News from the Locarno Festival


Signs of Life




Everything happens between sunset and dawn, when the rugged villages of central Sardinia relax their tired limbs. Even the sky seems to tremble and bring the announcement of some large and unknown event. There are women who in their sleep, or by means of drugs, leave their body and float to the houses of others to suck children’s blood. They are the Surbiles, accused in the past of the sudden deaths of little ones. There are also good surbiles who oppose the bad ones and who also take on immaterial form to fight them. So the stories goes. And so films Giovanni Columbu with an absolute invention, worthy of a modern Ernesto De Martino, a restless and disquieting mise-en-scène halfway between anthropological investigation and ethnographic horror. Already in his debut Su Re (2012), Columbu had brought us into his singular vision of the Sardinian land as a coarsely, painfully ancestral place. But with Surbiles he gets to the heart of the matter. The image, what we believe we see and know, is nothing but the story of the innumerable apocalypses that lie in the past and that rise back up every time to define our lives and our visions, ready to circulate in eternity like a kind of profound and indelible psychopathology.

Lorenzo Esposito

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