“Captain’s Log”, Seventh Evening

It is often said that life is the art of meeting: once again Maremetraggio, the king of events for film shorts, has taken the cue from this axiom. On Friday, July 9th, hosted as usual in the comfortable premises of the Savoia Excelsior, we had the opportunity of meeting one of the greatest figures on the Italian cinema scene: the director and screenwriter Francesco Maselli.

The author of “Storia d’amore” – Love Story – and “Gli indifferenti” – Time of Indifference – entertained the audience with his dry language and with his words of optimism for the future of Italian cinema.

Despite the death of important actors like Gian Maria Volontè and Vittorio Gassman Maselli said that there is a generation of new actors like Stefano Dionisi – discovered by Maselli himself – who prove that the situation is not as dire as it may seem.

Friday evening, which saw the presence of a huge and very warm audience as is now a tradition for this event, unfortunately started with an intense and justified note of sadness: Maddalena Mayneri announced the sudden death of Carlo Di Palma, one of the many Italians to have made a name for themselves abroad.

Director of photography for Woody Allen and Michelangelo Antonioni, he always worked behind the scenes sharing with another master of lighting, Vittorio Storaro, a sort of “aristocratic introversion”.

This sad news of Di Palma’s death was followed by a long applause and the evening was dedicated to the director of photography of “Stardust Memories”.

As the host of evening, Andro Merkù, rightly said “the show must go on” faithful to the tradition of showbiz. The first film short was then screened: “Vacances” by Nicolas Dufranne.
This work by the Belgian director uses the freeze-frame technique at the service of a disquieting screenplay on death and betrayal. It is rather a sort of fresco, an allegory, more than a film. It is probably too cryptic for the general public.

Another film short with influences from horror movies was “Deadline” by Massimo Coglitore from Messina; there is an intense narrative tension and quotes from masterpieces of British thrillers (like “Voices” by Kevin Billington, an old paranormal thriller from the Seventies starring David Hemmings).

“Ho visto Mia ballare tra le nuvole” – I Saw Mia Dancing In The Clouds – by Ila Beka (aka Filippo Clericuzio), a veteran of film shorts with his 150 film shorts, is a sort of stylized exercise carried with great skill and using shooting techniques reminiscent of European mute films.

Another Italian film short was “Bbobbolone” by Daniele Cascella, a desecrating and bitter parody of criminal circles in Southern Italy. Victim of two bullies using an absurd and incomprehensible language, the neighbourhood criminal, Bbobbolone, quits a robbery attempt to play a football match. It borders on those self-mocking films that tease the deep South without ever humiliating it.

Then came the turn of the Ippocampo section with the full-length film by Salvatore Mereu, “Ballo a tre passi” – Three-step Dance. It too is set in Southern Italy and it tells of the contrast between new generations and the older ones which are still closely tied to the countryside and poverty. This work provides interesting food for thought as far as understanding other regions of Italy is concerned.

Mereu, almost 40, was supported by Gianluca Arcopinto’s “Lucky Red” and by the former actor Andrea Occhipinti: it is one of the few Italian producers and distributors to offer young authors an opportunity of visibility worthy of being considered as such.

The evening’s program just could not be missed: the last set of film shorts, the special event and the award ceremony… under a star-lit sky.

Riccardo Visintin

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