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As humans, we’re overly obsessed with our bodies. Their appearance, their shape, their color… As time goes by and we age, all our life and our experiences become carved into the skin. In different ways, bodies have also been a fixation for many filmmakers throughout the history of cinema. From totally diverse points of view also, the seventh session of the 2019 Pardi di domani revolves around this question of the corporeal, exploring the boundaries between the physical and the spiritual, body and soul, the tangible and the intangible, the appearance and the disappearance of life. Ultimately, the question of incarnation.
Amiran Dolidze’s The Animal could be described as a film about presence and absence – about being physically present, in one’s skin, but also about leaving one’s body. Perhaps, taking over the body of an animal. Or maybe just starting to feel like one, under the influence of the effects of a small-town’s inert life. The main character, The Animal, is remarkably played by Georgian screenwriter and director Davit Pirtskhalava, whose films Father (Mama) and Eraser (Sashleli) were presented in Pardi di domani in 2015 and 2018, respectively, the former winning the Pardino d’oro.
In a different manner, Our Territory by Mathieu Volpe, also deals with ghosts: first, his childhood memories, but soon after, those of the African migrants he’s met in that same place where he once grew up in the South of Italy. The method used is a series of black-and-white still photographs and some 8mm footage, which evoke the futility of their presence and radiate humbleness, friendship and humanism. These people have come there to work the fields, however, their presence is ephemeral and they will soon become just a memory of the place, too.
From Thailand comes Enduring Body, by filmmaker and visual artist Ukrit Sa-nguanhai, a mysterious object that deals with decaying bodies – bodies affected by disease, bodies resisting the passing of time. Using a narrative proposal that presents a series of consequentially unconnected vignettes, the film echoes the works of fellow countryman Apichatpong Weerasethakul, managing to create an aura of mystery around the apparently ordinary.
Finally, in Léa Célestine Bernasconi’s documentary SAS, made during her studies at the HEAD in Genève, the body (and the mind) are taken beyond their limits. The film combines striking interviews with teenagers who’ve been suffering from eating disorders caused by the pressure of being successful in today’s society and by being too demanding with oneself, together with sequences made up from screen recordings and found footage.