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SOUNDFRAMES: DAL MUTO AL SONORO

Il cinema muto non è mai stato completamente silenzioso, perché le proiezioni in sala erano accompagnate da musica dal vivo suonata da pianisti o orchestre. Tuttavia, il rapporto tra cinema e musica nei primi trent’anni della storia del cinema era ben diverso da quello attuale, e la potenzialità che oggi è attribuita alla colonna sonora di un film è molto diversa dalla percezione che ne avevano i cineasti e i critici nei primi decenni del ‘900.

Continua la lettura di SOUNDFRAMES: DAL MUTO AL SONORO

Return to Spoon River by Francesco Conversano and Nene Grignaffini

Article by: Giulia Conte

Translation by: Lorenzo Matarazzo

Nene Grignaffini and Francesco Conversano dedicate a film to the Spoon River Anthology to celebrate the hundred years from the publishing of the famous poetry collection by Edgar Lee Masters. The movie was shot in Lewiston and Petersburg, Illinois, where the current inhabitants of those places read the compositions in their houses’ rooms. Slow pace, even too much sometimes, but a particular idea for sure. 104 minutes of traveling through small towns which tell the tale of the provincial America and the lives of those who live there.

All of the characters who read one of the epitaphs, identify themselves with one of the protagonists from the book, as if the latter were speaking of their lives too.

“All, all, are sleeping on the hill.”

Time is still, and the film moves from house to house, listening to the story of everyone. The feeling is that the inhabitants of the two cities are lazily living their lives, stuck like the Spoon River characters, who, and here lies the difference, were dead. As it is well known, life in suburban America can be many things, except easy and fun. This narration is a clear example of what means living isolated and almost imprisoned in cities, which might be big under the aspect of territorial extension but empty and not interesting on a cultural level.

One of the Lewiston citizens reads one the most touching sentences from the Anthology:

“It takes life to love life”

This to say that a certain kind of spirit is needed to love life, despite living there.

The Spoon River Anthology is a work written in 1915, which is still very contemporary today: George Gray said:

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.”

And I think that this is a very common thought, shared by anyone of us, just like it is by the characters of the movie.

The work of Grignaffini and Conversano is entirely focused on this aspect, i.e. passing on the hunger for life and the willingness of persons to tell themselves, in order to give life to an film that, although not easy in its comprehension, is moving and makes one think.

The Hallow by Corin Hardy

Article by: Luca Richiardi

Translation by: Kim Turconi

How do a young and loving couple react to the unknown?
The most primordial and essential life events can have serious effects on us, when they are experienced firsthand. The unknown is hidden behind the birth of a child, in the way in which such event changes the perception of the relationship between parents; the unknown can be found in tales and myths, among the folklore that is (or was) transmitted to children.
The Hallow, first feature film of the young British author Corin Hardy, deals with ambiguities and the unknown. The film initially titled “The Woods”, was premiered at the Sundance Festival, where it has been noticed for its qualities.
The Hallow is without any doubt a horror; it proudly represents the genre with all the trimmings and many clichés that are so appreciated by horror fans. We see a little family, happy to start their life together in their new isolated home surrounded by a lively, dark, dangerous forest. There is nothing wrong with using and abusing of such commonplaces, when it is done skillfully. This is what good films do, and they manage to do it in a stimulating and pleasant way.

Good films put the audience at ease by presenting a familiar atmosphere: a relaxed audience can be carried in different directions – even new directions – as long as the film itself is able to respect the audience. This is the case of The Hallow.

As he said himself during the press conference, Corin Hardy is a big fan of horror, especially of the golden age of Italian horror: the ’70s and ’80s variety of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci – as evidenced by Corin’s shirt of Suspiria, worn with pride.
Hardy is well aware of what it needs to make a good horror film, and he shows great respect for his role models.
The Hallow is born from the legends of European folklore – Irish folklore in particular – and, for this reason, the film is set in Ireland itself. Hardy gathered together changelings, fairies, sylvan monsters, traditional creatures and he reshaped them with his own hands. He also showed to us some preliminary but beautiful sketches of the creatures design.
The Hallow is the result of measured quotations scattered throughout the film, good narrative choices that keep the tension high by playing on ambiguous situations, believable performances from the actors, great soundtrack and the light – almost invisible – hand of the director.

A horror film not to be taken lightly: it will scare, confuse and entertain you, and it will make you desire to watch another Corin Hardy’s film again.

Brooklyn by John Crowley

Article by: Giulia Conte

Translation by: Rita Pasci

Brooklyn, a drama directed by John Crowley and written by Nick Hornby, based on the novel of the same name by Colm Toìbin. It’s the moving story of Eilis Racey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant who, attracted by the promise of America, departs from Ireland leaving her family and her home to reach the coasts of New York City. The initial chains of homesickness quickly fade away and Eilis lets herself get lost in the intoxicating charm of love. Pretty soon, her liveliness is interrupted by her past, and this young woman will have to make a choice between the two countries and the two lives they involve. Continua la lettura di Brooklyn by John Crowley

Guldkysten (Gold coast) by Daniel Dencik

Article by: Giulia Tinivella Dettoni

Translation by: Roberto Gelli

Guldkysten (Gold Coast) is a film produced in 2015 by Danish director and writer Daniel Dencik and has been presented within the section Festa Mobile in TFF.

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The story takes place in the first half of 19th century. A young and naive Danish botanist leaves for the African colonies in the Gold Coast, in order to check and develop local plantations, and at the same time with the purpose of studying several floral species in those savage places, which are still unknown. Once he reaches the colonies, he is amazed by the enchanted nature of its forests and meets black people, towards whom he feels at the beginning a sense of superiority, soon replaced by the idea that there are no differences between they and him. He witnesses the disgusting behavior of the colony governor and his vices towards local women and men, who have to endure any kind of wickedness and vulgarity. As time goes by, he becomes a visionary: he dreams of a world without slavery, in which he could educate local people, in order to let them progress. But no one is going to support him.

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One day he discovers that a rich black merchant traffics in slaves. He furiously decides to intervene and stop that slave trade, which was already forbidden by law, though still practiced. In spite of an illusory victory, where justice, liberty and equality finally seem to prevail, the young botanist soon finds himself alone and ends up being treated in worse conditions than those reserved to the slaves.

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The director makes the movie start by showing the final scenes as a prologue: in this way, he wants to give more importance to the set up rather than to the narration. Gold Coast refers to Romanticism, a period when nature was celebrated for its vitality. We see the beautiful landscapes of Ghana (the same ones of Cobra Verde of Herzog), which are the protagonist of the film in some of its parts and represent the adoration of nature. Above all, Daniel is struck by the law regulating this savage nature: mathematical laws, not the traditional ones already known at that time. The spiral figure with its cyclic nature and its repeating is what mostly attracts him. It is part of the story’s architectural structure and works as a message telling us that in a certain way, the world will always come back to its original condition, to be what it was before.
This is a film, which shows the magnificent beauty of African nature but at the same time, it points out the evil of human being, who does not deserve to live in such a perfect world.

 

John From by João Nicolau

Article by: Barbara Vacchetti

Translation by: Martina Taricco
Teens years are the most beautiful and the worst moments of everyone’s life at the same time: this is a classic cliché with which you never know if to agree or not. Certainly, we usually think that adolescence years are those in which our dreams start to take a more real shape and run off the rails of childhood towards the tough reality, an almost inevitable course from adolescence to adulthood. In the movie of João Nicolau we see the exact opposite of what written above.
The protagonist is Rita: she is fifteen years old and lives with her parents in a huge and odd apartment building where blue prevails. Blue are the lift doors, the mailboxes, the balconies railings. Blue is the perfect colour for the summer during which the movie is set. Perennially on the edge of boredom that is going to submerge her, Rita spends summer walking through the city, playing the pipe organ in a recreation centre and going to parties with her friend, who lives in the same building with which she exchanges some messages written on slips of paper that they hide in the lift.
To break up the monotony of this hot summer, a new neighbour comes: a man who is about thirty-five with his little daughter who has to provide for. His name almost eludes the audience attention because very soon, this absent-minded photographer calls the attention of Rita. Nonetheless, the girl does not see him as he truly is but as the character of the title, John From.
Aided by the fact that the photographer is exhibiting the pictures that he shot in Melanesia, Rita starts to imagine him as the god John From that, according to Melanesian legends, is described as an American soldier “fallen from the sky”. Rita connects this legend to her new neighbour, fallen from the sky as well, like a blessing or a potion against the boredom. Therefore, the attempts of Rita to approach him begin but they all end in inconclusive meetings.
In the midst of her daydreaming, Rita starts to mix up what really happens with what she would like to happen; the boundaries between reality and imagination becomes more and more weak until they merge together. It is therefore difficoult to distinguish the reality from the dream, so that when we are in love, an ordinary wave becomes a sign of fate. Rita plays a game: she questions her iPod, close her eyes, browse the songs then she stops at random and the title of the song should tell her the answer to her question.
Nicolau shows us this adolescent world in a disenchanted and realistic way, dressed up with a touch of irony that could make the movie irresistible. A world in which the parents are distant but caring all the same, teenagers are mature thanks to their experiences and disappointments and an ordinary crush could turns into an endless dream of a wedding and beach games.

Pompei Eternal Emotion by Pappi Corsicato

Article by: Alessandro Arpa

Translation by: Cristiana Caffiero

Pompei Eternal Emotion is the new production by Pappi Corsicato. It’s a short cut which lasts about 10 minutes about Pompei, its archeological sites where we can find some bodies petrified by magma. The bodies of the tourists appear hibernated as well: they are puppets without life that turn into victims of the camera. In the several rooms there are some shells without soul. This short cut is really memorable….memorable is the right word to indicate it if we consider the disasters which have occurred in Pompei in 2014 which have destroyed an important part of our artistic heritage.

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Anyway what will be next is even more amazing. After Corsicato’s movie, someone in the audience stands up to move away while those who are still inside the cinema are someway frightened by the movie that will follow. Maybe it’s just because of its title: Heterophobia. Just few brave ones among the audience have stayed. It’ s dark in the theatre. From the screen there’s a light arising towards the audience: Mariano who masturbates. Then some other people step out of the theatre. They looked disgusted by what they have just happened to watch on the screen: this is what it’s defined as self-righteousness. For about one minute Mariano is what we can call mechanical love. This is the way Heterophobia starts. It soon turns into an anti patriarchal rhapsody. Heterophobia is a movie directed by Goyo Anchou. Mariano is a young guy who has been raped. He represents a vile puppet of a kind of heterosexual illusion. He has to face the strong caste of society, which is represented by patriarchy according to the Argentinian director. Patriarchy rapes people with its rude aggression. The main character is a small part of the entire universe, a small being created by God who looks for a small place for himself in the world. Mariano denies himself: he just steps from one love to another, he’s not reciprocated and his fate is disillusion and frustration. He has a main relationship with an heterosexual who abandons him at the end. Mariano thinks that God doesn’t care about his creatures and suddenly turns into Satanist. He takes part into an initiation ceremony which is wonderfully described by the Argentinian director: Masonic and Cabalhistic symbols, images from movies such as Cabiria by Pastrone, Maciste in hell by Freda, Zasie dans le metro by Malle. This movie combines some quotes from classic movies as well as dreamlike, hypnotic images that hint to Kenneth Anger or Derek Jarman. After Un chant d’amour by Jean Genet, Heterophobia can be considered the new manifesto of the homosexual culture. Mariano understands that it’s a nonsense to look for happiness in other people or to be a frustrated heterosexual. He comes to understand that to accept oneself is the way to happiness and freedom. Now Mariano is happy with his new boyfriend. He has come to a safe rescue towards a future where homosexuality won’t be a taboo anymore, machismo will turn into nonsense and people will feel free to abolish the so called boring normality.

 

High Rise by Ben Wheatley

Article by: Lorenzo Trombi

Translation by: Roberto Gelli

The movie is the screen adaptation of the novel High Rise, written by James Graham Ballard. Jeremy Thomas, winner of the Academy Award, had been interested for year in making a film from Ballard’s novel but he only succeeded in producing it in 2014.
After showing a preview of High Rise at Toronto International Film Festival, the film was presented at San Sebastián International Film Festival and now it arrives at TFF within Festa Mobile section, reserved to non-competing films and unreleased films in Italy, which represent the best international movie production.
The movie is rich in rather interesting visual solutions such as the different kinds of oppressive verticality related to the skyscraper itself, where the story takes place. These are well conveyed by oblique and sloping framing or by the protagonist movements surrounded by the lift’s mirror but the film is not able to completely overcome the difficulties to cinematographically render situations and atmospheres implied in Ballard’s novel, in which we find different levels.
The screen challenge was perhaps to shape that metaphor of modern society, where everyone has the same role of tormentor and victim. The represented microcosm is located in a skyscraper, which offers every kind of thing people may need.
Most of the characters never leave the building except for the new surgeon, the protagonist Robert Laing, who in the first part of the film goes out to work. But in the end, after the tumultuous events have ceased, we will see him starting his professional activity within the skyscraper.
Often, the residents are referred to by mentioning their room numbers, as it happens in the dialogue between Laing and the architect during the squash match. This is clearly a sort of obsessive depersonalization.
Let’s step back and have a look at the plot. It all starts with the new surgeon moving in a luxury flat in the skyscraper. It won’t be long till he realizes the social distribution taking place throughout the building: the poorer classes live downstairs while wealthy people stay upstairs. The architect even invites him to visit his extra luxury attic but Laing looks indifferent and he only seems to be interested in seducing women.
During a blackout things become chaotic and everyone starts to understand that the more they go upstairs, the better they feel. This “physical” rise corresponds to a “moral” transformation: the majority of them become greed and fight with one another. One of the main female characters explains to her husband her sense of suffocation and tells him that she would like to enjoy the same light that those in the upper floors have at their disposal. Documentary filmmaker Richard Wilder heads the uprising with the aim of killing the architect.
In the last scenes we hear a speech saying that capitalism will never allow political liberty.
However, the film mood is oppressed by a script, which sometimes aims to be overfilled with facts and dynamics. The characters take themselves too much seriously and there is a lack of whatever possible temporary break out and lightness, which could reduce its general claustrophobia. Almost all of the film is made of internal shooting.
There are a lot of narrative premises in the movie but their developments lead too much towards a dead end track.
For sure, High Rise is worth seeing again, in order to ponder its content.

Phantom Boy by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol

Article by: Elisa Cocco

Translation by: Chiara Toscan

“My name is Leo, I’m 11 and I have a secret… I’m a hero.”
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Phantom Boy is an animated film that tells the story of a child suffering from leukemia, who discovers that he can float free of his body and fly like a phantom. As none can see him, Leo flies through the hospital walls, and wanders freely around the city of New York.


During his treatments, Leo meets Alex, a police officer injured during a chase, who is now confined to a wheelchair. Leo, who dreams about becoming a police officer, offers his help to Alex and try to find the man with the broken face who is spreading a computer virus, in order to take control of the city. The reporter Mary, Alex’s friend, thinks she’s alone in the manhunt, as she doesn’t know that Leo is on her side, protecting her just like a guardian angel.
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This is the second animated film after A Cat in Paris (2010) by Jean-Loup Felicioni and Alain Gagnol. The film tackles subjects such as illnesses, childhood and bravery. A serious disease affects an eleven-year-old child upsetting his boyhood, the most beautiful period in life. However, his courage is the element that stands out in the film: Leo decides to help Alex and Mary with their investigation, at the extent he sacrifices himself for their sake. He proves to be brave facing his illness and, at the end of the film, when he decides to stay with Mary even if it might preclude him the chance to rejoin with his material body.
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The Lady in the Van by Nicholas Hytner

Article by: Elisa Cocco

Translation by: Chiara Toscan

Mary Shepherd (wonderfully interpreted by Maggie Smith) is a lively elderly woman who lives in her dear old smelly van. She wonders around the streets of London, seeking for a safe place to live, until she get to Camden Town, an inner district in the north of the city. Here, people prove to be kind to her, especially when she settles with her van, despite the smell it brings in front of their homes.
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The comedy writer Alan Bennet (interpreted by Alex Jennings) has just bought a house in the neighborhood and immediately notices the presence of the battered van, parked in the lane, and the eccentric woman who inhabits it.

When on-street parking becomes forbidden, Miss Shepherd finds herself without a place to park her van, and the writer, a restrained but kind man, invites her to settle temporarily in his driveway. However, the provisional arrangement becomes permanent: “I was supposed to stay here for three months, but I ended up staying fifteen years!” says Mary at the end of the film while laughing out loud; years in which their beautiful friendship develops, even including arguments and misunderstandings, just like an old married couple.

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In Nicholas Hytner’s film there are two versions of Alan Bennett: one who lives his life, and the other who writes about it. The story is mostly true and is about an author who struggles with a creative block while trying to find himself. But the film is also the story of a friendship which turns an unknown vagabond into “one of the family”.

Presented at the festival’s section “Festa Mobile”, The Lady in the Van is adapted from Alan Bennett’s play and his autobiographical book. The writer, who is also the screenwriter of the film, played a walk-on part in the final scene.

The Lady in the Van is a pleasant film that leaves place for reflections while teaching to look beyond appearances, because behind the clothes (or the smell) there is always a hidden story.

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Akira by Katsuhiro Ôtomo

Article by: Matteo Merlano

Translation by: Kim Turconi

Neo Tokyo, 2019. After the third World War, Japan is in crisis. Economy in ruin in addition to corrupted and ineffective politics cannot find a way to start up again a Nation where crime and violence rule the roost. The only thing which seems to be of a certain relevance to the government is the Akira Project, sort of super secret project intended to control an enormous power, which has caused sects of obsessed people to flourish all around the city, preaching the arrival of a divinity called Akira. In this chaos, gangs of bikers speed across the city on modified beasts. Among them there are Kaneda and Tetsuo. An unexpected accident during one of the many raids, will change their lives and those of the entire nation forever.

Undisputed masterpiece of Japanese animation, the movie of Katsuito Otomo is not just a cinematographic opera, but a whole experience, leaving the audience breathless. Produced in 1988 (in Italy came out only in 1992) it was the most expensive anime in History (with a budget of one billion yens) and brought to the creation of a specific production house to realize it, the Akira Committee, with Otomo himself as the chairman, who employed for years more than one thousand animators. All the fears and the contradictions of that decade are contained in this dystopia which draws fully from western cult movies. An elaborate, chaotic and colossal Neo Tokyo is the spitting image of the rainy Los Angeles from Blade Runner (the time of setting is, for this reason, not randomly chosen) ruled by lawless riders (Mad Max) who go all around the city on futuristic bikes (Kaneda’s motorcycle design is identical to the lightcycles from Tron). The aesthetic magnificence is something which leaves everyone amazed and the masterly sound work, overseen by composer Shoji Yamashiro, was an epochal evolution in the animation field.

The concept of Evolution itself is the base of Akira. What is this mysterious energy, so devastating that it needs to be hidden in the bowels of the earth? Who controls it? Where it comes from? Who owns it and how can it be used? The spiritual aspect of the film lies in this ambivalence of the concept of Evolution – especially technological evolution – which often leads to a regression when technology goes too far.
Is it creative or destructive? Otomo is certainly a son of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That “sun” – which kills tens of thousands people in a few seconds – has affected his worldview. Evolution is a powerful force, but it can cause pain if mishandled. Akira embodies this philosophy and make it to burst with an explosion of visual effects and visionary experiences that leave an impression on one’s mind. The future portrayed by Otomo is crazy, chaotic and illuminated only by neon signs and skyscrapers lights. It is a future in which people run at full speed without any purpose, or they run for the wrong reasons.

The title of this review is taken from the famous Blade Runner monologue of Roy Batty/Rutger Hauer. Our choice has not been accidental, because the Future is already here – and perhaps already experienced. Otomo, just like Scott, “has seen things”. And we have seen them with him.

In fabbrica (At the Factory) by Francesca Comencini

Article by: Lara Vallino

Translation by: Roberto Gelli

Contemporary images of FIAT plants during the night covered by the machinery’s noise. Break. Second worldwide postwar period: Sicilian children are interviewed about the matter “Where are you dads?” “They are in Germany”.
This is the beginning of Francesca Comencini’s documentary entitled In fabbrica: Cipputi Award winner in 2007 as the best film about work. This year Comencini has received the lifetime achievement award in TFF.
During the Fifties Italy relies on industry, in order to improve working life, which can guarantee a better lifestyle. In a short dialogue between a journalist and a worker we hear “Is it easy to find a job?”, “Yes, there is a lot”, which causes some astonishment among the modern spectators, who got used to the term precariousness. But those years represent the highest point for the local economy, the so-called economic boom: from all the areas of the peninsula people move towards the big northern industries, so as to find a job. “Would you come back home to Naples?”, “No, not even if they covered me with gold”, this is the reply given by a girl defending her new status of worker. The interviewed show themselves to be always satisfied, in a time when job is a source of money and sustenance. What is more, it is something, which people can be proud of. On the other hand, this period also witnesses a strange combination between guaranteed jobs and black market labour, sometimes related to child labour.
Those years give progressively birth to a class consciousness, which results in the first FIAT workers uprising in 1962. If it is true that they get better work conditions, more problems seem to arise like that concerning the housing of people coming from the south. As a female worker stated in 1968: “those who always work by using their arms, lose mental agility, memory and thinking ability”. This situation leads towards new strikes aimed at removing production lines: workers now want to take part at the production activity, not only by tightening bolts, but by putting something of their own into the final products.
With the 80’s the concepts of profit and progress come onto the scene and automation systems are adopted in the firms. Workers form picket lines surrounding FIAT plants 35 days long, the firm replies imposing unemployment insurance. On 14th August, 1980 workers not involved in the measure, together with common citizens, demonstrate in the streets of Turin. It is the so-called “March of the forty thousand”; an invisible crowd of people opposing workers strike and demonstration. The unprecedented event is a sign of a rising individualism and negation of class consciousness. From that time on, there were in fact no strikes anymore.
Nowadays factories are still there but their workers have become a sort of invisible entity: none of them thinks about protesting or striking. There is an emptiness in terms of unity, that same unity which would let the situation change. Above all, none seems to believe in change anymore. A sense of resignation and indifference has spread among workers causing the maintaining of the status quo, which was conquered through efforts during those years, when consciousness of factory workers in Italy was born.

Sayat Nova (The Color of Pomegranates) by Sergei Parajanov

Article by: Elisa Carbone

Translation by: Cristiana Caffiero

Sayat Nova was an Armenian poet who lived during the XVIII century. He was a troubadour who used to chant his poems in three different languages. He was also a monk who spent his life through sufferings and bad times- as we came to know during the whole film.
He was deeply in love with princess Anne belonging to the court of Georgia.
Sayat Nova is a complicated and almost mythical character.
The Russian director Sergej Parajanov told us about his life in this feature movie that had a difficult life as its major character himself. In fact this movie has been censored by the Russian government that compelled his author to change its title from Sayat Nova- which was the name of the poet- into The colour of pomegranate- which is one of the many living picture of the movie. Julian temple has chosen to show it at the TFF 33 in his own personal selection A matter of life and death. We can reasonably understand why he has chosen this film. The poet’s life is narrated by using a dreamlike, surreal, pictorial and symbolic style. We can immediately perceive the high sense of death, which is not meant as just physical death- the common destiny of everyman- but as a psychological death due to those continuous hints to suffering.

During the movie, which lasts about one hour and 30 minutes, human beings who are acting as mime don’t even utter a world. Anyway there are some extra diegetic voices that are represented by the writings in old Armenian language. They look like the captions we used to find in silent cinema. We can also hear some noises that are amplified to the extreme- such as the collective bite of pomegranates or the water heavily falling down the legs of the monks.
Each frame has such a vivid and allegorical colour that it looks like a living painting in the end. There are some recurrent colours: red, white and blue. They show their deepest tones that are those of the typical Armenian decorations when Sayat Nova was living there. The 4:3 is helpful to this pictorial research made by the director: each frame has some typical elements that are complementary such as it was a painting. Nonetheless this is actually a painting but we have to consider the fact that all the images are connected to the others since we have to remind that it’s a movie in the end. There are some elements such as some animals and some objects that without doubt remind to a semiotics study and would require at least a second vision of the film: roosters, pomegranates, a shell and a white lace that turns into red.

A first vision of this movie causes a double feeling to its audience: it is caught by the splendour of these images but at the same time it feels conscious that they won’t be able to re-elaborate what they have just watched in a rational thought.
Then it’s highly recommended to watch this movie another time, maybe three times, maybe undefined number of time if you want to grab its deep and mysterious meanings. In fact after watching Sayat Nova we have perceived such a splendour that we just have the feeling it would necessary and pleasant at the same time to watch it another time.

Lo scambio (Nameless Authority) by Salvo Cuccia

Article by: Lorenzo Trombi

Translation by: Martina Taricco

Torino, November 23, 2015 – Lo Scambio, directed by Salvo Cuccia, is one of the four Italian movies which run in the main section of the 33rd Torino Film Festival.

The story is inspired by real events. The director wrote it after several meetings with Magistrate Alfonso Sabella, where the two had the chance to touch the subject of a mafia homicide in which three young boys were killed: two of them were, without any doubt, not tied to organized crime.

The first estranging element is that characters in this story do not have a name: this choice contributes to amplify the ambiguity of the plot. The whole sequence of events starts in media res with a series of crossfades of people walking in a normal city market. The music is deafening. Here, all of a sudden, two strangers appear on the scene and kill two young boys.

In the next scene the action moves on to a police station, where something does not completely persuade the audience. Although the badge of people who work in such place is shown many times, there are some elements, scattered all along the movie, which give to the public the feeling of not really being in a law seat. In a narrative climax, played on the edge of uncertainty and of the untold, is instilled the doubt that who serves the law might, actually, be a ruthless mafia boss. The proof of this comes shortly after, in a scene where a presumed chief of police, one of the protagonists, is shown, years before, while being questioned himself.

On a scenographical level, there is an interesting contrast between very austere house interiors and the exteriors of an extremely degraded Palermo. The interiors where a hypothetical Janus Bifrons moves, that is to say the chief of police who actually is a mafia boss, are rational and tied. It is however behind this formalism and this aseptic cure that a strong anguish feeling is hidden. The pitch is reached when the boss’ wife hangs herself as she can not live secluded in her own house, hunted by her demons.
Every character has its double; their psychologies are all shifty and cryptic: anyone could be anyone else. This choice made by the director is intended to focus the audience attention on the core of the events rather than on the personalities of the characters or on relational dynamics.
Everything in the movie is made essential; the story is apparently narrated in an impersonal way. The credo that is in force in this film is not siding with anyone.
These atmospheres enhance the feeling of indefiniteness and uncertainty in which a significant thematic crux is unraveled: what if the mafia has got the wrong person?

The chief of police questions a helpless surveyor who had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The man is eventually killed, an eye-opening event which shows us how the mafia can sometimes get off track when deciding who has to be killed. By this stage of the film, as confirmed by the title, it seems very likely that there was a mistake and the man was mixed up with somebody else.
The several changes of the focus really strike the eye and add to the feeling of anxiety and oppression experienced by the characters in the film.
The decision to film a gunfight without actually showing it but presenting it to the audience in a fixed camera shot and through the gunshot sound is spot on.
Similarly, in a beating scene we don’t see people fighting but it is possible to understand what is happening thanks to the noise we hear and the shadows on the walls.
Cuccia’s notable work is structured as a moral story where all events are connected in a cause-effect relationship. He depicts a dry and cold story where everything is based on retaliation.

 

Burnt by John Wells

Article by: Elisa Cocco

Translation by: Rita Pasci

After reaching success and having been awarded with two Michelin stars, the famous chef of a Paris restaurant, Adam Jones (played by Bradley Cooper), destroys his career with his addiction to drugs and women.
After a period of redemption, spent opening a million oysters, he decides to go back to London, determined to open the best restaurant in the world and to gain the much desired third Michelin star. In order to achieve this, however, he needs a group of experts and so he assembles the best team possible: financer Tony (Daniel Bruhl), his friend Max (Riccardo Scamarcio), his old French workmate Michel (Omar SY) and most of all, his colleague Helene (Sienna Miller), one of the best chefs on the British market.
Adam’s desire of redemption, the cooperation of his team and Helene’s love will bring him to conquer the sought-after third Michelin star.
Bradley Cooper is supported by a great cast: in addition to the above-mentioned actors, Uma Thurman plays the role of Simone Forth, the most important food reviewer in London; Emma Thompson is Dr. Hilda Rosshilde, a well-known psychiatrist; while Matthew Rhys plays the role of Montgomery Reece, a top celebrity chef well-known all around Europe, who has already owned three Michelin stars.
Burnt, directed by John Wells, tells a story about love for food and cooking, but it also focuses on the importance of second chances.
A witty, funny film. But, above all, a film that can make one’s mouth water.

  • “He is a two star Michelin chef, to get even one Michelin star you have to be like Luke Skywalker, and if you manage to get three… you are Yoda”.
  • “What if he is Darth Vader?”

 

The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman

Article by: Valentina Di Noi

Translation by: Cristiana Caffiero

“And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour and I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God and there were given to them seven trumpets.” This is the opening of The Seventh Seal, an enchanting black and white movie directed by Ingmar Bergman in 1957.

The Knight Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow) and his squire Jons (Gunnar Björnstrand) go ashore to a beach. They are both exhausted from such a long trip: they came back from the Crusade in the Holy Land. Anyway they’re safe and they managed to come back to Scandinavia, their homeland. However just there in that beach there’s the Death (Bengt Ekrot) who’s waiting for Block in order to take him away with her. Block challenges the Death to play chess with him in order to stall. In fact he wants to find some answers to some doubts about his faith, that is not so strong as it was before taking part in so many battles in Holy Land.

The game starts: Block has the white army while the Death has the black one. Anyway while they’re playing Block’s trip goes on. In a middle aged Scandinavia tortured by the plague the Knight and his squire keep on travelling and they meet a family of actors (Bibi Andersson and Nils Poppe) with their child and other characters. The Seventh Seal is one of the most important movie in the history of cinema since it’s not just a movie but it’s also something about the major doubts the whole humanity has: does God exist? Is there anything after death? Here some selected majestic dialogues from the movie:

“You haven’t replied to my question. Do you know who watches over her? The angels? God? Satan? or Nothing?I tell you the truth Nothing-

(Jon, the squire, has a materialistic view of life.)

“Are you going to tell us about your secrets?
I have no secrets to tell you.
Then you don’t know anything.
I don’t need to know anything”

(the Death confesses she doesn’t have a purpose of her own. She just operates.)
“I want to know, no faith, no simple hypothesis, I want something for sure, I want God to give me his hand, to disclose his secret face to me and talk to me”

(Antonius Block’s thoughts while he’s looking to concrete answers to his existential doubts.)
The character of The Death is very interesting: she’s always resolute, always ready to disorientate the audience with her absence of soul in her words.
The character of the squire, who’s always ready to give you his materialistic view of life. If you say something wrong or absurd he’s ready to chill you. There are some pleasant times with the family of actors. They help the audience to feel part of the tragedy. Anyway they actually represent hope: they’re some kind of holy family and they’re meant to help the film audience to overcome the horror who has played the Death herself.
The seventh film is one of that film everybody should see at least once in a lifetime!

 

Strange Days by Kathryn Bigelow

Article by: Matteo Merlano                                                                                       Translation by: Lorenzo Matarazzo

  • Los Angeles, December 31 1999, at the dawn of the new millennium tensions and chaos rule a militarized city, slave to a new drug which is powerful and unstoppable: Deck, i.e. other persons’ experiences recorded on mini-disc and directly wired to the brain of the user. Lenny Nero (Ralph Fiennes) is the biggest “experiences’” dealer around, but when he receives a clip containing a Deck fix showing the truth about the homicide of rapper Jeriko One, leader of the rising afroamerican rebellion, his life takes a dangerous turn.

    Set only four years after the moment of shooting, Strange Days predicted the future in a rather disturbing way. Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman director who cleared the Action genre through the customs of male-only directions (masterpieces such as Point Break and Near Dark are works of hers) and gives us the image of a Los Angeles which is nocturnal, violent and full of tensions and contradictions (a big part of the credit goes to the script from James Cameron, Bigelow’s ex-husband) where the characters wander like ghosts searching for Life, not theirs, but other people’s, the one which is “transferred” in the brain like a file from a Usb drive. No one is safe in this world and to escape sadness everyone is willing to do anything. A movie filled with a 90s’ atmosphere, from the aesthetic choices (fast montage and a photography reminiscent of the one used in videoclips) to the Hip Hop, Techno and Post-Punk countercultures, up to the human side, where in a society which lacks direction the only salvation is true love, when it is absolute and romantic. Great soundtrack: Tricky, Deep Forest, Peter Gabriel and Skunk Anansie, to name a few.
    Perfect cast with Fiennes, at ease and troubled at the same time in this scenario, a Juliette Lewis who is more beautiful and reckless than ever and Angela Basset, who carries on the role of tough women so dear to Cameron (Sigourney Weaver in Aliens and Linda Hamilton in Terminator), as well as a disturbing Vincent D’Onofrio, playing a corrupted and psychopathic policeman.

    It is unbelievable how much of the vision from Bigelow and Cameron came true. At the time of production racial tensions had reached their peak because of the police killing of Rodney King in 1992. Today they have emerged again for the same reason in many places around the United States. A militarized L.A. sadly reminds of the big European cities of these weeks. After the 13 November tragedy in Paris and after other similar events, Strange Days appears extremely contemporary. A must see which helps to understand the dark, crazy and “strange” days that we are living in now, year of the Lord 2015.

 

Borsalino City by Enrica Viola

Article by: Barbara Vacchetti

Translation by: Martina Taricco

Borsalino City, part of the always rich Festa Mobile section, is a documentary directed by Enrica Viola and produced by UNA Film. The movie retraces the history of the Borsalino company, which was founded in 1857 by Giuseppe Borsalino in Alessandria, a town located in the piedmontese countryside. The brand became internationally well-know thanks to the Grand Prix held in Paris in 1900. A few months later Giuseppe, who had learned the hat craftmanship around the world, died and the company was passed on to his son, Teresio Borsalino. After a family feud Teresio’s cousin, Giovanni Battista Borsalino, founded a new company called Borsalino Fu Lazzaro. As a consequence of the split, rumours followed that the true inventor of the Borsalino hat had not been Giuseppe while instead his brother Lazzaro (Giovanni Battista’s father). It was Teresio Usuelli, Teresio Borsalino’s nephew, who inherited the family company whose centenary was celebrated in 1957. In the movie, the family descendants tell and recall the feud, the business achievements and their history.
Nonetheless, the documentary focused the attention not only on the Alessandria firm as instead much more on the social rule played by hats from 19th Century until the first half of the 20th Century. In fact, for a hundred years, hats showed the social class people belongs to. Nobody would have gone out without a hat and this is proved by many photographs and video of that time. However, during the 60s wearing hats was not fashionable anymore so that many hat factories were forced to shut down or sell the company.
In particular, the Borsalino was considered as a source of wealth for the city of Alessandria because it employed many of its inhabitants. Thanks to many audio testimonies granted by some of the employee, we know that the company bell marked not only the working life but also the activities of the city. When Alessandria was bombed during the Second World War, the population did their utmost to save all the hats left in the factory and to help with its reconstruction.

 

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But the most interesting and unique aspect of the documentary is, with no doubt, the strong relationship between the Borsalino hat and Hollywood. By hearing Robert Redford rich voice telling us about his visit at the factory and his desperate quest after the hat worn by Marcello Mastroianni in Federico Fellini’s 8 ½, the audience goes back over to the Hollywood golden age and finds out the importance that hats had during that period. What would happen to Casablanca if in the scene when Humphrey Bogart leaves Ingrid Bergman, both of them were wearing any hats?

FILE – NOVEMBER 23, 2012: The American romantic movie drama Casablanca celebrated its world premiere on November 26, 1942. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman the film was a solid success in its initial run, winning three Academy Awards, and its characters, dialogue, and music have become iconic. It now consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time. Please refer to the following profile on Getty Images Archival for further imagery: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=113854183&EditorialProduct=Archival&esource=maplinARC_uki_12nov Humphrey Bogart (1899 - 1957) and Ingrid Bergman (1915 - 1982) star in the Warner Brothers film 'Casablanca', 1942. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

And what would happen to the image of the gangster wearing a hat that was so fashionable both during the prohibitionism and in films noir? The hat was used to connote the character. It was not only a medium with which cover one’s face when the police arrived, the hat gave a mysterious look to the character and, consequently, made the actor look like a star. After all, the huge recourse to hats to depict the gangsters was due to Al Capone habit of always wear a hat himself. The Borsalino company was able to took advantage from the popular imagination to promote its product and identify itself all around the world, that turned out to be a winning move. It is enough to mention the movie played by Jean-Paul Belmondo e Alain Delon which is named after the best-known hat in the world: Borsalino.

La felicità è un sistema complesso by Gianni Zanasi

 

 

 

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Article by: Lara Vallino

Translation by: Martina Taricco

Enrico Giusti’s job is a very useful one: he gets acquainted with incompetent business executives, he listens to them, then becomes their friend, and eventually manages to take over the company they are not able to run. His ability is to make these people believe that it was their own decision. He is the best and the only one in his field, but guilt does not leave him alone: are all managers like locusts?

Continua la lettura di La felicità è un sistema complesso by Gianni Zanasi

Mountain by Yaelle Kayam

Article by: Alessandro Arpa

Translation: Kim Turconi

According to biblical tradition, The Mount of Olives represents the place where God will bring the dead back to life on Judgment Day. Cliffs and rocks outline a landscape full of paths both winding and labyrinthine, each of them studded with an unknown number of tombstones. A house built into a rock wall separates the world of the dead from the living. Tzvia (played by Shani Klein) lives in this spiritual and transcendental place. She is the protagonist of Mountain, the new film by Yaelle Kayam, which was presented for the first time this year in the “Orizzonti” section of the 72nd annual Venice International Film Festival. This feature film tells the story of a Jewish woman waiting for any signs of love coming from her husband. The routine of Tzvia is always the same: she does housekeeping and walks in poetic landscapes among millions of burial recesses. While Tzvia waits for the love and attention of Reuven, her husband, she begins to wander in the area around her house at night. Thus, she discovers that some erotomaniacs meet to consummate decadent copulations with each other, when the sun goes down. At the beginning, she hides herself among the tombstones and watches, with a voyeuristic attitude, the merging of the bodies during sexual intercourse. The Jewish woman discovers the meaning of sexual liberty and makes a comparison between that attitude and her unsatisfying life with her husband. Tzvia is still hidden and she does not know how to escape the situation. When the erotomaniacs become aware of the presence of the woman, Tzivia reduces herself to a servile condition. She feels a sense of guilt, so she decides to offer a meal to the group of exibitionists every night from now on. The film exudes the philosophy of Bataille and sacredness becomes seminal. Mountain presents images full of symbolism. For example, the scene in which Tzvia touches a used condom clearly indicates that she is a sexually repressed woman, while the image of the dead mouse lying on the floor reveals in advance the tragic ending of the film. To summarize, this work by Kayam is nebulous and fails to emerge. Still, there are some interesting – but half-developed – ideas. They float in the air just like Tzvia’s sexual desires do. Who knows if love will crush sense of duty once again.