiekt.

Moments of pure emotion, extraordinary direction of the actors and a message disarming in its directness: war is condemned in all of its guises and regardless of from where it comes.

Props to Sandra Ceccarelli, the astonished spectator of scenes of blood and death; her role as an elderly voice actress sees her emulate one of the great names of Italian theatre – the great Marzia Ubaldi.

We thought that cinematic clerical satire had already seen its best days thanks to the great Pupi Avati (remember his 1975 classic “La mazurka del barone, della santa e del fico fiorone”), but we are now faced with something just as exhilarating.

We are, of course, alluding to Michel Zarazi’s Sous les soutanes, where an eccentric group of bungling nuns find themselves having to save a chubby monsignor from the trap of a land mine.

A totally different context comes next with the greying, professional downward spiral of the two labourer protagonists in Mamci i udice…almost neo-realist direction introduces us to an environment where the path to change is always littered with obstacles.

Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s Prends-moi tackles a delicate subject, earnestly telling the story of how the disabled have the right to a proper sex life. The hospital setting establishes a daily life dripping with despair but also extreme social demands.

Davide Salucci’s Il principe is a truly entertaining animated short, which retells the dear old legend of a knight on his trusty steed in an ironic and paroxysmal way.

Davide nails the visual technics, which resemble a painting, and the surreal scenography where modern buildings and airports go hand in hand with drawbridges and Medieval castles.

The beautiful power of horror films is like a black widow constantly waiting to strike! Try to see Ignacio F. Rodó’s Tuck Me In and discover how just one minute of narration is enough to turn the atmosphere to ice.

A few more shivers are absolutely necessary in this season burning fire. We linger to talk with a few of the festival’s guests – priceless moments of international communication.

Next stop: Thursday evening.

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di bordo – Day 5

Tuesday 05 july – Day 05

“The old man fell asleep and dreamed of being a butterfly…or perhaps it was a butterfly who dreamed of being a sleeping, old man”

Angelo Branduardi, Italian singer.

The staging area is packed to the proverbial rafters with adults and children, a colourful mass that can’t not make you swell with pride, whilst we live the most important moments of the 17th edition of Shorts International Film Festival.

We kick things off with the English short Help Point: in a sunny airport car park, a young man and an equally young woman realise that they can’t remember where they parked their respective cars; his efforts to seduce her encounter some tricky obstacles, partly thanks to the scheming of those in control.

Ice and snow for an incident set in the mountains; very suggestive and icy like the natural setting in which it unfolds.

Aslak Danbolt’s Last Base follows an ambiguous path and the viewer must be alert at all times to catch the true connotations of the story.

We are then surprised in a flash by the two-minute long OTTO, but Salvatore Murgia and Dario Imbrogno. It’s almost a graphic exercise which stands out for its noteworthy use of Dolby Surround and the frenetic accumulation of visual information.

Andrea Zuliani’s Per Anna is much longer by contrast: through prudent and involved direction, we are taken into the aquarium-like world of a dumb boy.

The sensitivity of a small, sweet girl of the same age helps him communicate whilst life goes on all around him in a typical, southern Italian province, rites and traditions included.

Kevork Aslanyan’s Kak da nadebeleem zdravoslovno then transports us into a crazy world whose inhabitants float away in a joke about the laws of gravity, and where strange, weight-gaining diets exist.

A modern-day Hellzapoppin’ with an excellent narrative core.

We then meander towards introversions and realities oft-neglected in common conversation with Le Floc’h and Pinto Monteiro’s short Elena, in which a sequence of events less evanescent than one could reasonably stand unfolds in Belgium.

We can talk of a “gay” aesthetic, but in this case it is manipulated by animation. Laurent Boileau’s Lady of the Night is a wonderfully elegant piece of craftsmanship, much like a large portion of Saint Honoré.

Behind this elegant curtain of silk and velvet there are however also other human implications.

Anna Farré Añó’s Con la boca cerrada represents a return to plumbing the depths of the adolescent world. It is evidently about a subject very close to the directors heart, and again in this case the result is remarkable, especially considering the delicacy of the theme concerned.

Wrapped up in fluctuating scenography, the protagonists of Flora Molinie’s Carapace live the yin and yang of romantic passion; a rough path they can’t avoid taking.

As the elegant patrons of Teatro Verdi are leaving the theatre, enriching the colours of the scenery, the big screen shows The Smiling Man.

Directed by A.J. Briones, it represents a true leap into the grotesque ocean of horror, of the arrogant and violent kind favoured by Sam Raimi, with the young girl who plays the protagonist adding pathos with her neutral and infantile presence.

SWEETS4KIDS, which took place in the afternoon hours, was an unequivocal success. Cinema Ariston let our young public take the wheel of cinematographic language, and who knows how many of them will go on in the coming seasons to direct, write and make the small or large visual rhapsodies we all love so dearly.

François Truffaut once said that cinema touches us all indiscriminately, a sort of universal language that obliterates distances, making them equal for everyone, from Argentina to Siberia.

Next stop: Wednesday night.

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di bordo – Day 04

Monday 04 luglio – Day 04

Finally a cooler, slightly breezy evening! Here we are, therefore, returned to Piazza Verdi; adults and children sat in front of the big screen returning to an idea of a collective membership to short-form cinema.

Tonight’s screening opens with a couple looking for a new home in Federico Untermann’s Todo lo demás. As the minutes go by, the moral gap between the two protagonists becomes ever larger.

A few minutes later, we are treated to Tannaz Hazemi’s incredible vision of the world through children’s eyes in Before the Bomb. We are confronted by a simultaneously poetic and agonising sequence of events, where a young girl, who is very mature for her age, and her little brother are almost left to fend for themselves, taking on adults and the dangers of the outside world with commendable determination. The end speculates that the two youngsters escape to a far off paradise, be it real or, perhaps, metaphorical.

A real sense of mystery and suspended imagination follows, with Wenceslao Scyzoryk’s 112 subjecting the spectators to a sense of relentless criticism through the psychological prism of a phone line.

We are filled with robust emotions, however, by Dutch filmmaker Els Van Driel’s Hoe Ky Niels werd, which, with the disarming naturalness of a documentary film, tells a pulsating story about gender diversity and the random nature of destiny, which at times even changes the sexual and gender identities of human beings.

Beach Flags is a short directed by the sensitive, feminine touch of Sarah Saidan. The film transports us into a world of sand and water, but the exotic setting doesn’t mean we forget that we’re talking about female application, about pride and rights, all in a competitive context.

Gabriel Harel, director of Yùl et le serpent, instead tells the story of a fascinating incident in which a small protagonist reacts to bullying. It is again a cartoon of epic human consequences, adventurous in the broadest meaning of the word.

The story thought of by Leah Johnston for My Younger Older Sister is not a simple one. It is about the process of mourning a young woman is going through, passing through a thousand uneven stages. Pure poetry.

How resourceful, how capable of crossing seas and mountains with losing a shred of authenticity women are.

Alexis Korycinski does justice to this capacity in The Hairut, where a young woman enters into the inflexible world of the military, discovering her true internal morality.

A father, a daughter, two glasses full of thrills, but flowing from different bottles. Mohamed Kamel, director of Rabie chetwy, demonstrates his understanding of the burns of introspection, and such sensitivity praised by the spectators.

There are still abusive, warlike conflicts, where distressed human beings are tossed into hell like bowling pins. This time it is the turn of Sajjad Abbas to tell the tale, who, with The Iraqi Superman, exploits the medium of animation to tell a beautiful, visceral story.

Disco Inferno from the talented Alice Waddington pays homage to an old, charming French Drama from the 1960s: Belphégor ou le Fantôme du Louvre.

In highly refined black and white, the film possesses the ambience of an old-school horror flick; a surreal sequence of events that shares its title with a famous disco track from years gone by.

It’s just past midnight and two young, foreign women are sat in front of us, lingering to share their opinions on what we have just seen.

This is the power of cinema: discussions, and sometimes clashes, but always communication. And long may it be so.

Next stop: Tuesday night. May the cinematic extravaganza go on…

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di Bordo – Day 3

Sunday 03 luglio – Day 03

Reality and dreams. Two distant planets that sometimes collide. In this particular instance, it’s called fate.

ShorTS International Film Festival 2016 provides the opportunity to get to know both these existential shores, through a long and intense journey.

An unforgiving wind has seen us move once again to the Teatro Miela for a long evening of screenings.

The night opens with the short Divento Vento, from the workshop organized by Mestieri del Cinema, a gluttonous opportunity for young people to get to know the internal structures of cinema.

We laugh sincerely when faced with the two brothers who, having decided to raise two chicks, flaunt their vegetarianism and vehemently confront their parents, sometimes violently. This all takes place in Michael Lennox’s Boogaloo and Graham, which harnesses an ecological gag to recount the light and dark sides of family life.

Just as entertaining in its caustic mockery of inter-racial problems is the Sarmad Masud’s English short Two Dosas, where a young man with Indian roots becomes aware of his strong bond to the West and therefore also how emotional bonds with foreigners can assume sarcastic implications. The two young adults sat before us makes us double over with sincere laughter, hinting at a great success.

Coming from Brazil, the next short is a tale about the phonetic: Pedro Paulo De Andrade’s O melhor som do mundo.

Almost a children’s version of Gene Hackman in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, the young protagonist dedicates his body and soul to completely personal research project.

Simply extraordinary is the young female protagonist of Ena Sendijarevic’s Fernweh, which flings us into the internal struggles of a foster family. It is a work of many unexpressed nuances, all of which are advantageous.

Here we are now laughing affectionately at the unfolding sequence of events affecting Pia, a red-haired animated creation intent on discovering the engagements and disengagements of the journey of existence: A Single Life, directed by the trio of Job, Joris & Marieke.

When we play, anything is possible! Christian Sulser’s Scrabble provides you with clear proof of this, where the metaphor of the game works together with others that are of a much more profound significance.

It may seem to be a drama with grim undertones, but be careful not to undervalue to subtle narrative course marked out by Jaime Valdueza in Burned, which also showcases exquisitely directed actors.

Next comes the comeback of the weathervane protagonist of Jan Snoekx’s Voltaire who, after am explosive experience, totally changes his life and his attitudes in what is almost a quantum leap in the category of noble animals.

Mark Kunerth’s The Girlfriend Experience is another tale of accidental online happenings, where the search for a female presence doesn’t have the desired effect. Entertainment is assured!

Something that will never fail to repeat itself is how the female perspective, in cinematographic terms, always has surprises in store for us and enables innovative visions and new directions. Finnish director Isabella Karhu amply demonstrates this in Pojat where, amongst other things, the storytelling is totally attuned to the masculine world.

In a conclusion that’s surreal to the point of almost being mysterious, Mihai Grecu’s fascinating methods in The Reflection of Power make the subject matter seem to have been almost chucked about in the editing machine in what is a captivate and illogical journey of images.

The temperature drops noticeably upon leaving the theatre and finally we can walk through the cool air reflecting on what we have already seen and what we are yet to see!

Next stop: Monday night.

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di bordo Day 02

What a passionate lot Europeans are! The football tournament represents a phenomenon that is difficult to escape from, and there’s no point in denying the adrenaline that brings everyone together as one.

Italy and Germany are the subjects of the night’s suspense, and so here we are relocated in Teatro Miela, where in any event we weren’t lacking for spectators.

The cinematographic dances opened with an Italian production, Giacomo Caceffo’s Pillole dal future, this year’s Premio Mattador representative and a telling example of how one can make a small rhapsody of images in a dialectic context.

We say that time is a rather eccentric variable which doesn’t fail to deeply impact the destinies of each and every one of us; all it takes is a fraction of a second offset from the rest and our existential house of cards folds in on itself.

This concept was entertainingly explored in Fran X. Rodríguez’s Ladrones de tiempo, which was both a lot of fun and very well structured.

The victim of an atrocious destiny brought upon her by her son, a woman in a supermarket finds nothing better than asking for a little affection from another customer who looks tragically similar to the son she has lost.

We are almost moved, but there is a sarcastic final surprise that follows in Iñaki Sánchez Arrieta’s El abrazo.

Present in the theatre is the young Canadian director Sam Luk who, in spite of his tender age, seems to already possess a flawless understanding of the infinite rivulets of the sentimental river. You Are My Present, which he both wrote and directed, is poetic and suggestive, constantly chasing emotions between the present, the past and the future.

We now take an about turn into a suburban military context thanks to the American director Moon Molson who, in his The Bravest, The Boldest, constructs a climate of constant existential tension by reflecting interpersonal relationships and the risky nature of destiny.

A film that truly wrong-foots you, albeit in a good way, is Jacob Frey’s animated short The Present, in which a PlayStation-obsessed, introverted teenager is gifted a three-legged puppy by his parents. The teen’s initial diffidence is transformed into pure affection, even in light of the disconcerting reality that’s staring him in the face; an original and poetic way of talking about diversity.

¿Señor o señorito? From the pair of Piernas and Ruiz turns the dogma of the job interviews we’re used to seeing and often even accepting on its head. Here it is the turn of the other half of humanity, that is to say the feminine half, to be the bosses, in what becomes a vortex of verbal tastes.

The vicissitudes of a young stutterer and his attempts to leave his mark on the outside world form the basis of a short that is anything but banal: Benjamin Cleary’s Stutterer. Coming from England, it stands out with an extraordinary acting effort from the protagonist.

Tropical greens and the almost shocking blues of an uncontaminated sea provide the backdrop for Nicolas Polixene’s Papé; it takes place in the Caribbean and is almost an archaic ritual about memory as a palpable entity which re-invokes the feelings of moments both eternal and ephemeral.

De Smet is a piquant allegory for family, even in its most dysfunctional form; obviously a lack of emotional links can have unexpected consequences. Laughter is guaranteed here.

Burning like an ice cube that’s found its way under your shirt, La Graine from young Belgian director, Barney Frydman, tells the story of two young hooligans who are seemingly irreconcilable with regards to their cruelty and disenchantment with the world. Their existence is, however, turned upside down by the innocence of a new-born baby.

After having had our fill of strong emotions, it was not displeasing to abandon ourselves to the sarcastic and irreverent images of Seron and Fortunat-Rossi’s L’Ours noir. Have you ever dreamed of abandoning everything for a redeeming bath in a natural paradise. Whether it’s in the Dolomites or the mountains of Pennsylvania, what’s important is not relying on one’s own touristic advice! Sincere hilarity for the public watching on, but note also the social significance of the short in question.

Whilst the city is still caught up in the “Night of Sales”, and exudes therefore a sense of glamour, we taste the wind which greets us upon leaving the Teatro Miela, and we provide you with the next date for your diaries: the evening of Sunday July 3rd will see the continuation of the initiatives provided by the 2016 ShorTS International Film Festival.

Riccardo Visintin

Diario di bordo – Day 01

Friday 01 luglio – Day 01

You know those giant, multi-coloured jellyfish (of the non-stinging variety) that suddenly appear beside you; a silent, underwater presence?

The International ShorTS Film Festival possesses the same bewitching allure, and it ensnares you with its rich catalogue of visions and events.

It’s the press conference at Punto Enel, Monday 20th June 2016, and we are already in the fair climax of an event which never fails to surprise.

The outcome of Friday afternoon, with its Shorts 4 Sweets workshop led by filmmaker Francesco Filippi, was more than satisfying, with it allowing its young audience of 12 to 15 years to become an integral and active part of the Cinematographic World.

We will talk more at length about this in the coming days.

The inaugural evening in Piazza Verdi, on Friday, attracted a public resistant to the oppressive grip of the weather: in other words, it was very hot.

We have perhaps never given it much thought before, but the work of those we have come to call “humourists” is important, precious, and has a sort of added value that is well and truly established by Daniel Jewel in his work The Secret World of Foley.

The film also simultaneously provides an insight oozing with poetic beauty into the world of fisherman.

Pablo Vara’s short Cuenta con nosotros is a totally different proposition, in which he manages to poke fun at no lesser body than ISIS; a subject that may not appear to be particularly ripe for comedy, but which is exquisitely executed.

Much appreciated by the public were the wry, heady images of Margot Reumont’s Grouillons-nous: the small red world of a friendly bunch of fruit which, genuinely, read Marie Fraise, a version which is to them… befitting of the Marie Claire fashion magazine.

It seems as if those who wrote the work we’re going to talk about next are amongst the best in show. Certainly there was a need to have a good natured (or maybe not quite so good natured) crack at the fabric of the online jungle, where we know each other without knowing each other, and where surprises, even the most uproarious ones, wait to ambush us like a thief in the dark.

All of this is successfully achieved by Daniel Clements in Edit > Undo, which was greatly applauded.

Britain called next with Daisy Jacob’s The Bigger Picture, which talks about a job which is always delicately balanced between the cruel and the emotive through the representation of both senility and the meanness of certain behaviours.

There is a persistent sense of death and sulphur in this work, but there is also an excellent study of story-telling methods.

At last Italy comes to the screen thanks to Matteo Petrelli’s Punto di vista which, behind the chinking of glasses at a bar, hides a warning that diversity should be considered from all possible perspectives.

Simon Tillaas’ Den lille døden, however, is a whole other kettle of fish. It lifts the lid of a huge pot heavy with human relationships which push the limits of consent, with an absolutely extraordinary young protagonist completely at the mercy of the mechanisms of the adult world.

The general tone of the discussion was mellowed slightly by the following film: Juan Beiro’s Vainilla. Who can say what and how great an impact chatting, even casually, can have on the lives of each of us?

It is a work whose contents lead us to a wise final conclusion.

Extraordinary from a visual and staging perspective was Natalie Plaskura’s Faint.

We are faced with a work whose images conserve the cold poeticism of several stories from the North, by here everything fluctuates or, more accurately, the characters transform themselves before returning to their original forms. This is pure poetry.

Much has been written and seen about the military, and so props must go Roberto Collío who, through his Muerte blanca, recounts and incident of conflict and soldiers which unfolds under a silent cover of black and white.

The destiny of the protagonists is like short crust pastry between the great hands of Destiny.

We reach the home straight with Kevin Newbury’s American short Stag, in which the past once again knocks at our door and we can do no less than open it.

Ewa Gorzna’s Rearranged doesn’t need physical protagonists for its truly elegant exposition: the ambience and objects change, drift away and transmute themselves in a hypnotic lullaby with surreal connotations.

Midnight passes and still the heat hasn’t subsided, but we have hardly scratched the surface of our long cinematic journey, which will continue on Saturday night.

Riccardo Visintin