Article by Pietro Torchia
Translation by Lara Martelozzo
Marinaleda by Louis Séguin, and Michel Vay by Nicolas Deschuyteneer and Patricia Gélise – two medium-length films presented at the Turin Film Festival in the Crazies section – address the road movie genre in opposite ways. In the former, the journey is a collective experience and becomes a pretext for enjoying the pleasure of sharing; in the latter, the journey is depicted as a metaphorical, intimate and private experience of the passage from an earthly dimension to a transcendent one. Marinaleda is a “political” road movie in which two vampires hitchhike from France to Spain to reach the town of Marinaleda, where a communist administration is in force. Amid new acquaintances, erotic moments and social discourses, it is the in-camera glances of the characters that capture the audience, inviting them to immerse in the vampire marxist-like philosophy of life according to which blood feasting becomes an altruistic gesture of body sharing – they are vampires of human and gentle nature with whom it is easy to empathize, in an atmosphere that reminds us of Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Survive (2013), which also shares a fascination for slow narrative and a posed humour with Louis Séguin’s film.
Michel Vay tells of the introspective and transcendental escape journey of an outlaw who has just committed a robbery. A path to Michel’s death that moves between the concreteness of landscapes and the abstractness of the protagonist’s psychological torments, represented in the journey inside his mind through dance steps and music sounds. Attempting to narrate the passage between life and death, between the material and the immaterial in sixty minutes only, the film is at times overly ambitious, in a stylistic search for the perfect image that sometimes forgets the importance of audience involvement. A complacent nonlinear narrative that results in a didactic and predictable ending, with the concluding shot echoing the opening one, recalling a cyclical conception of life. A daring experimentation that is not perfectly successful and that not even the pleasant musical moments and Dantean quotations succeed to make truly exciting.