News from the Locarno Festival

Artistic Director's Blog
Of Women, Cinema and Anarchy

Artistic Director's Blog
Of Women, Cinema and Anarchy



I’m not interested in seeing a film just made by a woman – not unless she is looking for new images (Agnès Varda)

Fortunately women directors – and unfortunately they are not many – are often looking for new images or different ways of looking at reality. As we wait to welcome the dynamic Agnès Varda, Locarno brings the surreal holiday village thought up by Jasmila Zbanic to Piazza Grande. Here the disorientation typical of these non-places becomes an image with which to read a somewhat disorientated Europe. At the centre is the crisis of a couple, still to form themselves into a family, with the increasingly brilliant Ariane Labed serving as the pivot of a comic love triangle. The same actress also stars in Fidelio, l’odyssée d’Alice, Lucie Borleteau’s debut film, which transplants a female body into a marine world where metal and men dominate.

And it's not by chance that we dedicate today's cover of Pardo Live to the talented Dandara De Morais, beautiful protagonist of Ventos de Agosto, a choice that also celebrates  Brazil, this year's Carte Blanche cinematography.

If we’re talking of women in film and their role, I have to mention that the Festival is paying tribute to one of the directors who has best portrayed the woman’s world in all its nuances. A refined aesthete, LI Han-hsiang often relied on great actresses to bring fresh air and agility to his costume dramas, which are celebrated for the grandiloquence of their scenes. Jiang shan mei ren (The Kingdom and the Beauty) can be considered one of the high points of the career of this director, who is often cited but rarely watched.

The most classic of contrasts, that which sets one against many, provides the structure of Yury Bykov’s film. Held by an iron plot – the story takes place over one night in a crescendo of madness that spares no one – Durak shows the overturn of the Soviet system in a world where actions are no long driven by individual interest, but a kind of blind anarchy of which everyone is at the same time both proponent and victim.

Carlo Chatrian
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