Cristina Soldano – Artistic Director Festival del Cinema Europeo
The European Film Festival of Lecce is the best way to strengthen our artistic and aesthetic perception, in connection with an ethical dimension.
Like every year, the Festival o ers an extremely careful selection of both lms and events, which express the strong thought of a socially and politically still weak Europe, shaken by violence and unsettled by su ering, and allows us to appreciate, instead, the endless formal and content diversity expressed by its members. Coming from many di erent geographical areas, 12 authors deal with a wide range of issues with vivid realism and admirable direction styles, contextualizing them within an historical period that has revolutionized relationships, ways of thinking, and sexual behaviors in today’s Europe. They struggle against the meaninglessness of this time with the vital boldness of their own philosophies, through narratives that analyze the causes and e ects of its lies, and at the same time unveil the constant dialectic between the “self” and its shadow, that unstable layer of the human soul inhabited by demons that harass the protagonists of these stories.
The distinctive mark of the lms in COMPETITION lies in their acknowledgment of the key role of the aesthetic experience, which guides both the voluntary choices and the involuntary behaviors of man, an experience that opens the opportunity to live life to the full and to think and live di erently, directs us towards an almost- Buddhist introspection, and encourages us to look into our soul, which for some mysterious reason we never know completely, without deceptions.
The elegant direction and writing styles of the EUROPEAN COMEDIES highlight the hybrid, inexplicable, underdetermined, pluridetermined aspects of man, and provide a close and deep look into the di erent existing types of intersubjectivity and into the world of ction, where the human being comes and goes.
A deep knowledge of the works by NURI BILGE CEYLAN can be acquired in a very short time, almost instantly, thanks to an exceptional writing and the masterful building of the images (static shots with skillful shot- reverse-shots in the indoor scenes, long takes and occasional widescreen pan shots of the landscape with a large depth of eld). A poetical vertigo that relates, in a highly sacred atmosphere, the dramatic origins of his vocation, whose signs are never separated from the inexhaustible, tragic and vulnerable theatre of life. Before the excavation of the soul of the protagonists of his lms there is an archeology of screams, a multilayered and brave examination of human contradictions. That tragic dimension guides the authentic direction of a soul, his own soul, that opens itself to that beyond world where the walls of time and space have been knocked down. This directing style allows him to delve into the most intimate and dramatic aspects of his personal condition and vision of reality, of the impossible coexistence between human beings, their emotional dysfunctionality and alienation. A cinema that is already mythical.
The cinema of the Polish screenwriter and director AGNIESZKA HOLLAND bears the marks of the political situation of a Europe that demanded everything of its people in the era of self-destruction, of the lowest point reached by mankind in its descent into the abyss of inhumanity, when peace seemed to be threatened by dark clouds ready to release heavy raindrops; and the marks of today’s globalization. Her cinema, dominated by the art of close-ups, or shot-reverse-shots, is never moralistic nor autobiographical, and its protagonists are deeply rooted in environments created in their own image, portrayed in a simple way, connected to one another and to the events by the meaningless cruelty of the di erent historical periods. A cinema that expresses the choice of an authentic life, the possibility of thinking, producing and being di erently at all costs.
Educated at the school of the unconventional and rebellious realism of the BBC in its golden age, STEPHEN FREARS, professionally trained at the Royal Court Theater in Chelsea, a hotbed of cultural innovation, and on TV with Lindsay Anderson and Karel Reisz, soon reached worldwide fame. Never distracted from his goal of a programmatic exploration of reality and from his constant exercise of direct and essential, almost ergonomic, sometimes uniform and never moralistic adaptation of literary works. Counting on a virtually endless map of narrative opportunities drawn from real life and put on screen, without any foreclosures or limitations (from a London populated by immigrants to the media jungle of Chicago, from the desert of New Mexico to Dublin and its suburbs), and due to that creeping restlessness that drives his career and research,
he has lled his cinema with unsolvable situations and deviant behaviors of characters who are at the mercy of a tragic, mocking or indi erent fate. A surprising lmmaker, who skillfully digs into the most complex plots and pursues a more narrative than documentary intent, even when the social backgrounds of his works are clear evidence of his understatement.
How could we not remember him? TOTÒ means theatre, TV, pure poetry, songs; he is still the most beloved artist in Italy. Exemplar in his empathy and personal emotional involvement in the su ering of mankind, he left politics out of his work as it clashed with his moral beliefs, convinced as he was that, in the end, everybody is both right and wrong. This, however, did not prevent him from mocking, sometimes even explicitly, many politicians in several theatre comedy sketches and lms. Wearing a long and crumpled tailcoat called “fracchesciacche”, a pair of “zompafuosso” pants (very short trousers) and a black bowler hat, the Mask Totò encapsulated all the features of Comedy in its historical sense, with unique and inimitable lightness and originality. He soon became the greatest interpreter of classic Plautine comedy, fully developing, with a personal style, both the funniness and sadness of clowns, as well as extraordinary verbal acting skills, perceiving himself as a representative of the commedia dell’arte and a comedian with a strong need for contact with the audience. In fact, in all his 97 lms, Totò showed an exceptional ability to change his acting register according to the character he was playing and the type of story. Among his numerous masks we recognize his acting like a marionette, a human gure typi ed by taking some character traits to the extreme, and then the gure of the ordinary man leading a trivial daily life, a man trapped in a life of misery and uncertainty, and again his surreal masks and his eternal clownery, which can be considered as the basis of all his transformations. He managed to make all his characters human and likeable, and this was the main focus of his art, an art resulting from his theatre experiences, coming from the streets of Naples, and linked to his exceptional ability to observe and represent reality.
A child prodigy coming from a family that opened their doors to the thrive of democratic culture, FRANCESCO MASELLI, attracted by painting, urged by the dramatic unfolding of History, actor at the age of just ve, precociously devoted to the study of classics (he knew Hamlet by heart at the age of just seven) and Marxism, frantically interested in painting techniques, built an artistic universe of his own, straying from the cultural path marked out by his family and by the environments in which he subsequently lived. He discovered the Surrealist avant-gardes and pre-war French Realism, which in uenced his lmmaking taste, until then mainly inspired by the pictorial style and the visual experimentalism of avant-gardes. But it was his tragic feeling of life and History that led him to become a cultured and sophisticated documentarian, with works full of lyricism and social issues, displaying his composition research process, the accuracy of cinematography, the rhythmic transition between the shots. Politically committed, he has made lms that never have two distinct souls, but are rather built on complementary levels: discourse and action, reasons and facts.
VALERIO MASTANDREA has established himself on the big screen thanks to his intelligent physical and facial acting. A supporter of the most authentic forms of democracy, he embodies idealism and the rebellion to the present time, and uses his own emotional urges and inner su ering to play, with mastery and rationality, a wide and diverse range of characters both on stage and on screen. His representation of the human behavior through realistic and lively characters is the evidence of an harmonic coexistence of theatre and lm, real life and acting, social and individual.
A genetically gifted actress, ISABELLA FERRARI brings a dazzling breath of fullness deriving from her relation with the surrounding space, her mastery of gestures and proxemics, her management of empathy, and the controlled spontaneity of her expressions.
Her remarkable professionalism and creativity in the portrayal of her own characters make her an authentic and bright icon of both lm and theatre, surrounded by a magical aura.
Five narratives deal with painful realities in the documentaries of the CINEMA AND REALITY section. They portray a masked humanity, prompt a necessary knowledge of the world, destroy even more the lters of ction and comedy, shedding light on the class ideologies that a ict us, with a realism that is never mannerist.