Archive

Monthly Archives: August 2014

What a summer ! Rain , rain and a higher humidity than usual made us change our weekend plans and reduce pretty much the list of hikes we were proudly planning at the end of the winter. Add some professional duties and the list couldn’t do anything but shrink to a very short list.

However when hikes are taking place, what a delight. So this time – and with our best partners in crime – the Santis area and Toggenburg area rewarded us with the most peaceful and romantic landscapes. Quite of easy hikes on the schedule, but emotionally intense I believe. Why ? Well the beauty of the places and the dramatic weather – no rain but such clouds – would affect any romantic soul.

I recommend you the Wasserauen – Seealpsee – Wasserauen (2h30) tour. Nice slope up, beautiful lake to have a little break, going around and back. Of course many of hikes are possible from Seealpsee up, even to the Santis if you have some spare 4h.

http://www.ebenalp.ch/de/sommer/wanderkarte

As our night lodge was on the other side of the mountain (so close by flight, a bit further by car), it offers us the perfect opportunity to have a little visit of the village of Appenzell, the most traditional village of the entire Switzerland. Only one fact about it : did you know that until 1991, all the men (and only the men) gathered on the Landsgemeinde square where they still were voting by rising their hand ? The village is beyond beauty and preservation. You need to visit it once in your life, have a bieberli and actually try the Santis Whisky. A lot of amateurs enjoy it so why not you ?

When reaching the other side of the Prealps, the village of Wildhaus in the Toggenburg deserves a glance. It is in the crossroad of a numerous hiking trails to every surrounding summit. Our hotel, the Schoenenboden Hotel is a great ancient lodge gigantic chalet – where time stopped only in the philosophy but definitely not in the decoration of the dining room. Your rooms will take you back to – if you ever had such – the mountain camps of your childhood, and the kitchen to a modern place within old walls. A contemporary artist decorates  the walls with B&W photographies of the regional mountain’s life. Food specialties includes some Graubunden recipes. Try them !

Last but not least an other easy but not so easy hike from Logg through the Volder-Bannwald towards Wildhuser will not only be a good physical test but offers you a large palette of different trails profiles when reaching a new elevation. On top, the rock walls of the region are amongst the most impressive and mesmerizing I have ever seen.

If you have a weekend to spend in the mountains….why not this one ? !

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

IMG_1661

Good harvest or bad harvest ?

For me a very positive Festival, professionally important with great contacts and needed feedbacks on my first editing for the documentary “ON LOCATION”. Reaching now the 2 years of production, it proves I wasn’t so wrong on the project.

Otherwise Festival is now part of the 1st class European festivals and is more and more loosing of the energetic sort of “amateurish” enthusiasm and turned into an “industry well framed” standardized event. One clue is on how they turned the people flow from chaotic into a super precise and guided stream. It means as well less movies, more people and crowded locations. Impossible to enter the theaters ? Yes once again just like 2 years ago.

On the editorial line, I believe recession and crisis is still very present and artists answer to it is to create movies with neurasthenic characters. It becomes boring. Better off dead than alive seems the moto of Westerners…so hopefully the rest of the world brings a positive light in the tunnel balance. And guess who won ?

For me the winners were people going to the Agnes Varda Masterclass and the Garrett Brown ‘s one. If anything to remember this year :

 

See you next year Locarno..and why not for a screening ? 😉

 

So like in very recap , here below the awards list :

(I am very happy for the Matka Ziemia, Muerte Blanca and Navajazo movies ! )

Concorso internazionale
Pardo d’oro   Mula sa kung ano ang noon di Lav Diaz, Filippine
Premio speciale della giuria
  Listen Up Philip di Alex Ross Perry, USA
Pardo per la migliore regia
(Best Director)
  Cavalo Dinheiro di Pedro Costa, Portogallo
Pardo per la miglior interpretazione femminile (Best Actress)
  Ariane Labed per Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice di Lucie Borleteau, Francia
Pardo per la miglior interpretazione maschile (Best Actor)
  Artem Bystrov per Durak di Yury Bykov, Russia
Special Mention
  Ventos de Agosto di Gabriel Mascaro, Brasile
    Concorso Cineasti del presente
Pardo d’oro Cineasti del presente – Premio Nascens   Navajazo di Ricardo Silva, Messico
Premio per il miglior regista emergente (Best Director)
  La creazione di significato di Simone Rapisarda Casanova, Canada
Premio speciale della giuria
Ciné+ Cineasti del presente
  Los Hongos di Oscar Ruiz Navia, Colombia
Special Mention
  Un jeune poète di Damien Manivel, Francia
    Opera prima
Pardo per la migliore opera prima
(Best First Feature)
  Songs from the North di Soon-mi YOO, Stati Uniti, Corea del Sud, Portogallo
Special Mention
  Parole de kamikaze di Masa SAWADA, Francia
    Pardi di domani (Concorso internazionale)
Pardino d’oro per il miglior cortometraggio internazionale
Premio SRG SSG
  Abandoned Goods di Pia Borg, Edward Lawrenson, Gran Bretagna
Pardino d’argento Swiss Life per il Concorso internazionale
  Shipwreck di Morgan Knibbe , Paesi Bassi
Menzione speciale
  Muerte blanca di Roberto Collio, Cile
Nomination di Locarno agli European Film Awards
Premio Pianifica
  Shipwreck di Morgan Knibbe , Paesi Bassi
Premio Film und Video
Untertitelung
  Hole di Martin Edralin, Canada
    Pardi di domani (Concorso nazionale)
Pardino d’oro Swiss Life per il miglior cortometraggio svizzero   Totems di Sarah Arnold, Francia
Pardino d’argento Swiss Life per il Concorso nazionale
  Petit Homme di Jean-Guillaume Sonnier, Svizzera
Premio Action Light
per la migliore speranza svizzera
  Abseits der Autobahn di Rhona Mühlebach, Svizzera
    Piazza Grande
Prix du Public UBS
  Schweizer Helden di Peter Luisi, Svizzera
Variety Piazza Grande Award
  Marie Heurtin di Jean-Pierre Améris, Francia
    Giurie indipendenti e premi
Premio ecumenico
  Durak di Yury Bykov, Russia
Premio FIPRESCI
  Mula sa kung ano ang noon di Lav Diaz, Filippine
Europa Cinemas Label
  Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice di Lucie Borleteau, Francia
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Primo Premio miglior regista
  Durak di Yury Bykov, Russia
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Secondo Premio miglior regista
  Alive di Jung-bum PARK, Corea del sud
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Terzo Premio miglior regista
  Perfidia di Bonifacio Angius, Italia
Premio
”L’ambiente è qualità di vita”
  Mula sa kung ano ang noon di Lav Diaz, Filippine
Menzione speciale
 
  L’Abri di Fernand Melgar, Svizzera
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Miglior film Cineasti del presente
  Frère et sœur di Daniel Touati, Francia
Menzione speciale
 
  Buzzard di Joel Potrykus, Stati Uniti
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Miglior cortometraggio Concorso internazionale
  Sleeping giant di Andrew Cividino, Canada
Premio Giuria dei giovani
Miglior cortometraggio Concorso nazionale
  Abseits der Autobahn di Rhona Mühlebach, Svizzera
Menzione speciale
 
  Matka Ziemia (Mother Earth) di Piotr Zlotorowicz, Polonia
Premio FICC/IFFS
  Mula sa kung ano ang noon di Lav Diaz, Filippine
Premio FICC/IFFS
Menzione speciale
  Cavalo Dinheiro di Pedro Costa, Portogallo
Durak di Yury Bykov, Russia
Semaine de la critique
Premio SRG SSR
  15 Corners of the World di Zuzanna Solakiewicz, Polonia/Germania
La Mort du Dieu serpent di Damien Froidevaux, Francia
Semaine de la critique
Premio Zonta Club Locarno
  La Mort du Dieu serpent di Damien Froidevaux, Francia

Yes this 4th day in Locarno felt like the promotion of Noah’s Ark. Or like Forrest said : “One day it started raining, and it didn’t quit for four months. We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain… and big ol’ fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath. Shoot, it even rained at night…”

If that wisdom convinced me to stay a bit longer in bed and to only start the screenings at 11 am – I missed my old movie ritual – , it actually helped with my forecast accuracy : 7 movies announced, 7 movies watched ! In my former life this would have provided me a salary increase, here I just sound like a nerd.

 

1. When Borat meets graffiti.

If I say Style Wars, a lot of people of my generation and older ones have shiny eyes and remember graffiti and hip hop early days. In 1983 was released the movie Style Wars or the New York graffiti scene revealed to the world. Well some decades later two young men in Maribor have the same epiphany and first turn their city into a mini Brooklyn, and once they face the Giuliani times in Maribor too (yes replacing the broken glass policy is global). Nothing really exciting but what happened all around the world until the moment their crew watches on YouTube a NY train on which is painted STYLE WARS II. Our two heroes have now a reason to live and die for : who created that graffiti ? And this is when their adventure starts. USA, Austria, Switzerland, Israel ; always on the move, always on trying to find a way to make it – the production is called “no money production” – and to record it. A very nice and amusing trip through different cultures with a common passion. An interesting movie, with the only downside – to me – is that it doesn’t talk about graffiti, but rather about our two fellow having naive / funny / entertaining adventures in the unknown world. Are they really debunking the system from inside by having this attitude ? It is an open question. What’s sure is that they are very cool and relaxed people on the Q&A, that their movie ‘s making most of the movie Festivals around the globe and that fame is round the corner. And isn’t what artists look for ? Isn’t it why nowadays people put their name on the walls ?

 

2. Can you beat the cube ?

PATCH is a stop motion animation of a multitude of small squares with black or white / black and white paint. Put them altogether on a wall and start the fun of creating shapes thanks to the different tones and shades of every little piece that puzzle. Impressive, specially on a very very large screen. 4 minutes of fun.

 

3. Holly countryside

This one is a bit one of my favorites of the day. And I am somehow biased. Some 2 years ago I was member of a Jury in a Polish movie Festival, and on the moment of giving the award for the best documentary, I was happy and supportive for the work of a young director and his movie about charcoal makers. Touchy, intimate, close to the nature and very respectful of the protagonists. A movie that deserved that prize. Unfortunately for me the movie maker wasn’t there when distributing the award…. Well 2 years after the director is here, in Locarno, with his Diploma movie on the official short movies selection. And all what applied to the documentary applies to the fiction I watched in La Sala. I recommend you to watch MATKA ZIEMIA. Subtle in both acting and shooting. By the way, if 2 years ago he wasn’t available for the award ceremony, it’s because he was shooting this movie !

 

4. Dig a shelter, wait for next day

Chilean movie about the tragic death of young enrolled soldiers in the Andes, MUERTE BLANCA is a technical mix of 16mm, animation but as well a clever mix of history, mythology and politics. Treating in a very creative and highly artistic way the chilean conflicts with different source of power, the movie director takes you along a nice pilgrimage to a supposedly safe mountain where devastating improbable storms can wipe you off the slopes of this wide world. Just like the history of Chile.

 

5. Hungry kitties

4 girls + a studio + recording a song + Punk attitude + wish to be famous + creativity + imagination + Feminism + feelings + hormones = PUSSY HAVE THE POWER. For more, watch again spring breakers…same colors.

 

6. Poetry and moustache

2 brothers in different locations where nothing happens for both of them, apart from being shot in very nice angles with a high-definition camera and a nice cinema lens. Does a collection of nice footage make a movie ? Somehow yes, but a bit more of a story wouldn’t hurt. VISAK VJETRA could be a long feature ; it seemed like the scouting of the locations.

 

7. Camera / Action / Nature

Mesmerizing experience in COSTA DA MORTE, a movie about a Spanish region and how the nature dictates the lifestyle and rythm of the human beings. Here not a word in vain, not a frame too much. Everything holds in a magic balance, where the fragility holds in the interest that keeps us discussing with what is on-screen. A true exchange where cinema enters the level of an experience.

 

Great day with great meetings, projects moving on and new on the way. Regarding the movies I had one very interesting day where I was deeply touched by the directors that were able to share their inner world in the most delicate and exquisite way. Tomorrow I am heading back home, to my office. Editing waiting for me. the most irritating activity to me. I am not a thinker…am I ?

 

the movies :

STYLE WARS II, Veli SIlver, Amos Angeles, CH/Slovenia, 69 min

PATCH, Gerd Gockell, CH/DE, 4 min

MATKA ZIEMIA, Piotr Zlotorowicz, Poland, 30 min

MUERTE BLANCA, Roberto Collio, Chile, 17 min

PUSSY HAVE THE POWER, Dane Komljen, FR/Bosnia, 25 min

COSTA DA MORTE, Lois Patino, Spain, 84 min

Photo du 66652309-08- à 18.30

If I thought I d be watching 7 movies again today, the truth is it went down to 3. Nevertheless powerful movies with all of them a very different proposal. But one thing in common : very good movies.

I usually like to start a screening day with the old movies. Since a couple of years the festival makes a special program where all day long in the Ex-Rex cinema  old movies are screened. If my choice of going first thing of the day to those ones, it isn’t to finish the digestion of my breakfast, but to get a nice base from where to start and understand contemporary cinema. Not really a point of comparison, rather a point of reference, just like when looking for a direction on a map. This is where today starts from.

For any director of photography,  the dream device is the steadicam. So when you have a couple of meters from you the inventor of it, Mr Garrett Brown himself, you can be about to faint. No shame. Even cries are allowed.
And when  you have the opportunity to watch on a very large screen the first movie ever where it got used and got a prize for it…hard to not be excited as a kid. Just for that,  Christmas was earlier this year.
The movie, BOUND FOR GLORY,  is a true American movie from the 70s in every aspect. David Carradine plays the young hero, Woody Guthrie, and his trip from Oklahoma to California during the American crisis of the early 20th century. The hero, a talented  folk singer moves like many ones to the western Eldorado for some dreamed better days. Rough adventure and rich experience that changes a man and defines a  country. Beautiful, poetic and a must watch !

I mentioned earlier that I moved from 7 movies to only 3 finally. Not that I gave up, but rather because I spent a couple of hours talking about my first end to end of the ON LOCATION editing. I said it many times that editing isn’t my favorite time, and therefore I need the advices, ideas and corrections from a pool of advisors. One of them, a very talented movie director gave me her inputs today. Fruitful meeting and a lot of work waiting for me when back home. Should I really come back ?

Second movie was LELAKI HARAPAN DUNIA /MEN WHO SAVE THE WORLD, or the story of a Malaysian village turning nuts after the secret arrival of a very unusual guest. Yes I am vague, because you have to find a way of watching it ! Characters, scenes, story , humor, shooting angles….everything is just perfect ! It deserves a prize. OK yes no suicide, no incest,  no naked depressed teenagers….but please give that movie a mention a least !

Third is truly a last but not least. NAVAJAZO or the ultimate corruption of human beings in the ciudad de Tijuana.  The movie director, a dislexic sociologist was gathering filmed material for his thesis that never got accepted. But all his material about crackheads , cristal  meth addicts, prostitutes and other slum dogs was definitely waiting to be turned into a movie. If some scenes are shocking, violent and pornographic, the purpose here is not to shock, but rather to contemplate the end of days. The ultimate level of corruption. For 20 dollars those poor and abandoned characters were ready to share anything. A bit disturbing ? Yes and no, as it wasn’t planned to be a movie,  but once you are winning in a casino do you stop playing ? Counting the cards is however forbiden…
This movie is truly a like or dislike object.

My conclusion for today ? As an anecdote…
I have a residual cough, this wet summer helping me in catching the flu I didn’t have for the entire winter. On the last screening , a group of 4 people, 2 girls and 2 boys, totally the type of arty hipsty just sat in front of me. After a  cough, the boy just in front of me moved , afraid of contamination. During the first 10 min of the movie, the brave girl that stayed in front of me couldn’t help sending and receiving messages on her mobile…until,  the moment we saw a penis on screen. Finally interesting worthy art ? This is how it looked like.
I will pass on the deep sarcastic laugh of the most hispterized of them.
On the Q&A session, the best came from another interesting person in the room : “the girl – the american prostitute is really a prostitute ? I mean for someone that , if I understood it well has been doing it for more than 4 years, she looks really in a good shape. Shouldn’t she be more in pieces ?

What can say after these situations ?

Tomorrow 7 movies again….probably !

The movies :
BOUND FOR GLORY,  Hal Ashby,  USA, 147 min
LELAKI HARAPAN DUNIA, Liew Seng Tat,  Malaysia/NL/DE/FR, 93 min
NAVAJAZO, Ricardo Silva, Mexico,75 min

image

Nice early wake up in the cloudy and humid Locarno was the promise of a good day, and the 7 movies on my schedule the magic ticket to a day full of travels. Not really on the screening location – all of them being around the FEVI – but rather on the destinations : Switzerland, Croatia, Sweden,  New Zealand, Brasil, Spain and Argentina.

Switzerland

I remember 2 years ago and his previous movie. I remember leaving the room with the feeling of being tricked as a foreigner. Probably was I to sensitive and lacking forgiveness. Maybe too demanding or ashamed I could be assimilated to people on the vicinity of a forced departure. Maybe was I ashamed of any type of failure.
Therefore was I even more impatient and excited to the idea of watching his new movie today. The movie being THE SHELTER, the director Fernand Melgar and the plot winter in a  nuclear hazard shelter turned into a 5chf/night hotel for homeless people. Of course too much people vs the empty beds.
This time Fernand Melgar is behind the camera and has only one sound engineer. Small team for a sensitive topic. And if a certain intimacy is preserved, some other choices could be discussed. For instance the treatment of the sound : every metallic sound is overboosted transforming any official building into machines unable of any compassion. On the other side the extreme care on the voices of the homeless people is so much coming from their chest that they loose the ability of being thoughtful human beings. Other choices of characters are closely led by the same need of extreme. And I understood the strength and weakness of his cinema : Fernand Melgar isn’t a rebel. No he s someone deeply human and fragile that doesn’t accept injustice. He sees every human being the same way. A strong  equality amongst all of them, equality in their entities. And if a victim isn’t acceptable, so is it with the torturer. And if he shouts how much victims are powerless victims, he points out how much the bad guys are powerful. In this logic no need to enter the subtility of the situations ; here only matters the power shifts of the relationships. It seems admirable but dangerous too. The thin line between magnifying heros and creating stereotypes could be too easily crossed.
Unfortunately to me this is what happened in his previous movie and here too. And if last time it created a fruitful debate, this time I believe he might unwillingly give some material for right wing political parti and their stinky theories. By too often reducing the life of the sufferers to the expression of their pain, he looses track of their humanity. One magic sequence could bring  some balance back but feels like anecdotal : a full day into the life of a Romanian family and the desperate seek for money in a cold winter.

Nevertheless a movie definitely worth to be watched, shared and discussed ! And protected from getting absorbed by a political system.

Sweden

First of the 4 short movies program, ALL WE SHARE is the typical movie school project where you find steadicam shots, LGBT topic, suicide fascination and nature slow motion shots. A family, whose kid hung himself to a garden tree asks for the tree to be taken down. Nice images that maintain  us in the awaiting for something to happen. We still wait.

New Zealand

UNNATURAL HISTORY is the movie on conspiracy theories and we love that , don’t we ? Just like fortune telling. It gives a little thrill we don’t have anymore. So where is the truth in this story of physics ans sounds and New Age secrets ?

Brasil

O BON COMPORTAMENTO , or teenagers in a summer camp in the brasilian rain forest and teens early feelings or cruelty exposed. So are naked bodies, which wasn’t long to happen. Third movie and boobies. Quite within the average I think. Got to check the former years.

Spain

There’s one type of movies I have problem to grasp their purpose,  and SERTRES is a gold member of the team. Basically it asks the question of how much can we love someone, and it actually goes onto the complicated love life of an artist….well the director. Naked bits must have helped the selection.
SERTRES means to be three…so guess what is the love issue there….

Croatia

CURE , or the hard choice between two nations is the story of a young girl going back to Croatia with her dad one year after the end of the siege of Dubrovnik. Where were they before ? In Zurich,  where the girl grew up and the mother still lives. This movie shows the internal tension between two universes and cultures for the young girl. Where is she truly from and where does she want to belong to : not from here and not from there is the answer, despite all her efforts. Nevertheless the movie shows that only action defines who you are. Now if next step in this theory is that every culture can be defined by its type of acts, I hope the movie director didn’t think about it.
Another last question is …why the electric guitar riffs as the main music ? Yes my god….why ?

Argentina

I will find a gun, shoot a bullet in my head and one in my belly. I will miss my head but keep the one in the belly. Will this give more meaning to my life and my family’s destiny ?
Absurdity is the key driver of this movie’s plot. Characters , situations and motivations are lead by a passive attitude in absurde everydays. I still wonder if seeing them eating alfajores (South American pastries ) compensates the very European style of the movie. My Latino side is afraid of becoming diabetic to cope with this…
The movie title ? DOS DISPAROS

Overall great time in the theaters but a strange feeling that most of those movies focus on marginal moments of life or marginal existences. Is it good or bad, I even don’t know if applying a moral judgment makes sense. But for sure it might get disturbing as normality is far more interesting but harder to capture and to make a movie out of it. Is it because our western way of living can’t get interested in anything but the extremes ? We don’t need to achieve anything truly vital every day so movies have to be exceptional in every meaning ? Or does the artistic approach only matters on striking matters to bring the unknown to a larger audience ? I would hope so but audiences in festivals ,where 60% of the movies will never go through main stream theaters, is made out of professionals or specific audience…
As well am I afraid the hardest challenge as directors is to escape from the initial fascination for an exotic subject otherwise the end result,  the movie, will carry the feeling of the fantasy of the situations : how the higher educated sees the world through his monocultural lens. And nowadays it is pretty poor and still with a certain  superiority. ..
A major trap, a dangerous path to avoid .

Tomorrow some other 7 movies I guess. Another world tour ?

Today’s movies :

L abri / the shelter , Fernand Melgar,  Switzerland, 101 min
Allt Vi Delar / all we share, Jerry Carlsson, Sweden,  25 min
Unnatural history , Alex Blackhouse,  New Zealand, 16 min
O Bom Comportamento,  Eva Randolph, Brazil, 19 min
Sertres,  Ainara Vera, Spain, 30 min
Cure – The life of Another, Andrea Staka,  CH/HR/Bosnia Herzegovina,  83 min
Dos Disparos, Martin Rejtman,  Arg/Chile/NL/DE, 104 min

image

After a a year break here I am again at the Locarno Film Festival for a couple of days of movies binge watching. The best in all that is that it is part of a movie director’s job : checking on what’s hot, networking, sharing ideas and getting inspired. And I can feel that this year is going to be very special for me.
First of all, I always planned my stay here with an early arrival and a direct jump into the deep shade of the screening locations ; this time I arrived in the late afternoon, and had a break before going to a theater.

Secondly I tend to start with a new movie, and this time I went for a 1955 Federico Fellini movie, Il Bidone.
This was a good choice, despite the frenziness of people wanting to enter the theater in a crazy rush. Just like in trains, planes or cashier line….and no matter their age.
Back to the movie, I would say not the best ever from Fellini but a great one anyway. I have the feeling that I started with a well know and famous grand cru, but just from an average millesime. Maybe this is a nice way to open my week : back to basics to better understand where we stand in current production. As well the plot of the movie gave some thoughts about the profession of directing movies. How much do we twist and play with reality and how responsible are we with what we share. The final scenes on a violent but inevitable redemption on a mountain slope proposes an idea of the downfall and impossible reach of the summit if we avoid decision making and consider the audience with disdaine.

So what am I expecting this year ? I hope some guys will reach their summit with bravery and strengh, sharing their chosen trail and accepting the vulnerability of it.

Am I asking too much ? Or just what it takes for the new generation to redefine the word Cinema ?

image