The 22nd edition of the Glocal Film Festival, organised by the Associazione Piemonte Movie, will take place from the 10th to the 14th March 2023. The aim of this event is the promotion and diffusion of cinema made in Piedmont, but not only: the festival wants to promote local and global exchanges and contaminations, make room to Piedmontese artists with a global vision.
“Nothing can go back / to when the sea was calm” plays Conchiglie, the second song by Andrea Laszlo de Simone to take centre stage in a film at the 40 th Turin Film Festival, after Immensità heard in Bertrand Bonello’s Coma. The life of the young high school student Lucas is shaken by the sudden death of his father (played by Honoré himself), which unleashes a shockwave capable of straining the family’s resilience and bringing to the surface long-suppressed grey areas.
“So Abraham got up early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and then he got up and went to the place of which God had told him.” Genesis 22:3
The biblical account shows that Abraham, moved by great faith, had no hesitation. Leonid, however, is a pagan, Leonid does not believe. And in order to offer the best future to his progeny, he is willing to transgress ethical norms and human laws, consequently going so far as to defy God.
The Fire Within is a film that focuses less on Herzog’s interest in volcanoes – already demonstrated in La Soufrière (1977) and Into the Inferno (2016) – than on the work of Katia and Maurice Krafft. A requiem, as the subtitle suggests, that revolves around the death of the two famous volcanologists while they were closely studying those giants towards which they felt a real obsession.
A class in its last year of high school, a wild party in a remote cottage in the woods of Lithuania, a masked serial killer. These few elements are enough for any horror connoisseur to guess where Jonas Trukanas will take us with the narrative of Pensive, his first work competing in the “Crazies” section of the 40th edition of the Torino Film Festival.
Michi (Chieko Baishô) evokes memories of her past over the phone: she goes through her life with great melancholy, and she appears grateful to have someone to listen to her. Nothing but her own voice can be heard in her kitchen. On the end of the phone, we find Yoko (Yumi Kawai). She is much younger than her and she remains silent. Even though she would be interested in the old woman’s story, her head is elsewhere. A sudden alarm interrupts Michi’s flow of words: her time is up. Yoko is holding back tears. Eventually Yoko explains to her what will happen the next day and she keeps begging her not to do “it”. Michi hushes “Sayonara.”
Carlos hangs up the phone and leans against the wall. His eyes are glazed over and he would like to vent but he doesn’t because, as he says, “men don’t cry.” This is the conflict that Un Varón, Fabian Hernández’s new film, sets out to investigate: that of a young man who tries to conform to the ideal of masculinity that prevails on the streets of Bogotá while in private he just wants to be himself. Christmas is approaching and his only wish is to spend it with his increasingly elusive sister and his mother, who is in jail. Leaving the youth center that took him in, he finds himself coming to terms with street life and the law of the alpha male.
It is the 27th of February 2012 when, during the eviction in Chiomonte, Luca Abbà climbs on a high-voltage pylon: the aim is to slow down the operations of expropriation carried out to widen the construction site of the tunnel, of that “great strategic work”, still pending to this day. The contact with the high-voltage cables causes him to fall ten metres. Although unconscious, his body keeps being traversed by electric shocks. He has a punctured lung. He goes into a deep coma.
Reviewing Chiusura by Alessandro Rossetti twenty-one years after its release makes the analysis of the film even more arduous. Seeing a world that doesn’t exist anymore and sensing the awareness that the world itself had that it had reached a terminal stage – the end of a millennium and all the fears attached to it – generates in the viewer a mixture of anxiety and tenderness. There is love for a fading past but, concurrently, there is the awareness that not much has changed. Even years later, the province remains a swampy, stagnant place that is difficult to escape from but, through the cinematic image, it simultaneously gains a romantic and fascinating appeal. It is precisely the ability to show this double soul of the province and this gap between fading tradition and advancing modernity that makes Alessandro Rossetto’s cinema great. Chiusura, as said by the director himself, is a film that, years later, has become a reflection of the passing of time.
The documentary, which has been restored by Istituto Luce under Rossetto’s supervision, follows the closure of Mrs. Flavia’s hair salon after 44 years of activity. The director, an anthropology graduate, carefully examines the small gestures of this world, the words of the inhabitants who inhabit it, and the conflicts which animate it. Alongside this world, there are others: the circus which comes to town and the local women’s soccer team. The observation of these worlds focuses in the same way on the imperceptible rituals and conflicts, and on the personal emotions of the people who inhabit them.
However, hovering over this microcosm is the winter fog, a constant element of the film, which amplifies the feeling of stillness and even of finality, namely the closure of a period that has come to its end. Nevertheless, what stands out is the beauty of these elements and real cinema’s ability to give charm to the things of ordinary life. The feeling of paralysis transcends and becomes beauty: personal gestures, words and speeches become captivating and fascinating in the eyes of the viewer.
Elapsed time thus amplifies the experience of viewing Chiusura, to which the reflections on time and the end of an era are added in retrospect to a period that has now passed, but whose emotions and feelings remain incredibly vivid.
Nagisa, a debut feature film by Japanese director Kogahara Takeshi, can be interpreted as a complex and layered attempt to reframe a bond, to redefine that thin filament that connects the body of those who survive and the increasingly evanescent memory of those who are no longer with us. The world that is portrayed is thus the result of a blurred mental condition, a set of indistinct reenactments created by the mind of a boy detached from reality.
The protagonist is Fuminao, a Tokyo boy tormented by guilt over the death of his younger sister Nagisa, who died three years earlier in a bus accident on her way to visit her brother. One night, the boy accompanies his friend Yuki to visit a tunnel that, according to some popular beliefs, appears to be haunted by ghosts. In this mysterious and gloomy place, he will again face his past, his origins, until he relives in his mind the intense relationship with his missing sister. The film is basically a reprise of a homonymous short film by Kogahara himself in 2017, in which the two main characters, again Fuminao and Nagisa, are two young people in love. The adolescent “love story” of the former is thus contrasted, in this second work, with the memory of a deceased person and the reminder of the faint sigh of death, in a mad dance involving Eros and Thanatos until they become part of the same being.
The protagonist’s apathy, as well as the alienation that affects his existence, arise from the strong trauma triggered by the loss of a loved one. For this reason, the young man’s life is constantly punctuated by mechanical movements and continuous silences, depicted through the use of repeated and interminable fixed shots. The story is fragmented, not at all linear, as if every shred of memory spontaneously resurfaces when Fuminao savors certain physical or emotional sensations. This makes the film a real labyrinth with no way out, a puzzle in which, at times, it is difficult to understand the meaning of certain events.
At the end of this enigmatic existential journey, there are many questions that arise, raising more doubts than answers in the protagonist’s mind. “Do ghosts really exist?” the boy hesitantly asks a policeman he meets by chance outside the tunnel. The man’s answer will come only after a long and ostentatious silence: “The ghost is you.” It is those who have remained anchored in the past, unable to continue a normal life, like a woman wandering the streets in search of her missing son, who represent the real ghosts of society.
TFF40’s Back to life section dedicated to film restoration proposed a diptych of particular interest on Italian polar, restoring two of its rare gems to their original splendour. Made at a distance of time and with different characteristics, the two films are united by the cold reception they received from critics and audiences at the time of their release and then rose to cult movie status.
Milano calibro 9 (1972) today represents not only the pinnacle of Fernando Di Leo’s career, but also the only Italian polar film of the period able to hold its own against the vaunted American and European crime films (between 1970 and 1972, masterpieces such as Friedkin’s The French Connection, Melville’s Le Cercle Rouge and Hodges’ Carter were released). And we would be talking about perfection if it were not for the Manichaeism of some scenes between the commissioner (Wolff) and his deputy (Pistilli) imbued with cheap socio-political rhetoric.
The restoration presented by the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale has the great merit of restoring the overlays of the hours and days wanted by the director for the cyclical development of the plot (the title that was originally chosen was “Da lunedì a lunedì“) and of restoring the right visual and sound polish to the events of Rocco (Adorf), Nelly (Bouchet) and, above all, Ugo Piazza (a granitic Moschin), the victim, or diabolical architect, of a violent redde rationem in the organised underworld of Milan (this will become clear in the finale with a splendid triple act). The digital copy enhances the masterful direction aimed at dictating the tight rhythm (Di Leo himself, without modesty, stated “no one in Europe, apart from Melville, had the grit of an American cut that I had”) and the faithfulness of the screenplay to Scerbanenco’s anthology of hard-boiled tales from which it is based.
The picture of the acknowledged progenitor of the Italian-style detective film is completed by the neo-realist setting in which a gallery of extraordinary pulp characters act (Tarantino, by his own admission, will draw on this with full force), the pressing music by Bacalov and Osanna, and the creeping underlying determinism.
Nevertheless, one has to shift to Turin thirty years later for the other submerged and ‘cursed’ neo-noir.
Tre punto sei (2003), the debut and only feature film by the late Nicola Rondolino (son of the well-known film critic and historian Gianni), due to a series of production and distribution issues, it required a delicate recovery operation by Cinecittà, the National Cinema Museum of Turin and Augustus Color, who aimed at overcoming the obstacle of the absence of an original negative.
A versatile and much-loved figure in his hometown, who died prematurely in 2013, Rondolino immediately demonstrated an uncommon talent in his debut picture (but only few noticed it), bending genre clichés into a narrative that is not ordinary thanks to a contemporary style composed of dizzying ellipses, telluric action scenes and meaningful dramaturgical moments of clashes between the different characters. The vivid coherence of the multi-ethnic criminal imagery set in the Turin neighbourhood of San Salvario strikes a chord, avoiding the traps of the most retrograde racial prejudices, while the intense Binasco stands out in the role of the corrupt policeman madly in love with the woman contended by his best friend (a darker-than-ever Giallini), a disillusioned gangster in the service of a sui generis drug clan (an interesting experiment in quotations from The Sopranos).
The rediscovery of Tre punto sei is therefore a necessary step in the 40th anniversary of the festival that saw Rondolino as selector for a long time, regretting what he could have given to our cinema.
“I think one of the great subjects of the film is Julia’s body […] I was obsessed with the idea that it was her female body that created the narrative” Lola Quivoron
To deny the name we are given at birth is to open the door to an endless series of new possibilities and expectations. This continuous denial and reshaping of identity is what Julia, the protagonist of Rodeo by Lola Quivoron, presented in competition at the 40th edition of the Torino Film Festival, pursues.
Julia, who grew up in a deprived environment on the outskirts of Paris, finds her chance to escape from herself through her passion for motorbikes and for rodeos, a term that identifies dangerous clandestine events in the world of motorcycling where riders perform stunt-like evolutions. It is precisely at one of these events that the incident from which the story starts occurs: during a rodeo in which Julia participates with one of the many motorbikes she steals during the film, Abra – the only one to have shown any sympathy for the girl – dies in an accident. From this point begins the difficult grieving process that develops in both Julia’s psychic and social dimensions: Abra, who constantly returns in Julia’s dreams after his death, leaves a vacancy in the group of bikers (all male) to which he belonged, the B-More.
Julia then steps into this void by climbing the hierarchies and beginning a classic journey of rise and fall of the protagonist. It is precisely the way Julia climbs the hierarchies of the group that is the most interesting element of Rodeo: in fact, the protagonist introduces herself by denying her previous identity and identifying herself as ‘The Stranger’. This absence of identity allows her to perform different roles and behaviours in the various situations in which she finds herself, assuming different guises and a chameleon-like, undefinable identity. She is thus transformed into an elusive figure, a character who is difficult to pigeonhole both in her behaviour and in her gender affiliation, a figure who continually unsettles the people around her. A key element in these transformations is precisely the protagonist’s body, which constantly modifies itself and changes its outward appearance depending on the situation and the people around it.
This work on the body makes the film a work of flesh, blood, dirt and motors and gives it a fascinating visual dimension that points to an almost physical involvement of the spectator, an almost fashionable dimension in which much space is given to the link between rap music and motors.
On the shore of their lake, Chloé (Sara Montpetit) asks Bastien (Joseph Engel) what his greatest fear is: the boy smiles with a shrug and replies that it is masturbating in front of mom and dad. In tears Chloé confesses then her own: “I think my greatest fear is to be lonely all my life.”
Charlotte Le Bon, in her directorial debut, plumbs the age of adolescence by telling the story of a summer interlude at the lake. To do so, she draws heavily from the graphic novel Una Sorella (Bao Publishing, 2018) by french author Bastien Vivès, in which we find a recollection of all the ambivalences of the early youthful desires. Falcon Lake focuses on the mutual attraction between the two main characters. Chloé is a 16-year-old girl who tries so hard to act like an adult even when she’d rather press pause on everything. It might be this nature of hers that drives her to seek out Bastien, who’s two years younger than her and is openly inexperienced and subjugated by the charm of her ostentatious and constructed confidence. The two kids are immortalized in their purest naiveté as they awkwardly discover each other’s bodies. In the background, the actual adults, the parents. In Una Sorella, Vivès never depicts their faces, because that story is not theirs. And Le Bon reproposes this choice in her own language, the language of film: the parents are relegated off-screen, the faces unseen, with only their voice as a testament of presence.
In the last act, Le Bon, also the author of the screenplay, detaches her work from the one her feature film is based on. The ending she chose for the male protagonist is symbolic of the core of adolescence itself, an age spent on the edge between life and death. “There are ghosts who do not know they are dead,” and it is these ghosts, with their desires, who make up our youth. The two kids live their experiences in an absolute and fatalistic way, without the emotional processing typical of those who have already gone through adolescence and emerged unscathed.
Falcon Lake does not stray very far from coming-of-age narrative clichés. Despite that, the director creates a space of rigorous representation in which the anxieties and discoveries of adolescence alternate, within which the viewer can find themselves and their own experience.
With the presentation to the press of the Casa Torino Film Festival, the run-up to TFF40 came to an end. It will begin (screenings, events, masterclasses) on November 25th with the opening ceremony at the Teatro Regio in Turin, for the first time also broadcast live on radio as part of Hollywood Party on Rai Radio3, dedicated to «a tale through music and images on the relationship between the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and cinema».
Last week, the opening press conference of the event took place at the Cinema Quattro Fontane in Rome, celebrating the important milestone of its fortieth edition, coinciding with the long-awaited emergence from the devastating pandemic nightmare.
The promoters unveiled an ambitious, varied and richly innovative program, both in terms of the films on offer and the spaces for interaction between artists and the public, laying the foundations for an edition full of expectations.
In terms of logistics, the first novelty is the Casa Torino Film Festival, which will be located in the Cavallerizza Reale, also the festival’s Media Centre, thanks to the collaboration with our University. The centre aims to become «the nerve centre of the festival where most of the meetings and events will take place», as the new artistic director Steve Della Casa presented it (in fact a veteran already at the helm of the TFF between 1999 and 2002, and one of its founders in 1982 under the impetus of Gianni Rondolino and Ansano Giannarelli). Moreover, as summarised by the president of the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, the TFF’s promoting body, Enzo Ghigo, the entire city will be involved through a «look of the city that will go beyond the usual festival spaces to dress up the squares and streets of Turin with real works of art, created by the brilliant graphic trait of Ugo Nespolo, who also signed the guiding image». A sort of urban mapping that has long been in vogue in large metropolises and is likely to appeal to visitors of all ages.
Many guests will arrive in Turin during the festival, well-known faces from show business, music, cinema and beyond. The legendary protagonist of A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell (who will receive the Star of the Mole, will be honoured with a retrospective and will hold a masterclass), Paola Cortellesi, Toni Servillo, Mario Martone, Paolo Sorrentino, but also Vittorio Sgarbi, the singer Noemi, the producer Marina Cicogna, Michele Placido, Sergio Castellitto, the former goal twins Vialli and Mancini, Simona Ventura and many others will be among the guests.
As far as the program is concerned, in addition to a competition of national and international previews divided into the feature, documentary and short film sections, a rich out-of-competition section stands out (for a total of 173 works, 81 of which are world premieres) ranging from the solo show of the young Spanish director Carlos Vermut to the Portraits and Landscapes category, from the more “committed” section (Of Conflicts and Ideas) to the New Worlds of Auteur, up to Crazies, an anthology of films on what is new in horror production worldwide, destined to send the multitude of fans of the genre into raptures.
Not forgetting Back to life (the restored films), High Noon (the misunderstood classic American westerns), the homage to documentary filmmaker/collector Mike Kaplan, and the unfailing Masterclasses, what stands out is the strongly heterogeneous character of a program aimed at highlighting first works as well as average genre cinema (plus the so-called B-series production but with cult-movie potential), trying to be «a festival that remembers the past but thinks of the future, a festival that is cultured but popular, research but fun. A festival that wants to be a party».
With a keen eye on contemporary issues such as environmental sustainability, gender violence, which will also be remembered by the event’s patroness Pilar Fogliati with the anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the many guests who will meet the public «telling their ideas and their point of view» and the varied schedule, the director emphasizes the festival’s desire to combine high and low culture, aiming to involve professionals from the sector, the event’s loyal audience and those who, intrigued by the novelties, will be able to approach the event.
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