The second Secret Screening of Locarno 2020 was an auteur surprise. After returning to the past with the first screening, Dino Risi's In nome del popolo italiano, the Locarno audience who agreed to be surprised by Artistic Director Lili Hinstin were gifted a world premiere: Bojena Horackova's Walden. The film, introduced by Lili Hinstin, will open in French cinemas this fall.
Receiving its first public screening at Locarno, after the announcement of its selection by Acid at Cannes and an intended fall French theatrical release, Walden is the third feature film by Bojena Horackova, a Czech filmmaker exiled in Paris for over 30 years. Also a Parisian exile, Walden’s lead character returns to Vilnius, the birthplace she left very young, leaving behind her lover and her first illusions.
An elegy for a past that mixes the pure hope inherent to youth and resigned anxiety in the face of a society paralyzed by a communist system whose inquisitorial character has become mechanical and disillusioned, Walden has a very particular atmosphere, combining lightness and solemnity and drab colors that fail to mute the powerful, stubborn sensuality pulsing through the characters’ hopes and bodies. Through these characters, Bojena Horackovadiscovers and invites us to discover a group of exceptional young actors (including Ina Marija Bartaité, the daughter of Katerina Golubeva and SharunasBartas, whose director of photography Eitvydas Doskus shot Walden with Agnès Godard).
These actors’ grace and spontaneity are suffused with a solemnity and melancholy free of self-pity, while their flawless identification with characters 30 years their elders creates an astonishing temporal illusion. Has time passed when you have left your present behind?