Another day, another die…
It could have been be my day of quotes.
As usual a great time in the breakfast room. Next to us, a couple of mature cinema industry insiders are talking about what they just watched the day before, how much only the personal attachment to the place that was shown in the movie was worth loosing time. It took me 5min to eat my croissant with butter and jam. The movie they were talking about probably lasts 90min. If watching it, I might have lost the opportunity of eating 18 croissants. Simple maths ?
So starting the day with an oldie but goodie from Otto Preminger : a nice romance from 1936 including the essential of that time : rich and adventurous young lady, free spirit opera singer and funny foreigners. A real delight that I must say works as a perfect warm up for the screening day.
Right after, we went to an interesting so called “industry event”, a panel on Swiss and eastern Europe movie schools. Poland, Czech,Bulgaria,and the 4 Swiss art and movie schools directors ready to answer and debate about common realities and main differences in their respective approach on the hard and humble work of forming the replacement of all of us here. It was interesting, but unfortunately the moderator wasn’t good enough to make it vivid and meaningful. His initial statement that not all the guests would answer to every question otherwise we would have an echo phenomenon is a perfect summary of the depth of the discussions. Too much political correctness. To be highlighted the vision of eastern Europe where you try to create a frame to let the students discover and express there wishes, whilst here you work on shaking their minds. I leave to you the pleasure to draw conclusions.
That debate worked as a second warm up that would be very useful later in the afternoon.
In between, we had the great opportunity to watch an Israeli movie called Not in Tel Aviv. Simple, direct, efficient. Chaotic, shouty, funny. Seductive, bright, violent. In other words : a kosher version of Clerks. Great time, great discovery and great movie crew. An extremely personal movie about all what a man doesn’t dare doing in his real life. A week of script writing transposed in a movie. Low budget but big heart. A success well deserved.
We stayed for the discussion with the crew, and when the first question was have you ever seen Godard’s movies…and the answer being yes even the font of the titles is inspired by, I couldn’t hide a little disappointment. I am always doubtful about the inspiration from what I tend to more and more consider as an overrated movement of the 60s. I prefer young directors being influenced by a decade more meaningful in their respective lives than the one that influenced their teachers or that is part of the history of art.
Later on , after a sandwich with lightenings and summer showers, it was time for the challenge of the day : Swiss selection of short movies. And the mornings debate came back to our minds.
I was curious of the quality, as every year, of what the Swiss young movie makers production would be. And year after year you are getting the same movies about the same topics. Only the technology changes, welcome are you my dear DSLRs, but the content doesn’t. All together we haven seen the usual I am lost in life, I don’t know where to go, I am getting crazy, I show boobs and aborted sex scene, I want to talk about the workers and lower social class life, it is hard to see my own boobs growing, I am afraid of being an adult.
Is it wrong ? No not really. They are young movie makers and so young persons in the beginning of their great and adventurous career as human beings. The outcome of it is more a puzzling question : if since the last 20 years their worries and topics are still the same and are presented the same way, does it mean the society did not change or that this great Helvetic stability that is provided enables a healthy status quo ? Again this is highly personal and everyone has a different point of view on it. Mine is that in our days when being from here enables you to travel everywhere, to spent the needed time for a full immersion in what you want to describe, we should be able to see a slight change in those productions, and not 40 year old stereotypes. For sure it ll come one day. But like my mom always repeated me, it takes different speeds and paths for everyone.
The next movie, part of the international contest was Der Glanz des Tages. An Austrian movie about an actor and it’s life meeting an old uncle and it’s memories and need for communication. An interesting project, with great actors, simple plot and harmonious development. In between fiction and documentary, the righteous acting and camera shots make out of a little project a great moment of partnership with the audience. No pretentious show off ; just the true humble idea of serving the plot and the story as it would be reality and not a fictional piece. I do recommend it.
That was for the official screening day, I mean by official the selection of movies we want to watch to get something out of it and to make comments about. The supposedly serious part, the working part, the preparing next project part, the good students summer program, as in evening, and the first one on the piazza, a delirious comedy called Bachelorette has been a great entertainment. Perfect movie for the piazza. And we really laughed a lot. In line with Apatows or Farrellis bros comedies, everyone had some nice nasty white trash fun.
The day has been really fruitful and all what we watched kept us thoughtful for different reasons. As said earlier, it could have been my days of quotes, and I believe it is the best way to conclude this post.
“Artists are the gatekeepers of the truth” That sentence was given to Harry Belafonte in his early 20s by his mentor of that time. Harry Belafonte was on stage yesterday evening, to receive an award for his career. His speech lasted 15 min, a moment of beauty where you have a human being talking to other human beings. No big theory or comments. Just the beliefs of a man that first is a citizen before being an artist. But a citizen that understands the duty of the artist, of the one who stands in the middle of the others to claim the truth. The one who should be brave enough to stand for what the others can’t : ” nowadays the role of the artist is bigger than ever in these hard times. More than ever he should serve the truth”. That sentence he said yesterday is the greatest advice you can do to someone who feels brave enough to stand in front of the others. In a certain way I always said and believed we are some chosen ones and have great duty towards our work and others, and today with the movies, the school theories, the personal inspiration and choice of topics we have seen, that sentence takes a bigger meaning, by not being totally perceivable. Freedom is what leads most of the creations, as we believe it is an indestructible achievement. I do not think so, and I do think that we have the duty to continue with taking a larger bit of responsibility on things that the others do. This is the allowance for using some others people freedom : to be the gatekeepers of the truth.
I’ll finish this with, what I hope won’t sound too negative, a quote from our neighbors after the short movie program. For info, those neighbors were grown up mature people with a long life experience behind them :
” it is interesting to watch their production, but one thing I cannot accept, is to see how much negativity and lack of hope they believe in. It seems like nothing is worth trying. It is sad.”
Yes it is.
The movies :
Under your spell, by Otto Preminger, USA, 1936, 62min
Not in Tel Aviv, by Nony Geffen, Israel, 2012, 82min
Der Glanz des Tages, by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria, 2012, 90min
Bachelorette, by Leslye Headland, USA, 2011, 87 min
Short movies :
On the beach, by Marie-Elsa Sgualdo, CH, 2012, 17min
Radio-Actif, by Nathan Hofstetter, CH, 2012, 27min
Iamina, by Christian Tschanz, CH/Iceland, 2012, 7min
Il vulcano, by Alice Riva, CH, 2012, 18min
Les ambassadeurs, by Maxime Matray and Alexia Walther, CH/FR, 2012, 15min